Are you ready to make your New Year’s Resolutions stick?
Many people dread “New Year's Resolutions” today because, well, many of us have disappointed ourselves in the past... And that just never feels good. So, what can we do differently to actually crack the code of success for our New Year’s Resolutions in 2018?
Read below for 8 well-rounded tips for ringing in your new (and lasting) future improved self!
1. Make your goals from an emotionally supported and invested placerather than one of “fantasy”, “avoidance”, OR “self-deprecation”.
The old phrase “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” rings true for our own motivation with our goals. Pain does not actually help you “gain” anything positive in the long-term. Even if you have success initially, it likely will not last without a longer-term pleasurable outcome. Only pleasure, comfort, and relief will sustain our motivation with our commitment because we all want to feel good!
When you believe you deserve to feel better, and you give yourself “permission” to take care of yourself in a way that honors your personal needs, you will want to keep that commitment so you can reap the rewards.
Be gentle with yourself and start with a goal that feels reachable and good to you when you achieve it… No matter what anyone else thinks or says! Be proud of each and every little goal that you achieve, because they are just as powerful for your self-improvement as reaching the big ones. Nobody but YOU can fill any voids you feel inside, so love yourself enough to honor your needs from the inside out. Likewise, covering those needs up will only deepen your pain and further disconnect you from yourself and others. ...Your beautiful soul deserves more than that.
2. Welcome what you desire rather than fight against what you want to get rid of.
The Law of Attraction definitely plays a role with success, and you want to make sure you are attracting your desire. Be mindful to keep your wording and language of your resolutions in a positive manner when you write them and discuss them. Our words have energy, and we want to bring good things rather than unwanted things. For example, rather than saying, “I want to lose …(weight/ my gut/ this baby belly/ my cellulite and jiggles, Etc)” say “I want to love how I look in the mirror” OR “I want to feel healthy” OR “I want to look and feel sexy”.
These statements should still make you think of the topic, but instead will focus on the positive outcome you desire to achieve your goal. Believe it or not, this makes a BIG difference in your success with your goal; as you want to put all your focus and energy into the solution, not the challenge. Remember, the law of attraction states that “like attracts like”; whether it is negative or positive. ...Use positive language to help you stick with your goals, and focus on “hoping” rather than “worrying”.
Here are some great positive affirmations to help you along your way:
“My experiences yesterday taught me a lot, and since today is a new day, I know I have the freedom to make new choices right now.”
“I haven’t failed unless I stop trying. Everything was once impossible until the day that it was.”
“First Attempt In Learning (FAIL) ...Thank you for the wisdom of failure. I couldn’t succeed without the knowledge I gained along the way.”
“As long as I do my best, I am proud of my progress. My opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to how I feel about my goal.”
“I made this goal because I know I deserve to feel good, and this _______ will help me to reach my goal.”
3. Set a smaller goal you feel you can confidently achieve in one week; so you can consistently exceed your own expectations rather than just meet them. Then do this for 4 weeks straight to create a strong routine.
For example, If you want to run a marathon but you’ve gained 20 lbs and you haven't trained in 2 years, it may be too large of a goal to commit to “snapping to it 5x a week” without some initial building up first.
Whether your goal is for fitness, health, diet, self-care, or any other routine you’d like to start, begin strong “at square one” by making a commitment to add something new 1-2x a week as your “Minimum Frequency Level” (MFL). You must make it weekly to actually keep consistency and see progress.
If you reach your MFL goal before the end of the week, and you’d like add another time, great! ...But keep your MFL goal to the initial 1-2x a week for a month when you first start.
The one exception to this would be if you have been successfully (and consistently!) maintaining a higher frequency than your initial MFL by the third week of your goal. Only then wouldn’t make sense to increase the frequency of your goal prior to month end. If you have, you can add up to 2x higher than your initial MFL, but resist the urge to increase your MFL more than that. The reason for that is because it always feels better to exceed your expectations than to only meet them or “default” on your MFL because you made it too high.
