The secret of sticking to those New Year resolutions!
Here we go again, it's the beginning of a New Year and we are all being asked the same question;
“So...what’s your New Year’s resolution?”
Most of the answers I have heard could have come from any year in the last decade and, as such, don’t feel very ‘New’ at all! Going to the gym, losing weight, stopping drinking, stopping smoking, the list goes on. Most resolutions, it has to be said are about NOT doing things, rather than doing things. Making ourselves toe the line.
I have not heard many people say things like they are going to make use of the free museums more, they are going to read one classic novel a month or they are simply resolute to have more fun in 2014!
There is nothing wrong with a New Year resolution, there is no doubt that a new phase in the calendar can feel like a good time to enter a new phase in our lives. How do we manage to follow through on our resolutions though? Below are a few well kept secrets to help you get what you want from 2014;
Create your own timetable
There is no rule set in stone that you must start your chosen routine on the 1st of January. Sometimes the 1st can feel like a bit of a let down. If you stayed in the night before, it will probably seem like just another ordinary day. If you went out to see in the new year, then it often feels far worse that an ordinary day! Instead, choose a moment when you think you will be at your optimum. It could be the first Monday of the month or, if you are detoxing, maybe the first weekend so you don’t feel sluggish at work. A clear head with a good solid plan will set you off on the right foot for success.
Research & Prepare
Most resolutions fail because people haven’t actually had the time or space to figure out what they need and how to achieve what they want. If you are giving up smoking for example, spend a few days looking at your options and choosing the best path for you. It's far better than going cold turkey and finding yourself giving up giving up the first time you go to the pub! If you are wanting to lose weight, research a way that sounds plausible for you, find the foods that are good to eat, yet you still really like and go and do a nice healthy shop rather than being faced with a post Christmas cupboard full of half eaten boxes of chocolates and a couple of crusty mince pies! Treat yourself gently, with care and prepare and you will get what you want.
Put it in the positive
For most people, the moment they feel they shouldn’t do something they feel almost compelled to go out and try to do it. So if you were thinking about going on a diet, think instead about going on an energy boosting healthy eating regime. Rather than making yourself go to the gym, you could decide to give yourself space three times a week to have your own mind time whilst you exercise, feel good and treat yourself after to relaxing in the steam room. If you are more competitive you could have a competition with a friend, if you like companionship find someone to buddy up with for moral support. Whatever you do, make it a positive choice, not a negative chore.
See the bigger picture
If you focus on the short term pain, rather than the long term gain of your resolution you are setting yourself up for one heck of a struggle. Make your resolution part of a bigger goal. Forget about making yourself go to an exercise class, decide instead what the longer term purpose of your resolution might be. You may have always wanted to go trekking through the rainforest, but never felt fit enough. Make that your goal. Read about it and plan your trip. It will inspire you and take the focus off something you have previously not wanted to do and shine a light on something you always have wanted to do. Putting your resolution down as just part of a bigger plan will mean it becomes less of an effort and move you toward something truly rewarding.
Remember its simply a contract with yourself
The only person you need to please by doing this is you. Even if others might benefit from your choices, at the centre is a happier you. This will take away the urges of ‘being bad’ and not doing what you have chosen to do. Ensure you do it your way. Make it pleasurable and reward yourself in a way that is appropriate to your goal. Look at what you are going to get from succeeding and decide now how you will know you are on the way to getting what you want. Keep flexible - the only rules are your rules, so if your original plan needs some modification, go ahead and make some changes. This is your contract with you. Go on, give yourself what you want!
Take a deep breath. Clear your mind. Think of the bigger picture. Realistic and useful goals will get you the life you want. If you need a booster, book a couple of sessions with a coach. Just because this is for you, it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Make sure you make 2014 the year where you give yourself what you actually want. I suspect you probably deserve it!