I hope that you all had some time off or at the least had some time to slow down and take care of yourself. It is the first week of the new year and chances are, whether you like them or not, you are thinking about resolutions. Even if you are not interested in having one, I wonder if it is on your mind because let’s face it that’s what the talk is all about this time of year. Let me tell you my feelings about new year’s resolutions.
How many of you have ever had a new year’s resolution? Now, how many of you have actually kept them? Before you go on feeling bad about yourself, let me share that only 8% of people keep their NY resolutions. That means 92% do not! SO if you do fall into that category, you are not alone!
As much as I dislike the notion of new year’s resolutions, I do love new things like new running shoes and spiral journals and new toothbrushes 🙂
And I do love the energy of a fresh start.
So how can we capitalize on that energy without falling into the trap of new year’s resolutions? How can we set our intentions for what we want for ourselves without the inevitable burn out?
Fortunately there are lessons we have learned in science of habit change that could help.
Tip 1- Start small. I know, I know, you are excited, fresh slate and all and you want to do everything- floss nightly, meditate, exercise and lose 10 pounds. You are not alone. But when you try and do too much at once you are setting yourself up for failure.
Besides, remind yourself that small steps, when done consistently, amount to big change. 2 pounds per week= 8 pounds per month = 24 pounds in 3 months.
Not too bad is it?
Tip 2: Don’t strive for perfection. You don’t have to be perfect to be effective.
Say that out loud with me:
You don’t have to be perfect to be effective.
In fact, the opposite is true. When we strive for perfection we strive for an unattainable goal and as a result set ourselves up for failure.
Common scenario, we are perfect all week. Eating right, working out, getting in our 8 hours of sleep, then…slip up on a Friday by eating too much, drinking too much, whatever…then say to ourselves, “well, I screwed up anyway, soooo…” and it’s all downhill from there.
What if you did not view it as a screw up because you indulged in that one meal, slept through that one workout or missed a night of flossing? It is not so much the slip up that matters, it is the moment after. What do you do the moment after? Which leads us to…
Tip 3- Be Kind to yourself. Now this one is tough, we like to get on our own case. Even if we don’t like it, its our habit. It is our habit to badger ourselves, to talk down to ourselves or to try and motivate ourselves thru shame or bullying. Brene Brown says, “you can’t shame your way into change” and I want to add, you cannot bully yourself into change either. Being kind to yourself is not just the nice thing to do, it is the effective thing to do. Consider the example we started- the one in which you skipped a night of flossing, or overindulged that one meal or slept thru the workout. Once again, if you take it in stride you will be much more likely to resume but if you catastrophize it, which is our tendency as humans, speak badly to yourself, tell yourself you ruined it, yada yada yada, well you know the drill, you’re gonna quit.
Trust me, be kind to yourself, it is much nicer and much more effective.
Last tip, and maybe this should have been the first,
Dare to imagine your potential.
Here’s to an excellent week and see you next time.
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