A New Year is approaching and although you are probably still in the throes of holiday celebrations you may have been thinking of committing to a New Year Resolution.
What is it going to be?
- Exercising more,
- Losing weight,
- Getting organized,
- Eating healthier,
- Drinking less,
- Quitting a habit like smoking, or spending too much money?
Or do you want to do more of…
- Spending time with loved ones?
Whatever you decide to do, or not do in 2022, you will be taking the action because you think that you will feel better emotionally and potentially, physically. To you it is an improvement in you and your life. Right?
Now let’s fast forward to the end of January. Do you think that you’ll still be successful at sticking to your resolution?
Here are some of the top reasons why people don’t stick with it and what to do about them.
1. You don’t believe that you can do it.
If that little voice in your head says “Yeah, right”, when you think about your ambitions for the New Year, it can stop you dead before you even begin.
What to do:
Made the decision that you will be successful. Action follows thought, so keep those thoughts positive and motivating. Whenever the doubts and self-criticisms and memories of failed attempts creep in, shift into the oppositive of what they are. Turn doubt into confidence and reinforce it with thoughts of a time that you did succeed. A self-criticism of “I can’t do it” can be converted to “I can do it” and reinforced with the memory of a time that you did overcome a setback. Here’s the formula: Negative Thought to Positive Thought to Evidence to support the positive. Get in the habit of doing this and you can be successful at anything. (Also, be sure to read #6 below for more help with this.)
2. There isn’t enough time.
Many of us are stretched for the time to do what we already have on our plates. To fit in learning how to cook healthier meals, time at the gym, more personal time or organizing the clutter in your home can be daunting.
What to do:
Take things in small increments and extend your timeline out for the entire year if need be. If you have an elephant sized project, then take the baby steps needed to just begin. Decide how many times per week you will take action. Maybe one the first week, two the next, or once a month, twice the next and so on. Make the tasks manageable and enjoyable for you.
Make a list of the steps required and approximate time frames in which you would like to get them done. But most of all, be flexible and have it okay if not everything gets done on your timeline or if you need to take a different approach than what you originally started with. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
3. You don’t enjoy the process.
There is nothing more powerful to stop us dead in our tracks than the inability to enjoy what we are doing. The resistance to the task boils up inside of us and we sabotage any efforts to do what we know we “should”. We avoid it and always have something more important to do. We feel tired and lethargic and just “don’t feel” like doing it. There are a kajillion avoidance tactics that we’ve perfected from childhood. Unfortunately, they stand in the way of what we really want for ourselves when it comes to New Year Resolutions.
What to do:
When we are met with resistance, we try to overcome “doing the task” with willpower which in itself takes energy away from us, and creates stress and overwhelm. It is an inner battle that we often lose. This is where flexibility and motivation can help. If you don’t like the diet you are on, then switch to a different one. Don’t like the exercise program, then try something different that isn’t so much like “exercise”. Whatever the process, if it is not working for you, then change it up and find a way to do it that motivates you and that you enjoy. Make it adapt to you with the condition that it still helps you achieve your goals. And, if you “fall off the wagon” occasionally, then recognize that it happened and decide to start anew. Remember the formula: Negative Thought to Positive Thought to Evidence to support the positive. (Read #6 below for more information on overcoming resistance.)
4. Keeping track.
Measure your progress by keeping track of what you have accomplished. Seeing your progress will help to motivate you to continue what you are doing or ramp up your efforts.
What to do:
Whether you prefer a journal, spreadsheet notes on your phone or bulletin/white board, find a way to keep track of your progress. What is your starting weight, then track what you lose when – but don’t get upset with any setbacks! How much personal time have you enjoyed during the week, the month? Write it down and what you did and with whom you did it. What vacation plans have you been able to make? How many healthy meals did you eat during the month? Is it more than last month? If so, then you made progress! How many less drinks or cigarettes did you smoke in a day/week/month? If keeping track the way the program you have chosen isn’t working for you then create a system that does.
5. Buddy up
If you feel like you are alone in your resolution quest, the isolation and feeling like everything is up to you can make the task seem bigger and daunting. When we are up against these kinds of obstacles, we are more prone to give up because we don’t have a support system to give us encouragement.
What to do:
Find a buddy who shares similar goals and methods to yours. Accountability can then go both ways. Is there a neighbor, friend or co-worker that you can pair up with? Make plans to do things relating to your goals together. Share your feelings, recipes, workout plans, successes, and failures. Another way is to find an online group where you can post questions, give feedback and share. You may be able to connect with someone from the group to be your buddy for a closer, more personal relationship. Look for local clubs that have activities that can help you reach your goals. If losing weight is your goal but you hate to exercise, then maybe a hiking, biking or volleyball club would give you the activity and the social interaction that would benefit you. Do online searches for other ideas of finding a buddy for your particular goals.
6. Stay calm
Stress is a top factor in our failure to follow through with resolutions. Why? Because we are emotional beings.
The obstacles to your success are usually related to stress and overwhelm because you have to learn something new and don’t know how. It’s difficult or takes too much time. You may not be doing it for yourself but for someone else – or it’s expected of you. The list is endless. A belief that if you force yourself to carry on through sheer willpower, you will be successful, surfaces. The emotions that crop up are anger, sadness, fear, exasperation, frustration, guilt, shame, feelings of unworthiness, it’s too hard, and you convince yourself that you just can’t do it – so you quit.
What to do:
- Understand your why. Why are you doing this? What benefit is it going to give you? Do you feel like you deserve to have this outcome? If you don’t feel like you deserve it, that is a huge obstacle to begin with. Ask why don’t you deserve it. Get to the roots and understand the real reasons for your why. Use your why to replace the willpower with motivation.
- When the emotions do surface, they can sabotage your success. To fix that, uncovering the roots, what in your past is controlling your present, is critical. The experiences that shape us from childhood have tremendous power over us in the form of beliefs that affect our self-confidence and create warped perceptions of ourselves, others and the world around us. Where did they start and how can they be changed?
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) also known as Tapping is a top alternative therapy that can help you identify these earlier times and neutralize the emotions around them. This allows you to look at the experiences differently and literally change your mind about them. When you change your mind, you change your beliefs, which changes how you feel about yourself and what happened that may have caused you emotional or physical pain. Thereafter, you no longer react the old way to things that used to trigger you to react with fear, anger and other stressful responses. When stress is reduced, you no longer need willpower because the past no longer holds you hostage.
What you get is a feeling of freedom, expansion lightness, relief, optimism, enthusiasm, empowerment and so much more. You can move forward with certainty and confidence that your goals are achievable and can take the next step in your path to success.
Addressing the emotional aspect of New Year Resolutions is seldom spoken about in the thousands of programs offered, but should be the first step in any personal or professional goal. If you would like to exponentially increase the potential of reaching your resolution goals, then schedule a free, phone consultation at www.huntforhopewellness.com/contact.
To your success!