What are typical New Year resolutions? I bet they are pretty challenging things that you want to achieve. Eating better, exercising more, giving up smoking, reading more books end etc. To put it simply: they are simply the list of things we don’t really feel like doing to begin with. But we “HAVE TO”.
Last year I had at least 10 kick-ass New Year Resolutions with different strategies and sophisticated approaches to succeed. Some of them were easy, others were quite challenging. But I still didn’t really want to do them. For a while I was quite successful and felt like a wonder woman when doing most of the things from that list and overcoming my natural resistance. I felt empowered and on top of the tops.
But shortly after, all the things I did successfully one by one started to slip and fade away until they were completely forgotten. I just gave in to my old ways feeling terrible as if I betrayed myself.
And in the long run none of those resolutions I wrote down had any solid and valuable impact on my life. They were just those fancy words, fancy dreams on a peace of paper.
Then I asked myself what should I do to make it work? What should I change about my behavioural patterns? What new approaches shall I try to make those positive changes stick?
And why on Earth did all my previous resolutions fail so miserably?
9 Reasons Why New Year Resolutions Fail
1. Multiple Changes Parade
To get fit, to get organised, to start running and to start eating healthier. These are the worst goals that are charged with that enormous pressure you put yourself under. When you are not used to any of that, how can you possibly expect wonders from yourself instantaneously?
Instead of hopping on all the things at once, start with something simple first and introduce a new positive change gently step by step making it as easy as possible.
For example. I’m bad at drinking water. I just didn’t do that. I suffered with massive headaches and generally was terribly dehydrated all the time. And my skin wasn’t looking that peachy either. So instead of jumping on that popular notion that you have to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, I’ve started with one simple cup of water a day. Then 2 cups of water. Then 3 and so on. I started noticing positive changes that’s why drinking water became something natural and something that I do automatically now.
2. Sophisticated Goals
This involves massive attitude adjustments. In order to reach some complicated goals there are certain little habits we need to adopt just to get there. One step at a time.
For example you might have been picturing yourself well-organised, top-notch high achiever with immaculate discipline and an eye for detail. Whereas here and now this image has nothing to do with the set of habits you are known for… Let’s face it.
So in order to get there, we need to shutter our BIG GOAL into smaller pieces making it simple. Step by step we can get there as long as we are going.
3. Directions and Results
Oh, this is my favourite one! I always had trouble distinguishing my directions from final results. Somehow I pictured that if I laid off pizza today (that’s a good direction) then tomorrow I would magically lose 10 kg instantaneously (that’s a dubious desirable result) because of that healthier decision! Yeah-yeah-yeah… I was that naive. I have nothing to hide here really.
It’s not enough to head in the right direction. What brings results is your decision and commitment to change.
4. This is it. This year is MY YEAR!
When you expect enormous dramatic changes in your life without changing your approach and when we do the same things and expect different results, obviously we need to wake up and smell the roses.
Nothing will ever change for the better unless we want it to change and we take action towards it.
5. Over Encouraging
When you encourage yourself with a candy bar for running 20 minutes in the morning instead of 10 minutes you did yesterday, the whole idea of making your life healthier flops.
You confuse yourself believing that running session is something to be avoided in the first place. And that you have to overcome yourself to do that. That’s not how this trick works.
You need to understand that in order to make your life better you need to get things in order in your mind first. Understand WHY you want to introduce a CHANGE in your life. What are the reasons for that? Understand why it is important for you to CHANGE and all the reasons why it is predominantly GOOD for you.
Have that new POSITIVE idea in your mind that will guide you and make the whole journey as pleasant as possible. Make resolutions for the things you really wish to do and didn’t do enough, the things you look forward to commit to without that feeling that you have to pull your teeth in order to go through with the whole thing. Go forward and do the things that genuinely make you happy and joyful.
7. Willpower Sucks
It really sucks for me, sorry. I once even had that weird morning ritual which I bet my neighbours weren’t that happy about. I would get up and jump 15 times clapping hands repeating like mantra: GET EXCITED! GET-GET EXCITED! Then I would throw myself out for a morning run.
I hated the whole idea to begin with. I thought that running was such a drag that the only contribution I got in return was my lousy mood.
Willpower means denying yourself what you want to do now (to stay in bed instead of going for a jog) to get yourself through the challenge and succeed no matter what, hence it is one of the most difficult things to master.
8. Cutting way too many slacks
When I get into a new routine with some of my resolutions, what fails me is “innocently” slacking off. Once, twice, three times too many…
When your Ego starts rationalising why it’s better to eat that extra thick peace of chocolate pie when you were refraining for couple of months from all that “sweet sugary trap” – that is where trouble starts sneaking into your life again.
Your mind might say: You’ve been way too hard on yourself lately. Have a bite of that triple chocolate muffin, I know you want to. Just one bite will not do any bad to your figure or health.
That’s how I gave in way too many times to those tricks. But when mindfulness switches on and shines, it’s way easier to make better choices and stay true to what is really important – good health and general wellbeing.
9. I SHOULD…
Not going through with new year resolutions is almost as popular as coming up with them in a first place. Too many “shoulds” and too few true perspectives of why it is important to you. Can we turn things around? Sure we can.
Simple Ideas on How to Make Resolution Work
There’s never enough time to do virtually EVERYTHING. But there’s always a possibility to find some time for the things that truly matter to you the most.
What do you enjoy doing the most? Do you wish to spend more time with your friends and close ones? Do that. Do you wish to have 30 minutes to yourself to take a bath with bubbles and candles? Do that for yourself. Do you wish to read more? Then find some time to do that. Why delay by saying that you have no time for those things that matter to you? It’s an illusion.You have time. We all have 24 hours a day. What makes the difference is the way we use those hours. Think about it. Maybe you just need to make a few adjustments to make it work? It’s not that hard when you are committed.
It’s never enough just to write down a resolution “to save more money” or “to spend even less”. Instead of that decide what you need that money for in the New Year. What do you really want to save it for? There is no point in hoarding money just for the sake of it. You live now. Work out a specific figure you are going towards and go.
We spend most of the time working. So it better be something we really like. Something that inspires us. Don’t just stick there with no idea where you are going. Where do you work right now? Does this career lead you to the place where you want to be at?
Connections mean a lot. We might have millions in the bank or thousands of bitcoins. We might be highly successful in our field. But what’s the point of having all that if we have no one to share it with?
So it is very vital to build a fulfilling supporting network around yourself. Surround yourself with people who bring up the best in you.
No-no-no. I’m not here to give you yet another lecture on the importance of being and staying healthy. You know it full-well without me reminding you the obvious.
If you have low energy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level and other bits and pieces that rob you of joy, then a proper exercising routine and healthier eating choices must be of HIGHEST priority on your list, because you need to understand that those who love you want to see you healthy, alive and in a good well-being.
I really hope that your resolutions will be the list of things that you enjoy doing and that truly make you happy. Enjoy the fun and have the best of luck!
By Lesya Li
Photo from vk.com