So here we are, into February.
The champagne corks have been popped. The tree is down. The left over Christmas ham has gone and the kids have FINALLY gone back to school. Sound about right?!
I’m curious… how many of you made New Year’s resolutions this year? Last year? And here’s the million dollar question… how many of you have KEPT them and started achieving your goals? I’m fairly sure the answer there is; “Yep, I made some. No. I haven’t kept them”.
Uh huh. You aren’t alone. I’ve done that year after year. AFTER YEAR. Mine normally go a bit like this;
“This year I’m going to lose weight”
“This year I’m going to eat better”
“This year I’m going to exercise more”
“This year I’m going to travel more”
That’s pretty much it but they do vary from year to year.
Usually by about the second or third week of January I’m sitting on the couch. Eating cake. Not exercising. AND putting on more weight!
The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s not just YOU or ME failing here. According to experts between 80 and 90% of resolutioners are failing at it. Seriously. Why you ask? Read on.
(Want to know where the 80-90% fail rate comes from? Spend 5 minutes on Google. It’s incredible how many studies have been done on we resolutioners!)
During the Christmas holidays we live in lala land really don’t we? We eat what we want when we want. We spend what we want when we want. We drink what we want when we want. It’s almost a parallel universe where there is no guilt and no remorse. Just pure self satisfying indulgence.
But then. Coldly and brutally we are dumped back in reality with a thud. We remember all those extra Carona’s and second helpings of Christmas ham. Mmmm and that extra mince pie. Oh yeah, and the hundreds of extra dollars we justified spending in our own little bubble of Christmas happiness. WE FEEL GUILTY. REMORSE SETS IN. Reality has slapped us in the face like the dead fish in that Monty Python episode. Hello disappointment.
Oh yes, then we act from a place of guilt and think “I’ll just make some resolutions. I’ll deal with it in the new year”… I’ll do this and I’ll do that. We set out with nothing but good intentions BUT we don’t stick to them. We just DON’T. That gym membership you bought doesn’t get used. The diet book you bought … chucked in a cupboard.
Hello DOUBLE DISSAPOINTMENT.
If all this sounds familiar you need to keep reading! Next year will be different for you if you understand the WHY behind the fail.
So, why is it then that even when we set out with the best laid plans and intentions we just can’t stick to them? Why is it so hard to just do what we say we are going to do? Here’s the thing… it’s that ab fab word that every expert (and novice!) threw around in 2018… the ‘it’ word… MINDSET!
BA DA BING!!
When you act from a place of guilt you are off on the wrong foot, immediately. Your intentions are past based and negatively set. You aim to ‘make up’ for the year/season/month that was. You let past experiences dictate how the new year will start for you. Your guilt and remorse have pushed you into resolutions that are unattainable, impractical, unaffordable, unrealistic, too vague… whatever.
Your motivation drops.
Your guilt and remorse are reborn. Do you see the cycle you can become stuck in?
To give yourself the best chance of success with any future resolutions here are the top 5 must do’s...
1. Make it specifc…
That is, instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight” create a list of HOW you are going to do this. For example, look at all the aspects that are involved in losing weight (food, exercise, sleep etc) and write down what you are going to do to improve each area. “I’m going to start meal planning 5 days a week”. “I’m going to run the 2km track near my house at least twice a week”. “I’m going to make sure I turn my lights out and go to sleep as close to 10pm as possible”. Which leads me to the next point…
2. Make it realistic…
Never ever set yourself a goal or challenge that is completely and utterly unattainable. I’m not saying hold yourself back from challenges and motivators BUT if you make utterly ridiculous resolutions (“I’m going to be proficient in piano in 4 weeks’ time”) then you are setting yourself up to fail! Consider anything that might get in the way of you achieving the goal by asking yourself what limitations or restrictions you face around this goal. Time? Money? Resources? Support?
3. Make it measureable…
How will you measure your progress to weight loss or whatever it is you’re working towards achieving? Will you set weekly checks in place? Will you ask others to comment on their perception of your success? Will you keep a diary? Will you do some hard hitting self-reflection? The resolutions you make will determine what exactly it is you need to do for this one.
4. Give it a time frame…
Saying you’re going to do something new or do something existing, better… for the WHOLE year… is a huge commitment. It doesn’t take into consideration any limitations, unexpected hurdles or peaks and troughs in motivation levels. You’re best off setting smaller goals which are much easier to achieve in a shorter period of time. We humans like instant gratification so why not elevate the euphoria of achievement by creating tiny timelines. Like weeks, months, quarters etc. When you check-in at these regular intervals you give yourself the chance to review, refine or totally redefine. Not only that but you also get to benefit psychologically from the thrill of celebrating any successes, big or small, more frequently.
5. A positive frame is key…
Choose your self talk carefully. Framing things in a negative tone can set you off on the wrong foot. The way we think affects our emotions and our emotions affect our behaviour (Therapy 101!). So if you can put a positive spin on the resolution, you have a much greater chance of actually achieving it!
“I will eat foods that make me feel healthier at least most of the time” instead of;
”I have to eat less junk food”
“I’m going to go to that yoga class every Tuesday” instead of;
“I’m going to get off the couch”
“I will improve my health by reducing my cigarettes to 2 a day” instead of;
“I’ve really got to stop smoking”
Hear the difference? Make sense?
If you can keep these simple tips n tricks in mind for next year you’ll be sure to give yourself THE best possible chance to achieve any new year’s goals you set for yourself.
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Erica has a passion for Women’s Health. She works with women who want to be heard, supported and empowered! Erica is a survivor of many life experiences. A Mum. A travel lover. A green thumb in training and an eternal optimist!