How many times have you made New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them shortly after the year begins?
You make a promise to yourself about losing weight, eating healthier, or getting more exercise and then what happens?
Life. You get busy, distracted and ultimately disappointed in yourself because you didn’t keep your promise.
Why bother with resolutions if they haven’t worked before?
Just forget them and try something new: personal mantras.
I’ve used them for years. What are they? Short, easy-to-remember phrases that have a special meaning to you.
They could be as simple as “no more” or “time to go” for a draining relationship or a painful job. Or “ate enough” to cut calories. Or something more spunky like “you grew it, you lift it,” when exercising the pounds off.
To reinforce the message, say your phrase, aloud or to yourself, all day long. It will remind you of your self-promise. Simply decide when and how often you want to repeat them.
A mantra works because it’s an internal coach that keeps you focused on your goal.
Each year, I used to create a new one and repeat all year-long. I would later change the mantra when I felt I needed a new message reminder. To help you better understand the power of the mantra, let me share a few of my favorites.
When I found myself annoyed by contrary people in meetings, rather than being reactive, I told myself, “Let it be.” Don’t get pulled into the argument. Sit back and wait. Let someone else react. I’d tell myself that maybe I’d gain some insight.
One year, I noticed that I was hyper-critical about the finishing touches of a poster my agency created.
I wanted to add gloss, but the client didn’t want to increase the budget, saying it wasn’t needed. I explained how that would enhance the displays for expensive eyewear, but I still heard “no.” Finally, I realized these beautiful signs would have to stay as they were. I knew I had to back down. I had to stop demanding perfection. I had to say two words that were particularly difficult for me: “Good enough.” As soon as I said it, that became my new mantra. It reminded me to stop whenever I was being overly picky.
Another year, I found I was constantly in a high state of stress from an abundance of exciting creative assignments with tight deadlines. To help myself unwind during the day, I repeated, “Less stress.” I decided that any solution that created less stress was the better choice. I instantly felt a bit of relief.
However, as I continued with multiple deadline-driven assignments I found I was working all the time. I didn’t have time to unplug. I needed to “factor in fun.” So, that became the mantra of the moment. I started to schedule fun things into my calendar. It didn’t matter how simple they were, like seeing a movie or lunching with friends. It gave me something to look forward to that would be relaxing.
I have used many effective mantras over the years. Here are a few more that worked.
• Keep going – for lengthy projects like books
• Drill it down – for complex assimilation of information
• It’s okay to say “no” – for preventing any over scheduling
• Don’t seek perfection, seek Improvement – for bringing together diverse opinions
Okay, enough about me. Now it’s your turn to create your own mantra. Here’s how to start. Sit quietly and think about what you want to change. Then, pick one irritating challenge you want to overcome. Or a pressing conundrum you want to master. Or a volatile relationship you want to diffuse. These can be found in your personal or professional life.
Now consider how you could encapsulate the desired outcome in a few words. What could you say to yourself to help you enhance your position, fortify your resolve, or control your response?
Remember, you’re working on an internal message that will redirect your thoughts and reactions. What phrase would best motivate you? Choose as few words as possible. Be clear and precise.
Keep working until it’s mentally sticky.
Write it down. Then read it and repeat it. Say it to yourself several times a day. Absorb the meaning. Your mantra will become more powerful each time you breathe life into it.
Try it. The only thing you have to lose is another broken resolution.
Read more posts by Margo Berman here. Margo is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
JenningsWire.com is an online feature magazine created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings, of the PR Firm specializing in providing publicity services and book promotion to authors, speakers and experts. Annie’s firm offers the famous pay for placement publicity program as well the powerful radio talk show campaign that comes up a guarantee of performance, bookings on big radio talk shows in major cities as well as unlimited media training.