New Year's Blueprint: Upgrade your Resolutions

We wrap the refuse and clutter of 2015 in plastic bags, walking our burdens to the curb in wee-hour darkness. We clench our fists on the regretted junk. Questions swirl in our heads as the heavy load weighs on our weary bodies. How could we have avoided these losses? Did we clear out all the mess, or does most of it linger inside? A thread of light peeks over the horizon. Dawn wafts a tiny ray of potential to pierce this present darkness. We pause to gaze at the universe, pressed into night and day ribbons.
Soon, a new year will rise into our lives.  We can choose to face its advent with hope or despair. Many of us will consider 2016’s unblemished pages as an opportunity for a  fresh start. The tradition of new year’s resolutions rings in our minds before and after December ends. Some will determine to lose weight. Others will declare new financial disciplines. Finish a project, end a habit, engage more with others.  The same commitments echo around the world at January’s onset and end up as regrets on the curb before the year ends.
Our tradition of new year’s resolutions is due for an upgrade. Instead of committing to blurry goals, make a blueprint instead. Shift away from unreliable ideals to a lifestyle plan. Not just for a year, but from now on. Revitalize purpose and identity for each day and all the days to follow. Schematic details will include specific order and measurable significance toward the fulfillment of a dream. Just as an architect’s plan doesn’t realize itself with a single pair of hands, building a successful life requires a team.
To develop a blueprint for your life, include the following:
1 .  Identify yourself with the fulfilled dream.
Imagine a clear vision of your potential as a human being. See the future you. Declare yourself as that person NOW. I am a non-smoker. I am a humanitarian. I have healthy boundaries. I am a devoted disciple of Jesus. I am a healthy eater. I treat my body as a spiritual temple. I have a renewed mind. I choose peace. You don’t need to be perfect to declare yourself on the way to a vision, but how you name yourself changes your thoughts and behaviors. Self-talk wields tremendous power over attitudes and the subsequent actions they beget.
2.  Set effective milestones.
Keep your goals on the horizon, but celebrate significant milestones on the way.  While we don’t need to make small dreams we can easily reach, we do need moments to mark our progress in order to remain on target and maintain momentum. Make sure each milestone represents a SMART objective (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). All objectives should lead toward the fulfillment of the overall lifestyle blueprint. Plan–and recalculate to problem solve if obstacles arise–to meet these objectives and celebrate them. Retain focus during each pause for celebration, making certain the joy doesn’t hinder or stop progress. Keep rewards consistent with the goal. For example, if you’re a healthy person, you will celebrate with healthy lifestyle choices. If you’re a non-drinker, you don’t host the recovery party at a bar.
3.  Refresh inspiration daily.
Post your goal where you will see it each day. Add a new inspiration daily (or at least weekly) to refresh motivation and maintain focus on the next milestone. Review your blueprint with a quick glance each day. Once a week, examine your progress and recalculate to navigate through obstacles. Books and online resources offer tools to stoke the fire of daily affirmations.
4.  Enlist a team.
No one should attempt a lifestyle change on their own. Sustained success requires supportive community. Be sure to include a proper team who will offer effective support, not just those who will justify your slack. Choose healthy friends, truthful family, and stable guides from your faith circles. Consider getting a life coach to help develop the plan and get you started. An ongoing mentor relationship can also offer valuable insight to keep you focused and encouraged.
Do you plan to make resolutions this year, or will you consider a lifestyle blueprint? Share your thoughts and dreams with us. I look forward to hearing your comments.
Be Encouraged,

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