New Year's Resolutions...Maybe They Should Simply Be a Refresh and Reset?
The statistics are in, every year we start out on our New Year's Resolutions with the best of intentions, and by mid-January to February...
The statistics are in, every year we start out on our New Year's Resolutions with the best of intentions, and my mid-January to February, the majority of us have given up in defeat, or lost focus or interest to continue. Over 80%, in fact, stop trying to accomplish their resolutions by February, and under 10% of us keep up our resolutions for the entire year.
When the calendar rolls over for another year it seems like the perfect time to start something new, stop something we no longer want to do, or improve ourselves in some way. The over indulging, over partying, and often over spending, we often do over the holiday season gives us the incentive sometimes to cut back, quiet down, and regroup with our food, alcohol, stimulating activities and even our budget. We might also simply feel tired and want to honker in for a time to recover and regroup.
I, myself, always make New Year's Resolutions, but, I have a system about how and when I will start them. I often do not pick January 1st as the starting day for some resolutions. For me, the calendar may have rolled over, but the weather has not. Somehow I am not as motivated to make a big change if today looks exactly like yesterday. This especially applies to any weight-related resolutions. Personally, I will start any food and drink resolutions on March 1st. Why March 1st? Well, once the seasons start to change and the weather perks up where I live, (we have 4 distinct seasons here), I am more prone to feel the motivation because summer will be coming and I can sense it. A change of weather means a change of clothing and with that, more of an interest in how I will look and feel in the warmer months. I just cannot justify starting a diet, for instance, on January 1st when it is still cold outside and I am wanting and needing winter comfort foods. Salads are for health in the winter, they do not warm me up. In the summer I can live on salads, but won't serve myself a hot soup. I know I am clearly a seasonal eater, and knowing who you are and how you operate is key.
I can offer to you here some help and support by sharing my criteria for achieving New Year's Resolutions as follows:
1) The resolution or goal must something that I want, not what someone else wants from or for me. The desire and motivation must come from me and for me.
2) I try to focus on very few New Year's Resolutions. They can be the same or similar to previous years, but there is no use in overwhelming myself with a long list, it will set me up for possible failure. I usually prioritize each goal that may be based on health, financial, relationship and learning goals, and make my short list from that.
3) Write your resolutions down. Start a journal, or make a list and keep it where you can see it often. Sometimes it is even worth leaving a note or a visual reminder (such as a photograph) on something to help you remember and help you achieve one of your goals.
4) I make a plan for each goal, and I form a plan that is achievable. It is best to make a goal that is on the low side of achievement, because it is good to take smaller steps, or slower steps is easier to achieve. If your goals are too lofty, you will, most likely fail. You can always 'up' your goal along the way, but lowering it won't feel like a win.
5) Be flexible on your plan, sometimes methods or elements have to be changed. Maybe something isn't working, so be open enough to rethink and replan and keep going. If something fails, don't berate yourself, just regroup, refresh and get back at it.
6) Celebrate the little wins. When you make your goals achievable you are more likely to accomplish them, so be good to yourself and reward yourself for the small wins and keep going.
7) Be accountable. Even though a resolution goal should be for you, let a partner, spouse, friend, family or co-worker know what you are doing. They will be much more supportive to cheer you on, and less likely to sabotage a resolution on your list because they are now informed and care about you.
We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Often we start with very similar New Year's Resolutions as the previous year. The secret may just be to gently refresh and reset a past goal in a current and relevant way.
As for me this year, my resolutions will be less lofty and more focused on basic recovery and health. My Fall accident has changed my life, and so I am being especially kind on myself by making very few resolutions this January and focusing on my recovery and mobility. It is simply just a different year for me and that is okay. Sometimes we have to adjust to our current life circumstances.
So, for each of you, dear readers, I wish you a wonderful new year with all your important and achievable resolutions! Go for it! You can do it!
*photo courtesy of bookblock on unsplash