The Fresh Start Effect is in full steam. More than a dozen people have asked me what my resolutions for 2019 are. It’s only natural that I would reflect on the idea of resolutions.
A better thought is how to make resolutions actually stick and become a reality. The web is full of tips and techniques for making resolutions stick. I’ve included some links to these at the end of the post.
What I offer today is a slightly different approach to resolutions – some would even call it savory : )
Approach your New Year’s resolutions like eating Xiaolongbao.
Wait? Xiaolongwhat? For those who have not experienced this delicious Shanghai cuisine, let me explain a little bit.
What is Xiaolongbao?
Xiaolongbao 小笼包, pronounced like SHAOW LOW-NG BAOW, is a special type of dumpling. It’s different than other types of dumplings because it has soup-like sauce inside. The fillings can have veggies and meats.
What does Xiaolongbao have to do with New Year’s Resolutions?
On the surface, nothing. Xiaolongbao is a food. New Year’s Resolutions are a promise you make to yourself for change. If we look at the process of HOW we eat this wonderful, bite-sized food, there is wisdom that can be applied pursuit of maintaining resolve.
Xiaolongbao rule #1 Pick it up carefully.
Being adept with chopsticks is not enough. Xiaolongbao has an incredibly thin skin on the bottom. If you squeeze to hard or move to quickly, this dumpling will collapse before you get if off the tray. Use care when picking up your dumpling.
For Resolutions – Resist the desire to grab everything at once. Trying to have it all at the same time could lead to indecision or poor handling. It is better to focus on one thing at a time and spend some focused time giving it our energy and time.
Xiaolongbao rule #2 Don’t try to eat it all at once.
A common mistake with xiaolongbao is trying to eat the whole thing at one time. The soup inside the dumpling will burn your mouth if you try to jam the whole thing in your mouth and chew. Instead, I was taught a technique of taking a small bit of the outer layer first. This gives the soup a chance to cool down before you eat it.
For Resolutions – Identify a small part of your resolution to take on first. You may have to deal with the feeling of wanting to get it all done now. Resist. Small wins over time add up to bigger wins.
Xiaolongbao rule #3 Take your time to enjoy each part.
After taking a small bite out of the dumpling, you can allow the sauce to drip into a spoon. Another technique is to suck out the soup sauce through the opening you made. It is less likely to burn you.
For Resolutions – Find a way to enjoy your progress consistently. And don’t forget to celebrate your success along the way.
Let’s take a real life example using these three rules.
Rule #1 Pick it up carefully.
In the context of new years resolutions, Johnny has made a handful of resolutions for different areas of his life.
- Pay off Credit Card Debt
- Start a Side Business
- Travel to 10 countries
- Wake Up earlier
- Spend more time with family
Choosing to take on everything at once could be disastrous. Instead he decides to start with one that could impact all the others. He chooses to work on waking up earlier. Why does he want this? Waking up earlier will give him more time in the morning to get things done. It will also allow him more time to create a morning routine that sets the right tone for the day.
Alright. Let’s move on to the next rule.
Rule #2 Don’t try to eat it all at once. Take a small bit first.
Johnny’s goals is to wake up at 5:30am every morning. Right now he kinda wakes up at 6:45am, rolls over, checks his instagram for 10 minutes, goes back to sleep for 20 more minutes, and finally gets out of bed.
He could set his alarm for 5:30am and try to wake up earlier. There is some benefit to tackling something head on. However, Johnny remembers the rules and decides to start small. His first goal is goal is to get out of bed as soon as it hits the alarm. To help with this, he moves the alarm clock across the room. This forces him to him to get out of bed to turn it off. Boo-ya!
Rule #3 Take your time to enjoy each part.
Now Johnny wants to find a way to enjoy making progress when he wakes up immediately. He decides to do something he enjoys with the extra time he has in the morning, like writing. He creates a plan to make his alarm 10 minutes earlier each week until he hits the 5:30am target.
Johnny is looking good.
I hope this analogy and example helps give new insights into sticking with your new year resolutions. It can be overwhelming when you first start, but so rewarding when you follow-through.
As a closing note I’ve added a little video by Jim Rohn explaining the meaning of resolve.
Resolve means promising yourself to never give up.
Don’t give up on those resolutions. Make them measurable and create momentum toward achieving them.
To your success,