Who's cheering you on this year?
January is almost over. How are your resolutions going? If you're going strong, you're one of the 58% who will maintain their resolutions past one month. Only 72% maintain in the first WEEK. I've heard some online chatter about how resolutions are pointless because they don't last. But I'm making a case for resolutions and want to encourage you to stay the course!
1. The beginning of a new year is a great time to reset. The days are back on track to being longer, the sun is out longer, and people start to think more productively after the holidays. And this is pretty much a collective human experience in America, at least. Everyone else is moving towards more productivity, so capitalize on it! Why not now? And the question really should always be why not now, anyway. Ever had a tragic incident in your life make you really appreciate today? Go there. Remember that now is all you have anyway.
2. While resolutions may be ambitious, they can form new habits. Maybe not all of them will stick every single day. BUT, at the end of the day you're simply changing your day to day routine and habits for something different. And really, maybe this is how we should attack resolutions. As a shift in daily activity. So instead of the rather overwhelming and far-reaching, "new you," maybe we establish a new morning you, where you get up and walk the dog for 10 minutes. Or a new food prep you, where you dedicate just a couple hours one day a week to making your meals. Or a new nighttime routine you, where you go to bed on time. Because even if you want all of those things to happen every day, even if you do one of those things long enough, it will bleed into the others.
3. Failure is good. Man, who is sick of trying to be perfect? And look perfect? And act perfect? Social media is great at allowing us to portray our composite selves. This idea came to me while at a retreat with a bunch of moms. The speaker talked about the composite self. The selves we piece together. Let's paste the the perfect wife bit here, the perfect kid bit here, the perfect meal bit here, and so on and so on, until we've pieced together our pretend selves. And that pretend self tells the world our story. Even if it's "my weight loss journey" or "my fitness journey" or "my diet journey." It makes us feel like creating new habits is a perfect process. When we mess up we may as well just go back to the old way...or the way we want to pretend we're being. If you don't fail, it's not real. So love failing. You learn from it. And you get better at your new habits from confronting what doesn't work. For me? I wanted to meditate for 5 minutes each morning. Outcome? I get my tired mom ass up out of bed go downstairs and start to pray and visualize. It's been great. I've willed myself into making this happen every single day. I'm now meditating at least 2 hours every morning. WRONG! Either the babe kept me up all night. Or the three year old wants to "join me" (what 3 year old wakes up at 5:00am!?!?!?!), or I just straight up fall asleep. So I'm reevaluating, breaking up my expectations, and considering where else/how else to fit this in. And wouldn't less perfect meditations be better than none at all? Don't white knuckle your goals. You'll crush them. Instead keep your sight on the intention, and hold on to that. Gently. And reform how that intention should look practically every day as things work or don't work.
4. Find a person. Find someone who asks you about your goals. People need people. It's that simple. Find someone to practice accountability with or bounce ideas off of. Someone where you can be vulnerable enough to say I screwed that up! OR I crushed that! And either way that person will be there, fully present, for what those things mean.
5. Start small. Real small. If you want to workout 5 days a week maybe ramp that up from a 3x/week commitment. Get really, really good at 3x/week and then ramp it up to 4, then 5. Get really awesome at smaller things and then the bigger things will come naturally!
6. Write it down! Have a plan to return to and reevaluate.
I think more good can come out of New Year Resolutions than bad in general. I think if they can be reframed as new habits than "new yous" all over the place, it might be easier to chew. And while a new year is a great time to start, never be afraid to have your own new year at some other time later in 2017.