Don’t bother making a New Year’s resolution this year. According to the results of Franklin Covey’s third annual New Year’s Resolutions Survey, 35% of participants break their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. The 2007 survey, which polled over 15,000 people, also indicated that only 23% are likely to permanently adopt a New Year’s resolution. Of those that don’t keep their resolutions, 40% say they’re just too busy to keep to their word and 33% said they aren’t committed to the resolutions they set. Not only is this just plain sad, it’s also self-sabotaging behavior. Let’s look at this from a Conjurer’s perspective.
Media coach Susan Harrow once said, “Words are the ambassadors of our intentions.” New Year’s Resolutions are juicy opportunities to set our intention for change (aka make magic/k) in the coming year and sometimes, for life. But with more than 75% of us faltering on these resolutions, our words end up informing the world and most importantly, ourselves, that our speech holds no power. Making resolutions, or statements of any kind, we don’t abide by sets a precedent for failure. When we don’t stay true to our word, our ambassadors (our words) begin spreading the message: “This person will not follow through.”
Do that enough and every time you finish off a bit of magic with, “So mote it be,” the universe will respond with a resounding, “What – evah. Your ambassadors told us you are teh suck.” By not staying true to your word, you’ll effectively make yourself energetically impotent. You’ll have lost your mojo.
To set a meaningful resolution, it needs to be well thought-out. You must not only have a clear vision of your goal, but a plan of action to get there. You must be passionate about the change, allowing your motivation to come from the depth of your purest desires and commit to making the change only after you’ve really considered all the possible consequences as best you can. Far more than making a flippant statement, “Um, I like totally want to lose like 30 pounds, okay?” you’d do better to really spend some time clarifying your intention and your plan of action. That’s why this year, I’m not making any resolutions. I’m writing a manifesto.
Admit it, manifestos kick resolution ass. Someone says they’ve made a resolution and you can’t help but smirk and pat them on the back. Someone tells you they’ve written a personal manifesto, and you sit up straight to listen. By writing your own manifesto, you’ll not only join the ranks of some highly successful and influential people, but you’ll spend some time with your goals, really fleshing them out. By clarifying your position and the changes you plan to make, you’re already stepping away from the superficiality of resolutions. You’re putting the mojo back into your words.
As you go through the following steps, keep in mind that a manifesto should be a call to action. It should definitely stir you and hopefully motivate others as well. It should be relevant and based on facts, reason, and logic.
- Choose a goal: If you have more than one goal that seem to be related, try to determine the common denominator.
- Identify your motivation: If you want to quit smoking or lose weight, your motivation may be to spend more active time playing with your children or adopt a healthy lifestyle. You may have to dig deep to find your true motivation and sometimes when you find it, you may actually change or refine your goal(s).
- Justify your motivation(s) on several levels: If you can, explain how your motivation(s) is relevant to body, mind and spirit or personal, local, and global issues. Try to examine your motivation from various perspectives. This should help you clarify it more and again, through this process you may end up changing or further refining your manifesto.
- Be specific: Boil it all down to a single or abbreviated set of over-arching motivations. Make your manifesto as clear as possible using strong and incisive language. Eliminate non-essential words and try to stay away from metaphors and pop-jargon as it may not be universally understood and probably won’t have much longevity.
- Make it public: Manifestos are public declarations. Post yours in your blog or on your website. Send it to your friends and family or use it as an impetus to organize a group of like-minded individuals willing to support each other in their work for the given the cause. Hell, maybe you could eventually write a book about it all.
The most famous manifesto is undoubtedly the Manifesto of the Communist Party (more commonly known as The Communist Manifesto) by Marx and Engels. You can find plenty of other manifestos, and even submit your own, at the Change This website.
Yes, for those that were paying attention, I did say I'd be writing a manifesto of my own this year. My personal manifesto will be posted on New Year’s Day (tomorrow) in my other blog, La Vegan Loca. Go write one of your own and let me know what you come up with.