For example, even if you've been impressing yourself and going steady with a 5x a week routine, try to keep your MFL expectation at 3-4x a week. This will allow you to challenge yourself while continuing to exceed your own expectations. When you have a safety net of a lower MFL, you will be able to have more wiggle room in the inevitable moment that life throws you a curveball and your routine is thrown off. This will ultimately help you avoid defaulting on your MFL, and you won't beat yourself up as much if you have to move things around one week. ...You’ll thank yourself later for your self-compassion and planning on this one!
4. Be aware of whether your goal is properly matched with your chosen timeline.
When we think about succeeding at a goal, believe me, we all want to get there as soon as possible! But you will likely end up in self-sabotage if the necessary level of commitment needed does not work well with your goal’s timeline.
Ask yourself, “Is my goal a long-term goal (LTG) (i.e. lifestyle change), OR is my goal a short-term goal (STG) (I.e. temporary change)?
Being consciously aware of the difference in “goal timelines” will help you to plan better as well as choose the best approach for your success. Short-term and Long-term goals will always have different timelines.
Short-term goals (STG): With a STG, going into it strong with more sacrifice and determination may very well payoff. Most people can confidently see “the light at the end of the tunnel” clearly with a STG, so our bodies and minds are able to compartmentalize our resources much better with this circumstance. In contrast, being too lax on your “sacrifice and commitment” may actually increase stress due to the approaching deadline of a STG, and if you are slower or less frequent in your effort, this may actually result in failing to meet your STG by the deadline, or not meeting the level of commitment you had hoped for. Some people may still be satisfied with their progress in this case, and some may beat themselves up for not reaching their full goal. Everyone is different… but remember that any effort is better than none, and you can always be proud of your successes along the way.
Regardless, if you enjoyed the experience and you’d like to continue after you reach the deadline of your STG, consider making it a regular part of your lifestyle by adding that new routine to your LTG’s with a frequency that feels comfortable for your regular habits.
Long-term goals (LTG): In contrast to the structure of STG’s, when you want to be successful with a LTG, beginning more slowly may bode better for lasting success. This is because the “light at the end of the tunnel” is harder to see, and you will need to keep up your motivation to maintain your commitment. The MTF structure above is a wonderful way to approach LTG’s because it is more likely that too much sacrificing along the way will actually sabotage your progress rather than support it. When you slowly integrate your LTG changes and build up a strong foundation of a new lifestyle, your motivations will be more supported as you celebrate your smaller successes earlier on the journey, and maintain them in an enjoyable and comfortable way long-term.
To help avoid wearing thin on your willpower with your LTG or STG, perhaps it will be most helpful to identify your own fine line between too much and too little; so you don’t burn out or fall short with your commitment. You can always pick up the pace when you close in on your goal deadlines, but you will likely need to have made decent progress up until that point to still reach your initial goal outcome successfully.
Having the correct timeline matched with your goal will allow you more regularly stick to it, as well as have a better feeling of balance when your goal is completed. The less you feel you have sacrificed along the way, the better you will be at avoiding the rebound of previously less-supportive habits.
5. Know what works for YOU and your routine versus someone else's.
Everyone always has suggestions on what you should do to make a change or explore improving yourself, but are their suggestions a better fit for them or you?
It’s important to plan for your natural flow and style of living rather than solely following the guidance of someone else’s success strategy and end up self-sabotaging in your goals.
For instance, with fitness routines, some people are really comfortable in a gym while others crave connection to nature and fresh air for their exercises. Flip those two individuals and environments and it will usually change the success outcomes for both people. Likewise, some people feel more motivated to read a new novel or do yoga if they join a group class environment versus others who may feel too shy to be in a group but will excel when doing these things in private and quiet home environment. The style & needs for each person can be very different when it comes to learning new information and adopting new patterns. Thus, it is important not to generalize what will work for one person versus the next. Find out what your style and need preferences are by try new activities and paying close attention to your level of comfort doing something that is part of your goal. If you can note the things that help you be more successful, this will give you a leg up on achieving your goals.
6. Plan for your discomfort and inconveniences so they don’t derail your progress.
Most people can easily tell you which things they struggle with. Do you typically run late? Are you irregular with your physical functioning tasks like drinking enough water, eating regular meals, or getting enough sleep? Or are you “a night owl” versus “an early bird”? Does “going against your natural flow” basically render you useless with certain times of the day or activities?
