New Year’s is swiftly upon us and that means resolutions will be in tow.
You know the story. You make a resolution to cut sugar from your diet (while sipping champaign at your best friend’s New Year’s party…because everyone else there is making the same resolution and you’re NOT going to be left out!). And…you stick to said sugar-free resolution for precisely 3.7 weeks. Your workload is overwhelming, your kids are driving you nuts cooped up inside for the winter, and you simply can’t take it anymore. So you break down and eat a whole box of Oreos. That makes sense right? You are consumed by guilt and vow to never set another resolution as long as you shall live. They never work for you anyway.
Yet here you are. Contemplating your upcoming resolutions for the New Year…again. After all, there’s no way you can make any healthy eating promises now, it’s the holidays. It’s better to wait for January 1st and start the year off fresh and right. This year is ruined anyway.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
You need what we in the coaching world call a pattern interrupt.
Something that stops your scroll. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t keep repeating the same cycle of setting, and promptly breaking, those resolutions?
The thing about resolutions is that they:
- Are usually not well thought out, made on a whim and out of desperation or frustration.
- Are based on dreams and visions that may not really be your own (hello diet culture and thin ideals).
- And they usually set you up for failure because you overestimate what you can achieve in the short term.
So what if this time you did things differently?
What if this time you thought very clearly through what it is you want for 2021? And what if you thought about how what you want matches up with your values? What if you were able to be realistic with yourself?
You can do just that in three simple resolution pattern-interrupt steps.
Take your time
Resolutions are typically set to start on January 1st. But what if you don’t feel ready to start then? Or what if you’re ready to move forward right now?
The most important piece of setting and starting out on the path of a new goal is being prepared. Knowing what result you’re looking for, what actions will get you there, and how often/much you have to work those actions to achieve your goal in the time frame you desire.
It takes preparation to know all that. It takes doing some research and it takes planning. Don’t skip this. Skipping this dooms your goals/resolutions to failure.
Resolutions always work best and find the most success when done on YOUR schedule. So if you find yourself prepared and ready to set and start a new goal, then start it. Don’t worry about what day it is or what anyone else is doing.
Assess Your Values
Resolutions also work best when they are in alignment with YOU. You have to know what you value and stand for to know if any given resolution stands a chance at success. How many times have you set a resolution because your best friend set the same one? Or because you felt like it “was the thing to do”? Most weight loss/cut the sugar/exercise resolutions start this way. And most of those fail because you didn’t do a values check.
What do I mean by a values check? I mean asking yourself if the resolution you plan to set lines up with the things you hold most dear.
To do this requires, obviously, that you know your values. You can download my values assessment to help you with this.
Then take your resolution and ask yourself these three questions…
- What does achieving this resolution require me to do?
- Do the actions necessary to achieve this resolution move me closer to or farther away from the things I value most?
- Do the actions necessary to achieve this resolution inspire me or sound fun/engaging/like something I even want to do?
Your answers to those questions should give you ample clues as to whether or not the resolution you are considering is one you should move forward with.
Reality can be a tough nut to swallow sometimes. I wonder how many resolutions have been set in motion at fancy New Year’s parties or out of desperation as the year comes to an end and goals have not yet been achieved, weights are not down to where they were desired to be, money has not yet been made to levels sought, etc.
Those settings are not reality. You’re not in your thinking mind when you set resolutions in those situations. In those settings, you’re under the influence of either chemicals (tipping a little bubbly) or frustration and other emotions. Not a desirable place to be for setting resolutions with high probabilities of success.
And just like it’s okay to enjoy eating your food, it’s okay for you to enjoy setting goals that are meaningful and realistic to YOU and you alone.
Instead, plan in resolution and goal setting.
Set aside purposeful time for it. Using the steps listed above, you’ll want to be sure to set aside adequate time for this too. This is what reality looks like for resolutions and goals. Sorry if it’s not glamorous and trendy or fun. But it is real. And real is where your results will be too.
You can make it a little more fun however if you enlist the help of a friend or someone who knows you well. This can add a layer of confidence that the goals and resolutions you set have a high success possibility. Much like enlisting a partner in crime in setting boundaries, this approach can give you the benefit of power in numbers.
So while I know it will be tempting to push the repeat button on your resolutions from the last ten years, try to do something different this year. Take the time necessary to honor your resolutions and yourself. Do the work needed to figure out what you want. Kick diet culture to the curb and squash those thin ideals as you check that your resolution is YOURS and not for someone else. And ground yourself and your resolutions in YOUR reality.
Don’t allow frustration to be your guide or inspiration. Maybe this year you DON’T:
- Set unrealistic weight loss goals and instead, you set a goal to notice how food makes you feel.
- Set unrealistic exercise goals and instead set a goal to try new activities until you find something you enjoy doing.
- Maybe this year you resolve to change how you make your resolutions?