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As we welcome 2017 and embrace the fresh start of a new year, we likely find ourselves with hopes, dreams and commitments for the year to come. There is something so cathartic, so natural, so necessaryabout deliberately making new commitments. While there is nothing magical about commitments made in conjunction with a new year (as any day on the calender is a good day for a new goal) but this time of year seems to beg for new hopes and plans.

What might your 2017 commitments look like?

Perhaps you commit to making yourself physically stronger: committing more time to your yoga mat,  your running shoes, a bike trail or the swimming pool.  Perhaps you commit to nourishing your body with vibrant and healthy foods. Perhaps you commit to nourishing your soul with less technology and more nature, less time on a screen and more time in a book, less busyness and more intentional quiet time.

Setting commitments should be a thoughtful time of self reflection and self realization.  What do you want for yourself?  What do you need in your life?  How can you be a better you?

Make your commitments boldly and deliberately.  Make commitments that are daunting yet do-able.  I think the ideal gauge of a bold commitment is one that seems just a tad out of reach. Make  commitments that both excite and exhilarate. You shouldn’t know exactly how you’ll get it done, but, likewise, it shouldn’t be so extreme that you are doomed before you even start.

Make your commitments tangible and measurable.  Set yourself up to quantify your results and have a clear measure of what your goal is and if you’ve succeeded.

“I’ll eat a green vegetable every day” vs “I’ll eat more vegetables.”

“I’ll go to yoga at least 3 times a week” vs “I’ll do more exercise.”

“I’ll read 2 books a month” vs “I’ll read more”

“I’ll get off my phone every night by 9” vs “I’ll try to be on my phone less.”

Make your commitments public.  Proclaiming your goals to family or friends is powerful and effective. You know those people in your life who both believe in you AND want better for you?  Tell those people your commitments.  We all need both the figurative hand-holding and kick-in-the-tail that loved ones give at those moments when we want to quit or give up.  Challenge yourself to be that person to someone else.  Be an encourager, a partner to someone who is also trying to make themselves better.

Know you will have set-backs and failures.  Life is nothing if not unpredictable.  Despite your best efforts, there will be bumpy patches where your adherence to your commitments will suffer.  Weather, sickness, unexpected family commitments, work schedules and just general malaise is inevitable.  Bad days happen.  Bad weeks happen.  Acknowledge it and move on.  This is a great time to  tap into the shared strength of loved ones and respected teachers or advisors.

Take this new year as an invitation to make some commitments to yourself. Be bold.  Be brave. You are worth it.

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