When you know what things cause you feelings of discomfort and inconvenience, you can actually avoid by planning for those things to happen, and working around your natural flow. This is really vital when planning for routines and especially when trying to improve healthy coping skills. For improving health habits, consider making a drawer in your fridge for healthy snacks on the go to be easy to grab on the way out the door in the morning. Likewise, try to prepare and pack your meals the night before so you can avoid stopping for food on the go during your daily tasks. If you know you do better going to the gym immediately after work, make sure to pack a gym bag with everything you need so you have no excuse to avoid it on the way home. Likewise, if you have more energy in the morning, take advantage of being an early riser and hit the gym on the way into work.
7. Switching to healthier substitutes often helps to assist transitions MORE than abruptly discharging a long-term unhealthy habit.
This is especially true for any sort of unhealthy coping habit; particularly any form of “mainstream” or “legal” addiction (like alcohol, tobacco, or even food). If you are quitting smoking cigarettes or drinking, avoidance of triggers is often a big concern. So, in the event that you need to separate a little bit from your usual friends and hangout locations who may still participate in these habits, try to use electronic communication over in-person contact; especially at the beginning of your journey. In addition to this, explore new venues and try to try meet new people who share similar values and lifestyle habits. This isn’t to say you have to stop being friends with your previous crowd, but this may naturally happen if they don’t respect that you are trying to get healthier and they refuse to meet you in the middle with alternative options for connecting.
8. Changing habits can change your life.
Changing up old patterns, switching up your scenery and routine, and creating "a new flow" in your life that feels pleasurable may just be the trick you have been missing. Change is only uncomfortable if you aren't ready to feel better with the issue at hand. So, start with something that may feel less threatening and see how that goes first. Some people may be ready to jump into a new shift head first, while others are terrified of things shifting. The reality is, life is constantly in motion, and it will never actually stop because that would mean we would not be living. Make a pact with yourself that welcomes in even little changes, or "growth opportunities", so that you stay in the motions and flow of "life" on the Earth. New things can be exciting to explore, and will feel more pleasurable if you consciously choose to explore them rather than let the world have its way with your experience by force. There is actually no power in choosing not to participate. Life is a stream of constant choices. Which things would you like to choose for your best feeling experience here...?
When you are choosing to improve yourself, small shifts can make a BIG difference in your energy levels, mood, mental clarity, and even sleeping patterns.
For example, if you want to eat healthier, a great first step may be to improve your awareness of what you are currently eating, and how that impacts your functioning. Do you sleep better or worse, feel more grumpy, bloated, or even foggy in your mind with certain foods? ...This may give you a reason to shift them. Instead, find the healthier exchanges ot the foods that you crave (i.e. organic versus processed), and compare the ingredients of them to have more awareness of what you are choosing fuel your body with. Understanding the details at stake, and making informed choices is SO important to choosing long-term health over a short-lived comfort. And this doesn't always mean you have to give up things you love completely- perhaps some modification is a good starting point. Like instead of frying something, have it grilled to improve the absorption of nutrients and avoid excess saturated fat intake.
Making smarter choices will likely help you to feel better longer, so challenge yourself and make compromises with long-standing patterns. At minimum, commit yourself to reducing unhealthy behaviors first with the goal of quitting by a certain date.
When it comes to anything we put into our body, it is important to be aware of how our bodies respond. I encourage you to take some mental notes along the way for an extended period of time, and see what your body is trying to teach you! ...It's smarter than we think it is!
When you have met your goal of a healthier life, these new changes will be much more comfortable and will feel like positive lifestyle shifts instead of sad moments of missing the familiar (but generally uncomfortable) old coping skills and habits.
Change can be as wonderful as we allow it to be. Remember to get creative (especially in the kitchen!), and make sure you have a support system that aligns with your new values. If you don’t have one yet… it’s out there! ...Just go looking for it!
At the end of the day, the most important thing for creating new resolutions and goals is that you enhance your awareness of yourself and your desires. Know what works for you and what doesn’t, and know that you DO have permission to explore what the world has to offer you; oftentimes, barely “rocking the boat” of your current life along the way.
2018 is the “Year of Authenticity and Awareness”. ...What will YOU Awaken within?!
Best of luck on your journey!