Willpower and Skillpower in the New Year

So this post is a bit of a smorgasbord of New Years-y things! I'd like to direct your attention to a throwback post, all the way from last year:

Original post from December 30, 2012

Setting goals for myself has always been easy...it's the execution and accountability that is the tough part. I know the things I need to work on. I dwell on them throughout the year. When the times come for New Years Resolution, I dive in head first. However, usually within just a short couple of weeks (if even that!), my fire dwindles, and my dream dies. That's it! No long drawn-out goodbye, no preparation, nada. It's just gone, and I feel numb. Numb because it's so darn cold outside because it's still January.

I went to a fabulous Goal Setting Workshop through Lululemon this past autumn (of 2012). It had a wonderful grid to help me visualize my goals and write them down on paper. Check out their blog section on goal setting.

This video may be of interest to you if you are wondering about the power of writing down your goals. It may also be worth a listen if you are nervous about making your goals more real, or concrete. This video comes from the Lululemon blog, and is short (only about a minute).

I want to really set meaningful, manageable goals for the new year, and I suggest you do the same. Further, we need to be setting goals for ourselves; things we want to achieve, not things others want us to achieve, or things we think we should change about ourselves.

My first step is to identify my values and goals for my life overall. It's hard to make a resolution if it doesn't fit with your life plan and values for yourself. At the Goal Setting Workshop, we were provided with a terrific double-sided worksheet to help define these goals. I have adapted the first page slightly as seen below.

This worksheet was downloaded straight from the Lululemon blog. If you download the PDF file from the website and have access to Adobe, you can type directly into the form. I prefer writing down my goals with pencil (I'm sure its something kinesthetic related, but I don't know what)

I find this worksheet fabulous! Something about the set up, the colors, the font...it's all very enticing. It also helps that it comes from Lululemon, as I love them (as evident from my latest Tweet). If this worksheet doesn't work for you, don't be discouraged! When in doubt, create your own! Whatever works for you! But make sure when you do create something that works, maybe share it? Other's would love to see it (I know I would!).

This may seem a little overboard for something as mundane and routine as a New Years Resolution, but let's be real...should changing your life for the better feel mundane? Should it be a chore? NO! The New Year should inspire you to change! Change is good! Opportunities are good! You should feel empowered to make these life changes, not trapped. So please, take this seriously, and I promise you, by this time next year, you won't feel like you've failed last year's "goals", nor will you dread expanding your dreams for 2014 2015.

These same ideas still hold true for me. As I reread this post, and look into the future of 2014, I realize that I do feel confident in my goal-making abilities. I don't feel as though I've failed 2013's goals, nor do I dread 2014. I'm feeling great! I'm ready to conquer the upcoming year!

Now onto more New Years-related things, just incase you aren't as eager as I:

Check out this interesting article from The Huffington Post Blog on New Years Resolutions.

As a behaviorist, I don't agree with all of the assumptions about human behavior, however, overall Dr. Katz has some inspiring messages to share on why resolutions fail, and what we can do to succeed.

"A will for change in the absence of an accessible way to get there from here is a formula for frustration and bitter disappointment."

This is where skillpower comes in.

In another article by Dr. Katz, he describes skillpower in a way that just makes sense:

"Imagine, for example, that you wanted to drive a car or ride a bike but didn't know how, and nobody taught you. You might try bike riding anyway, out of sheer will, but there's only so many times you can fall down and get hurt before you say: Enough is enough! In the absence of the requisite skill, bad experiences erode will. Eventually, will runs out.
Skill power fixes this. If you know how to ride a bike, it may be still be challenging at first – which is where will comes in – but you gain expertise and mastery long before will runs out. Once you have expertise, the demands on willpower drop precipitously, because the task just keeps getting easier."

You may have the incredible amounts of willpower and stamina, but if you do not possess the skills to achieve your goals, nothing will be accomplished. Where there is a will, there is not always a way.

And so, I ask you - do you have both the willpower and the skillpower to achieve your goals for 2014? You must have both for it to be successful!

You may decide that New Years isn't the ideal time for you to start your resolutions. That's okay! If you want your resolutions to be successful, you need to do what works best for you! I know a lot of teachers who prefer to start their "life changes" during the beginning of the school year, as they attribute "New Year" to September. I happen to love starting fresh in January, as I am usually in some sort of rut by the time Christmas Break comes around. It helps to rejuvenate myself and motivation for my students. Again, you need to find what works for you!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my 2014 New Years Resolutions!

And finally, I have created a new product on just this topic! It is an Interactive Guide for Setting Smart Goals for preteens to young adults! I know - this isn't my usual audience, but I have done a good amount of research and have a fair amount of experience with this population to create such a product.

I am looking for 2-3 editors of this new product before I release it to the masses. I would ideally like to have it uploaded by tomorrow evening (Sunday, December 29), with time for those to purchase to supplement their New Years lessons. If you are interested, please email me at mindfulrambles@gmail.com! For those who volunteer to help, I would love to provide you with the completed product! Thanks so much in advance!


  1. Hi Rae. I'd be happy to look at your new product. A lot of people wear Lululemon at my health club. I finally went to their new store at Market Square in Lynnfield. You should send them a link to your post - maybe you'll get some free clothes!
    I do like your skillpower ideas - I never heard of that term, but I really like it!

    1. Susan - thanks so much for offering to help! I tried emailing you directly, but it said your email was not a valid address. Would you mind emailing me at mindfulrambles@gmail.com?

      I LOVE the Open Air Marketplace in Lynnfield! I ran a race there in November - but haven't made it back for any actual shopping! I'll take you advice and send my blog post - keeping my fingers crossed for some free yoga pants!



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  3. Great Stuff! I'm all about goal-setting! If you still need help, I'd be happy to look over your product. Happy New Year!


    Always Adapting



Thanks for the comments! I look forward to reading them :)

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