Every year the majority of us make a promise to ourselves that we will change some habit we find unseemly – we make a New Year’s resolution. And for a time, even if it is just a fleeting moment, we actually believe that we will keep that promise. We will stop eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every time we have a bad day, we will only wear our workout pants when we’re actually going to the gym, we will water the plants, eat nutritious meals, and be at work on time. And this year, we’ll actually do it…Yeah, right.

Soft Addictions Block New Years Resolutions
The problem with all New Year’s resolutions is that we expect ourselves, in one fell swoop, to break the habitual cycles we have developed over months, weeks and years. The behaviors we return to again and again – like procrastinating, overeating, and watching hours of TV every day – can’t just be wiped out cold turkey. More than just a bad habit, these behaviors are actually Soft Addictions that are robbing us of the time, money, energy and meaning we deserve.

New Years Resolutions Alone Don’t Work
The average New Year’s resolution lasts just three weeks, and for many of us, that’s a stretch. It’s not that we don’t want to take these behaviors out of our lives, it’s just that we’re going about it the wrong way. Trying to make a “quick fix” every January 1st isn’t going to solve the problem. To really make a change in your life – to find the MORE in life you are looking for – takes more than a New Year’s resolution. It takes a commitment to achieving the vision you see for your life.

What’s the Difference?

We make New Year’s resolutions to deal with the surface problems in our lives – we want to lose weight, be more organized, make more money – and we think that fixing this problem will make us happy. However, even if we do achieve the surface goals, the deeper problems are still looming. Many of us have lost weight or got the ‘right’ job or guy but have still been unhappy.

Make a One Decision
This year, I challenge you to make more than a resolution, make a “One Decision.” The One Decision is your commitment to living a life of MORE. We all face the decision between living deep, meaningful lives or surface, unconscious ones. To make lasting change in our lives, we need to commit to one way of living versus another. This is not just a decision. It is the One Decision that determines the quality and direction of our life.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t realize that the decision is yours to make. We often go through life thinking, This is just the way it is. It seems the best we can do is get by. We numb ourselves to the pain and just cope or get by. By making a One Decision, you choose to pursue the greater MORE in life, more connection, meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction. And along the way you find more time, money, and energy.

A One Decision does not mean you will never have Soft Addictions. That isn’t the point. But the next time you find yourself mindlessly snacking or procrastinating by gossiping for hours on end, you can recall your one decision and give yourself the opportunity to shift or make a different choice.

A One Decision Example
The expression of a One Decision is personal and unique. But here is an example of how one person expressed her decision.

I have decided. I have made the One Decision. I have decided to live an exceptional life a conscious life, to fulfill my spiritual hungers to live deeply to open myself to all life has to offer and greet it. I have decided to be open to my feelings, to let them wash across my face. A life worth living is one where all experiences are worthy of being experienced. I need not numb myself. I invite it. I choose life!

Making Your One Decision
Here are several steps you can do to make your One Decision.

1. Reflect on your reasons.

Find a quiet spot to reflect on why you want to make a One Decision. Why do you want more in life? What soft addictions or failed resolutions are getting in your way? Do you have yearnings you want to fulfill? What excites you?

2. Identify your desires.

What do you want ore of in life—more life, love, meaning, feelings, intimacy, connection, satisfaction, money, energy, passion? What would make your life a well-lived life? Proclaim what you want more of by writing it down.

3. Claim your commitment.

Write down your personal commitment. Compose a paragraph expression your One Decision. Use the previous two questions as raw material.

Be inspired with this quote from Jack London:
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant flame than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time”

--Jack London

A One Decision is not meant to replace resolutions or the commitment to overcome Soft Addictions, but it is a critical step towards success in achieving resolutions and releasing Soft Addictions. Make this year count. As you start to think about your resolutions, give yourself the gift of a One Decision.

Copyright 2004, The Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning

Author's Bio: 

JUDITH WRIGHT, founder of the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning, is an inspirational speaker, educator, life coach, seminar leader, and the national best-selling author of THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS: Finding More Life, Love, and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions. Called ‘one of the most sought after self-help gurus’ by The San Francisco Chronicle, Judith has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, over 300 radio programs, and in over 30 national magazines and newspapers.

Judith founded the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning after twenty years of developing innovative, inspirational education and personal growth programs at the university and private levels. The Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning helps people fulfill their potential in the areas of work, relationship, self, and spirituality through coaching, products, and in-depth training programs. Find out more about the Wright Institute for Lifelong Learning, www.wrightliving.com. Find out more about Judith Wright, www.judithwright.com