It’s the time of the year when we start hearing New Year’s resolutions like “Starting next year I’m going to…” or “New year new me!” and so on and so forth. We might even promise ourselves to go to the gym every day or to not eat one cookie or drink one soda all year round. Which don’t get me wrong, are all great things. Things that I want to change in my life too, but… if I sound a tad bit skeptical, it’s because I am.
I know there have been plenty of things I’ve promised myself I was going to do (or not do) for New Year’s, only to be miserable when I fell back into or out of the habit. In fact, I read a Forbes article that said just 8% of people succeed with their New Years Resolutions. Soooo why does that happen? And how can we make lasting change?
I believe that resolutions can work, but many times they are anchored in the wrong things. In order for them to make a real impact, we have to take some time and think through what we want to change, and why. After we decide on that, it will take some inspiration, a little bit of focus, and a lot of perseverance. So let’s get started!
First let’s toss the word “resolution” and all of the negative connotations it carries. You can call it whatever works for you, but I like “lifestyle change” or making a commitment to my future self (but that one’s a mouthful).
Once you decide what to call it, figure out what it is and why you’re making a change. Get to the heart of it. What are you deciding to change? Why? Your reasoning can be the make or break phase of a decision. You have to make sure that whatever it is, you really want to do. Then figure out why. If your reasoning isn’t based on something positive, then your change will most likely not stick, or it will and you’ll be miserable.
For example, if you are committed to losing weight to be healthier, happier, more fit and athletic – great! If it’s because you hate your body that’s not. We don’t have to be miserable when making changes in our lives, and are actually more successful when we’re not miserable during changes. Ensure that your decision-making, whatever it is, comes from a place of compassion and love, even if that place is loving yourself enough to do better.
Next, make the commitment. Write it down in measurable terms. At my last job they had us outline our goals using the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Make sure that your goals are tangible, specific, and that you set a timeline to keep track of your progress. If there is no threshold in mind it is harder to visualize and therefore harder to obtain.
In one month where do you want to be? What is a concrete way to measure it? Then, how are you going to get there? Set the scene, meditate on it, pray about it, but most of all believe you can do it. I like creating vision boards and writing sticky notes and placing them everywhere to remind myself, very Being Mary Jane-esque.
Lastly, get to movin’! Remember that life is all about the journey, so have some compassion for yourself along the way. It’s never easy making a change in your life, even good, well-meaning ones. So keep pushing, praying, and moving forward. One tiny step forward is still a step forward and I’m here celebrating every step with you!
Hugs and Happy Holidays!