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John Luca: You, Too, Can Make New Year’s Commitments That Work

Let the good things you did in 2010 empower you to set goals for 2011

So, this is it — the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. But before we leap from one year into the next, let’s take a look back and see what our 2010 looks like. This is in preparation for 2011.

John Luca
John Luca

Take some time to look over your year and list some of the good things you made happen.

Oftentimes, we don’t do this and feel that we haven’t done much — or anything — but if you take the time to look, you will see that you did quite a bit.

Did you go to the gym more often than in the past? Did you improve your golf game or your ability to bike long distances? Did you deepen your relationship with someone? Did you weather the financial storm of 2010 with a better attitude than you might have in the past? Did you take on a new job? Learn a new skill? Improve your diet? Your attitude? Your relationships? Your living situation? Did you stretch in any way? Reach out to someone or something new? Help anyone, including yourself and your family? Go on an adventure with the family? Take care of business, somehow?

How did you deliver in 2010?

It’s important not to restrict yourself to only one area, such as finances. Don’t reduce yourself to homo economicus who tallies his or her life solely in terms of dollars and cents. Remember love, friendship, and mental, physical and spiritual well-being. It may be helpful to review your year looking at the broad categories of career, finances, family, personal growth, leisure, adventure, legacy and charitable work.

It can be a little scary to write down what you’ve done, because your critic wants to get in there and tell you how little you’ve actually done. But that’s the very reason to do it: to stop the critic in its tracks.

Oftentimes, we think the way to get ourselves to get anything done is to criticize ourselves, to whip ourselves like unwilling horses; we forget that a spoon of sugar and a carrot are often a better way to get any horse to do the right thing.

So, give yourself the scary gift of listing some of what you’ve done this past year. Acknowledge yourself. (Which can also be scary.) Share it with a friend or family member. (Which can be even scarier.)

I would be honored if you would share what you’ve done with me via e-mail. As encouragement, I will list a dozen or so things that I helped make happen in 2010 that I am happy about and grateful for.

» Started a blog and posted more than 50 articles.

» Secured writing weekly online columns for two publications, including Noozhawk.

» I asked Lisa to marry me.

» Sold off unprofitable real estate and solidified our financial position.

» Started a second men’s group.

» Worked with clients privately and in small workshops to help them live the lives they want.

» Wrote a rough draft of a self-help book.

» Meditated every day.

» Went on a number of adventures with the family, including taking my 90-year-old mom to New York and my son backpacking in the Sierras.

» Finished another year of Somatic Experiencing training.

» Attended workshops at UCLA and elsewhere.

» Co-led two men’s retreats.

» Was a good dad to my four children, a good friend and a good partner.

Now, it’s your turn. Make a list of a dozen or so things that you made happen in 2010 that you are happy about. Take in what you’ve done. Let yourself feel empowered by how you’ve lived this past year.

Stay positive. Don’t go into “yeah, but” mode where your critic wants to shower you with the dung of how you “should’ve, could’ve and would’ve” done better. The power of this exercise is to silence the critic and take in and be grateful for all that you’ve been able to do this past year. That’s part one.

Now, for the second part.

Let yourself feel the energy and satisfaction of what you’ve done this past year. Let it empower you. Now envision what the next year might hold in store for you. What would you like to make happen? Oscar Wilde wrote, “New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other.”

We all know that so many of our resolutions go by the wayside, but it’s also true that we are much more likely to do something if we commit to doing so. I, for example, meditated haphazardly for more than 30 years, some days doing it, some days not. Sometimes a month would pass and I wouldn’t meditate. A little more than two years ago, before a group of men, I committed to meditating every day. I’ve done so ever since.

Making a commitment, especially to a group, can be very empowering. I made a commitment last year to two local papers to write at least two articles per week, and I’ve done so every week since then.

What commitments do you want to make for the coming year? Do you want to exercise more? Do you want to reach out to others and deepen your relationships? Do you want to write, sing, dance or play? Do you want to pray more? Apply for a new job? Learn a new skill? Practice gratitude and acceptance for things just as they are, including yourself?

Whatever it is, go for it. Here are some of mine:

» I commit to finishing my book this year and sending it out to publishers and agents.

» I commit to finishing the classes for my fifth graduate degree.

» I commit to hiking Evolution Basin next summer with Lisa.

» I commit to deepening my relationship with my children by being there for them on a daily and weekly basis throughout the year — by talking with them, texting them, visiting them, taking them to the library, playing games with them and sharing meals with them.

I could go on, but that’s what I have the courage for right now. What about you?

Go public with your commitments. I would appreciate it if you would send them to me. Think about your commitments carefully. You are committing to them. They are not just dreams, wishes or nebulous goals. Be specific. Be realistic. Set time limits. Be thoughtful about your choices. You are saying you are going to do them.

If you’re interested, I’m offering a workshop on Saturday, Jan. 22 for setting goals and making commitments for the year. We’ll explore what is at the root of your choices and expose any resistance you might be having. Research has shown that it takes about 10 weeks or so for people to get established in new habits or to change old ones, so I’m offering follow-up classes that will meet each week for 10 weeks from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

So, list some of what you’ve done this past year, then stick your neck out and make some commitments for the coming year. Enjoy. And give thanks.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

— John Luca, MA, DC, specializes in somatic coaching for success and happiness. Click here for more information or contact him at 805.680.5572 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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