New Year’s Resolutions
What you need to know to have success this year.
So now is the time that people regularly make and probably have already broken their New Year’s Resolutions. This is a tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement beginning from New Year’s Day.
Did you know that research suggests that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals? Why is that? In some cases maybe it is easier to say I will start that next year until next year arrives and it all seems a bit too hard! Other’s give up on their goals as soon as they lose track or make one mistake, in the belief that if it is not perfect, there is no point in doing it at all. Some people fail to plan which in essence is planning to fail!
Before you make any New Year’s Resolutions, my suggestion is you start with this little but very important exercise first. Forgive yourself, yes, that’s right, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all the resolutions you haven’t kept/achieved before, hanging on to shame about the past is not useful if you want to change the future, it will only hold you back.
Secondly, there is no such thing as perfect. Choosing to only do something if it is perfect is actually the perfect excuse. You know it can never be perfect; perfection is a form of self-abuse and will only result in procrastination. Let it go and just do your best, that is enough and when you know better you will do better. Just begin.
It is also important to be aware that we all have a part of our brain called the reptilian brain, it is the part of our brain that wants to protect us from anything too scary and this includes change. Often when we embark on a big lifestyle change, our reptilian brain freaks out. It is afraid of change, any change so by the time you get to week two of three of your new lifestyle, the reptilian brain starts to feed logical excuses to you as to why you shouldn’t bother anymore. So when you start thinking, oh it won’t matter if I go through the drive through tonight for dinner or I’m too busy/tired to do my exercise, you know it is your reptilian brain kicking in. If you are aware from the beginning that it is likely to happen, you will be more likely to recognise it for what it is, and move on or seek help. Just tell your reptilian brain that you are safe and well and all is fine, it will eventually relax.
At this point people often don’t ask for help because they feel shame, they believe that they are the only person who can’t do it because there is something intrinsically wrong with them so they just give up believing that they are not capable or worthy.
Another common mistake that people make when trying to achieve a goal, especially health or weight related goals is that they think they can hate themselves thin or hate themselves well; this doesn’t work, definitely not for long term results. If you want to achieve long term health and wellness goals, you need to learn to nourish yourself. You will only nourish yourself when you learn to love and accept yourself.
If you are exercising or eating well, know that you are nourishing, nurturing and healing your body. If you are exercising to punish yourself or depriving yourself of food it won’t end well, it will just continue that destructive cycle of starting something, failing, shaming yourself and then starting all over again.
If you haven’t already, ensure you write down your goals. Not empty New Year’s Resolutions but real g
oals. What do you really want to be different this year? As you write your goals, it is important to answer these questions; it will help you define goals that are really important to you:
What will happen if I DO achieve this goal?
What will happen if I DON’T achieve this goal?
What won’t happen if I DO achieve this goal?
What won’t happen if I DON’T achieve this goal?
Start with small manageable changes (you are less likely to overwhelm your reptilian brain and it’s easier)! Just focus on starting/changing one habit per week. By the end of the year you will have 52 new healthy habits!
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result” Einstein. If you want different results, you must do something different this year! This may include asking for help or going to a professional.
Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year and if you have already “failed” in your goals for this year, start again, start small and be kind, show some compassion to yourself.