Happy New Year!
Yup, I know, we’re three weeks in. However, my eight to five is in the wonderful world of accounting and I’ve spent the last three weeks closing out the books on 2017. I offer that as an explanation for my absence over those few weeks. While everyone else is all “New year, new me” I’m chasing W-9s and issuing W-2s. Glamourous, I know.
So, raise your hand if you’re still keeping up with your new year’s resolutions. Remember those? I put an end to Sugarfest 2017 as my resolution. I gave up sugar and caffeine, which were my two main sources of energy in 2017. You can read my last post to see how much fun that started out as (insert sarcasm font). But now that I’m over the hump, I’m actually feeling much better.
So let’s talk a little bit about why most resolutions have failed, even this early into the year.
- That goal was not yours. We get so many messages, whether from loved ones or the media, about how we should look and behave. Then we internalize those messages until we feel guilty for not living up to them. At some point, we get tired of the guilt and resolve to change. I’ll give you a personal example. As a Life Coach, I follow other Life Coaches on Instagram for the community aspect. There is a common thread among us aside from our chosen profession. Let’s just say we all have “hippie tendencies.” Last year, I set as my resolution to #YogaEveryDamnDay. I signed up for a 21-Day Yoga Challenge which I completed four days of. I signed up for Wanderlust, a four day yoga retreat where I participated in two yoga classes. Here is where I will share with you my favorite Elizabeth Gilbert quote, “I will never be a size 2 vegan and I’m ok with that.” Now, am I disappointed that I failed at keeping my new year’s resolution? NO! The 21 day challenge made me fall in love with that particular instructor and I was thrilled to participate in one of her classes at Wanderlust. The other class I took was a yin yoga class and I learned that yin is my jam. I still do the stretches I learned there, just not EveryDamnDay. Also at Wanderlust, I listened to a talk on authentic social media that was crazy eye opening and I’ve committed to practice the honesty I learned there, which is how I was able to accept the fact that my new year’s goals were not mine. I am not a size two, yogi, vegan and I’m ok with that. This year my resolution is to cut out processed sugar, caffeine and carbs. This is 100% my goal because I know those things make me miserable and keep me from being my best self. That’s what will provide the motivation to stick with it. I’m doing this for me, not to “fit in” with my community.
- The pain of change was too great. Newton’s first law of motion tells us that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Honey, we are no different. The only times humans change is when the pain of staying still gets worse than the pain of moving forward. You have to be 100% done with being broke and having collectors call before you’ll reign it in and stick to that budget. I had to be 100% done with feeling sick and tired before I’d change my eating habits. It’s just human nature. But one day, the switch will flick. Dave Ramsey says, “you need to get wired up and fired up.” It’s rare that this sense of urgency, which is a necessary catalyst to change, just magically appears around the first of the year. Helpful hint: when it does appear, act on it immediately and fuel it. Don’t wait for midnight on December 31st!
- Your goal was unrealistic. In our discussion of SMART goals in another post, I pointed out that goals have to attainable. In 2014, I set out to lose 35 pounds. I gave myself the entire year and it took about seven months. If I tried to do it in 6 weeks, I would’ve been frustrated at the 3 week mark when I hadn’t lost 17 pounds. Frustrated people tend to give up. People who give up, rarely achieve their goals. Set realistic goals and give yourself some grace. Oh and learn the difference between grace and giving up. We celebrate birthdays monthly where I work. My grace is that I allow myself a taste of the cake. I don’t eat a whole piece, just a little sliver so I get to participate in the festivities. I enjoy it, then move on. Decide what grace looks like to you. We were not meant to live a life of deprivation, so don’t make that your goal.
I’d like to close by reminding you that it’s ALWAYS a good time to examine where you are and set some new goals. New Year’s Resolutions are a fun tradition but don’t beat yourself up if you’ve missed that boat. You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve, Monday, a full moon, anything. Just jump in where you are to make a better life.