Every year we all sit down and make New Year’s Resolutions – but how many of us actually keep them? Furthermore, how many of us achieve our goals, and feel good about ourselves throughout the process? I have thought for a long time that “New Year’s Resolutions” are failures waiting to happen. Why? Because we use the momentum (and often the guilt) of the holidays to make our decisions on what we would like to change in our lives or about ourselves. It’s not realistic to set goals and expectations from a space that is already heightened. It simply isn’t.
So, this year, I’ve come up with a new approach to the New Year’s Resolution issue. Instead of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ how about New YOU Resolutions? If you think about it, it makes more sense. Why would you limit good changes to a year only? Why would you use the start of a new year to dictate and guide the changes you wish to make? It simply doesn’t make sense. So, here’s how it works:
To begin with, set aside some time for yourself this week. In other words, make a date with yourself. Do something fun: a movie, coffee, a good book – whatever will take you out of “holiday” mode and into “me” mode. Make that date, and keep it. It can be an hour or more, but give yourself a minimum of an hour. We’ll use the hour-long date as the example. In that hour, plan to spend 45 minutes relaxing or doing the enjoyable task you’ve chosen, setting aside 15 minutes at the end for the New YOU Resolutions. Now, what do you do in those 15 minutes?
To begin with – you always start with gratitude. Thank yourself for the lessons, experiences and growth you’ve done this year. Acknowledge the hard work and the changes you’ve already made from last year at this same time. Then reflect on the joyous times you’ve had, both as a result of these changes, and that occurred naturally. (It’s always good to make a point of remembering joy.) Once you’ve experienced gratitude and joy, it’s time to reflect on those things that would continue to bring you joy and gratitude in your life. This is why we focus on them first. It gives you an idea of where you’re coming from, and where you can use existing momentum to continue. This is key. Why? Because it’s coming from a space of positive affirmation, rather than negative criticism. It’s the difference between saying, “I’m fat, and want to lose weight,” and saying, “I don’t feel my best, and know I could feel better – I’d like to make healthier decisions.” Both may contain the goal of “losing weight,” but one is positive and the other is negative. The energy they carry is different.
And that’s the main difference between New Year’s Resolutions and New YOU Resolutions. The former is usually created from a space of shame, guilt or negative self-perception. Whereas the latter is created from self-love and a desire to be the best version of yourself you can be, with joy and gratitude.
So, once you’ve gotten a short (it must be short) list of where you’d like to go, i.e. the things that will continue to bring joy and gratitude into your life, you can then set reasonable goals to get there. An example is: I would like to be healthier, with the goal being: I will eat fruit in the morning when I first wake up. This will allow my body to feel better, have some instant fuel, and the fruit will be more easily digested, since it is eaten on an empty stomach. Plus, I’ll be getting vitamins and nutrients the old-fashioned way, not from a pill.
This is a simple change. I’ve done it myself, and I feel much better. More importantly, it’s a reasonable goal. It’s realistic, attainable and thoughtful. So, what New YOU Resolutions can you create this week?
p.s. Write them down; a goal always becomes more achievable when it’s given the attention of simply writing it down.