Well we are two days into the New Year and I found myself pondering New Year’s Resolutions. Every year we are compelled by the masses to create promises about how we will make changes and improve our lives in the New Year. Then, the days tick by, as we desperately try to hold onto our grip of those little or big resolutions….each passing day feeling like we might fail, or maybe we already have. Disappointment sets in…and then possibly binge eating or other unhealthy ways of dealing with the negative feelings of not keeping our resolutions. Does this pattern make you sometimes feel like giving up on New Year’s Resolutions all together? Or maybe you are one of the few that has found a way to do resolutions that don’t leave you feeling like you have no motivation or self-control! If that’s you then I celebrate with you!
For the rest of us still trying to figure out how to be successful with our New Year’s Resolutions:
Let me start by saying that humans have a long history, at least 4,000 years of making New Year’s Resolutions. And the history of this tradition is also fraught with negative feelings. From making promises to the gods to pay off debts and consequently falling out of favour with the gods if this promise wasn’t kept; to thinking about one’s past mistakes and making promises to do better, this tradition, with it’s focus on self-improvement, maybe needs a overhaul? The mindset that the passing year wasn’t good enough and the next year must be better forces us onto a hamster wheel that keeps going around and around. Every year will be a failure if the next year always has to be better. Maybe we just need a perspective shift and the freedom to shift from tradition to recreating New Year’s Resolutions.
Here are some alternatives and ideas for how to create New Year’s Resolutions that don’t leave you feeling crappy by February:
- Choose a goal, then make your resolution to begin to take steps towards that goal: for example, if your goal is eating healthier, then choose to eliminate one unhealthy food item from your diet, or commit to eating more veggies. Just pick one small step at a time!
- Change the focus: New Year’s Resolutions are generally self-focused…how can you shift the focus to someone else? Is there something you can do for someone else this year?
- Don’t focus on flaws or past mistakes: Resolve to to celebrate some aspect of who you are and what makes you uniquely you rather then focusing on what’s wrong with yourself or your habits!
- Focus on what you want to move towards, not what you want to move away from!
- Practice Gratitude while driving to work, to pick up your kids, or to order take out. Gratitude helps us remember the things that are good that often get overlooked!
- Challenge yourself, dig deep for changes to occur, but don’t get frustrated with yourself when it takes longer then you expected or wanted. Be committed to the process, but let the process unfold, don’t quite and don’t rush it. Be patient with yourself…after all you have the whole year.
- Spend time remembering your special moments and achievements from the year that is passing!
- Challenge yourself to do something that goes completely against your nature and personality and have fun with it, whether it’s jumping out of a plane (skydiving), creating a piece of art, building a coffee table, reading a book, or whatever it is that you don’t do often cause it wouldn’t quite be you…give it a try….even if the painting turns out awful….enjoy the process!
This year I only made one New Year’s Resolution. To start my own Christmas Traditions. I have my goal but how it turns out is part of the process and adventure. Happy New Year: I hope it’s filled with a new, inspiring alternative to unattainable resolutions!