Happy New Year!
I thought about this post for quite a while….I know it’s the time of year when many of us are making New Year’s resolutions. The problem with typical resolutions is that by mid-February, 80% of them have been abandoned. That’s most likely because we go for something major and really difficult. Like losing a bunch of weight on some crazy new restrictive diet (I really dislike that word). Or hitting the gym 6 days a week (when we currently average 1 or 2 days a week - or less).
General resolutions are also difficult to stick to when they aren't specific - "eat better", "save more money", "get more sleep".... change these to "stop adding sugar to my coffee", "open a vacation account and set up an auto transfer of $50/week" and "turn off all screens no later than 10:00 every night". Even if your overall goal is to eat better, you need to break that down into smaller, specific actions that allow you to reach that goal, once you have defined what that goal actually is. Eating "better" will not mean the same thing for every individual.
Our usual resolutions also involve some sort of sacrifice – no more sweets, giving up alcohol, cutting back on video games – generally this will eventually lead us to feeling deprived, which often leads to throwing in the towel. I prefer to think of things from another angle. What can I do differently in my life that will bring me closer to the person I would like to be? What will help me grow and learn? What do I really enjoy about my life, and is there anything keeping me from doing more of it, or getting better at it? Do I want to feel healthier/stronger/more flexible than I do now?
We need to eliminate the word “failure” from our vocabulary. When you were a child, learning to ride a bike, skate, or even walk for that matter, did you give up the first time you fell? The second time? The third? Of course you didn’t. You just got up, and went for it again. And the more you tried, the better you got. With every fall, you (your mind AND your body together) learned something about what you were trying to accomplish. Failure is defined as "a lack of success". As long as you draw breath, you have another chance to succeed, and "success" itself is what you determine it is.
Change can be scary and difficult, but it is also exciting and rewarding. A few tips summarized:
· Start with small changes, replacing just one old habit with a new one, and then build on that.
· Be patient with yourself. You didn’t get where you are overnight.
· Every day, remind yourself of why you want to make changes in your life, and then do your best that day.
· Don’t give up or punish yourself if you slip. Acknowledge what happened, why it happened, and then start again.
· Surround yourself with people that encourage and support you.
· Ask for help from experts that know what they are doing and can tailor their advice to your specific situation.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for the coming year! If I can help you reach any of your personal goals for 2021, please contact me.