Should I be setting a New Year’s Resolution?
We all know that one friend who says “ I don’t bother to set New Year’s Resolutions, they don’t work anyway”
Or perhaps that is you?
You have had that happen, where a shiny New Year has rolled around, and you have decided that this is the year for you. No more being last in your life, it’s time to get your body and mind healthy.
So you write a list of everything you are no longer allowing in your life.
And the list goes on.
You are determined for this year to be different.
And then you go back to work, the pressure of every day normal life mounts up, it gets harder to get up early for that morning walk, and the mind keeps telling you that “you aren’t going to stick to it anyway, so why keep bothering?” “You know that you are going to fail” You believe the thoughts swirling around in your head, constantly berating you and putting you down.
At the start of it you can just push them away, but it’s only a matter of time until the thoughts win and you declare “NO more New Year’s Resolutions, they don’t work!!!”
You whisper “it doesn’t matter anyway” as that lump gets stuck in your throat, it’s like you always knew it was a long shot that you would stick it out any way.
So what exactly is a resolution? It’s you deciding that something needs to change in your life. You are acknowledging that you want your days to be different, either through how it looks or feels. This self-awareness is to be celebrated and thanked, because without this our lives would stay stagnant.
So why don’t so many New Year’s Resolutions work? It is because of how they are executed. New Year’s Resolutions are traditionally based on something that needs to be fixed about someone, it’s like we are trying to correct a fault of ourselves, something that we don’t like and at its core they are based on the belief that are aren’t good enough.
“But I hear you ask, what if that negative thought is actually helpful? What if telling myself, ‘I’m fat’ actually prompts me to lose some weight? Well if a negative thought actually does motivate you, then by all means make use of it. But almost always, self-critical thoughts of this nature do not motivate you to take effective action. Usually such thoughts, if taken literally, just make you feel guilty, ashamed, depressed, frustrated or anxious. … Thoughts that criticise you, insult you, judge you, put you down or blame you are likely to lower your motivation rather than increase it” The Happiness Trap, Dr Russ Harris
Our underlying thoughts, beliefs and intentions when we set resolutions or goals, matter.
So do you set a goal instead? Goals are also about bringing change into your life and at their core can be subject to the same pitfalls as resolutions. So what I wanted to do was share some tips with you about setting goals. These can be used at any time of the year, because goals and resolutions don’t have to only be done when the calendar year changes, it is always within your power to bring about change to your life.
- The words you use matters
Far too many goals are set based on depriving ourselves and listing what we don’t want. The words we use matters, once we write we can’t do or have something our minds focus on it. Instead what we can do is word our goals based on what we want.
- Be specific
Once you have worked out what you want your goal to be, break it down into small daily actions so you know what it actually looks like. This helps make the goal achievable and it a step to improving our self-belief as we constantly making progress (and helps the counteract that negative mind chatter)
- Check in with your expectations
We don’t realise how long it actually takes to do some things. When you are looking at your goal make sure that the time it is going to take will match with the time you have available, because if something is actually going to take you 8 weeks to complete and you set the goal to complete it in 2 weeks, this is adding unnecessary pressure.
- Connect with how you want to feel
Connecting with the feeling you are wanting when setting is goals is life changing. Society teaches us that goals are about the tangible end result, and when we merge that with how we want to feel as well it helps in keeping the goal with us long term. So when goal setting ask yourself how do I want to feel by doing this?
- Goals will challenge your self-belief
Every time that you do something that is outside your norm, and want to bring change into your life our self-belief will be challenged and the mind may go into overdrive with negative thoughts. The more that we are aware of this it helps us to build resilience and move through the ebbs and flow.
- Your people matter
Having people who believe in you, will make a difference to reaching your goals or not. All you need is one person who knows how amazing you are and it will make a difference.