Why New Year's Resolutions Are Good to Make
New Year New You!
I Thought New Year's Resolutions Fail and Don't Work
I was always a non-believer in New Year's resolutions. I found them to lack authenticity, commitment, and purpose. I used to joke about the idea of setting resolutions and intentions, but I'm starting to realize that I've been wrong this whole time. This is the year my perspective changed.
We've all heard of the various New Year's resolutions people make. The most predictable and popular ones are:
- Dieting or eating healthy
- Weight loss
- Quitting smoking
- Getting out of debt
- Quitting drinking
- Saving money
- Finding love
- Changing jobs
- Enjoying life more
Now, instead of sitting here and saying why New Year's resolutions fail, I'm going to talk about how, in fact, you can finally be ready this time to embrace the change. You have to be ready to give up your old identity, and welcome the new.
Yes, I've been a non-believer in resolutions. I always thought, "I can start a diet whenever I want" or "I can quit drinking and detox today!" I've done it, here and there, but I never wanted the change to be permanent. So, here's what I realized. It can work for you too.
1. Want the Change
You have to really analyze your inner voice here. If you find yourself saying, "Oh, I wish I were 15 pounds skinnier, then I'd really feel good about myself" or "Geez, I should have 5,000 dollars saved up. I really wouldn't worry as much when a surprise bill comes my way," or "Ugh, I hate hangovers. I don't want to drink ever again . . . " you're simply fantasizing but not making your fantasy a reality!
What it takes is wanting the change and not wishing for the change, "shoulding" yourself, or exclaiming likes and dislikes. Instead of thinking, "Oh, I wish I were 15 pounds skinnier," I'm straight-up thinking, "Ok, I'm ready to lose the weight." Instead of thinking, "I should have 5,000 dollars saved up," I'm thinking "I'm going to write out a plan on my calendar and save up 5,000 dollars in emergency funds by next year." Instead of saying, "Ugh, I hate hangovers," I'm saying, "I'm giving myself a two-drink limit anytime I go out" or better yet, "I'm going to take a break from drinking until my next birthday and see how I feel." You need to want the change.
2. Say Goodbye to the Old You
The beauty of the new year is that most everyone is hoping for a good coming year. We are all wishing for the best and dreaming of the best in the year to come. You have the energy of the universe around you, working in your favor. You have a fresh start! In order to make your resolutions work, you need to be ready to say goodbye to the old you, and that means kicking your crappy habits to the curb.
For instance, I've been tired of neglecting my health and putting other things first. I've been putting work first, cleaning first, caring for others first, saying "yes" too many times and not enough "no's" first. For a long time now, I've been "over it." Over what? My current self. I'm tired of being tired, so I've decided that this coming year is the year of change and the year of self-care.
You have to be tired of the old—out with the old, in with the new you!
3. Create Structure—Set Yourself Up to Succeed
Saying goodbye to the old me also has to do with setting the new me up to succeed. You can do this by getting real and making a plan. For me, this looks like creating a regular and consistent:
- Work schedule: Prioritize the morning hours.
- Exercise schedule: Tangible—enjoyable, accessible, cheap, motivating.
- Food prep method and nutrition plan: Planning out cheap, healthy, nutritious meals for the week; allowing a fun/free day on the weekend to eat more freely—often tied to socializing.
- Sleep schedule: Make a rule about electronics; phone on airplane mode when in the bedroom.
- Self-care approach: Say "no" more and "yes" reservedly.
- Detox plan: Quit drinking until my next birthday and feel it out then. Cut coffee and switch to matcha entirely.
- Relaxation plan: Allocate 15 minutes every morning for a yoga self-practice; allow for a 10-minute meditation in the evenings before bed.
- Reduction plan: Embrace minimalism and say goodbye to belongings I no longer need in order to simplify my life.
- Savings plan: Save $__ every month during the months I can afford to for a year-end goal.
Your list can look much different from mine, clearly. You need to adjust it to YOUR needs and wants. I have been puzzling over these items for months now. I was tired of feeling unhealthy at my age, tired of feeling mentally stressed and scattered, tired of eating food I felt wasn't nutritionally beneficial for me but did so out of convenience, and tired of social drinking for the sake of being social.
You need to want to be so tired of your old ways that you help your new self succeed. I recommend taking time to really ruminate over what you are ready to let go of. When you have come to terms with it, start making a plan.
4. Prepare to Face Your Demons
Yes—we know that when you start your new healthcare kick you're going to wake up one morning when it's cold out and want to lay in bed, wake up and drink that coffee you swore off, and eat that donut at work. But remember that sad you who looked in the mirror and thought "Did I let myself go?" or "Wow, I spent so much money on coffee last year" or "This doughnut is actually stale and not even that good . . . I'll eat it anyway"? Don't be your sad self again. Remember: You are done with this way of thinking!
The doughnut will always be there, the coffee will always be begging you with its yummy smell, the mirror will always be there for you to criticize yourself in, but this is not what you want! Be prepared to face your demons.
Your demons are going to haunt you. They are going to want you to make that impulse buy, want that third drink, want to sit on your phone and look at social media instead of sleeping at a good hour. You need to be ready to deal with them. You need to be prepared to tell them no this time.
So, practice visualizing the future healthy you. Get the future you on your team and keep that vision each time your demons come knocking. Do it for YOU.
5. Visualize Your Victory and Manifest
Some of the greatest achievers in human history did what they've set out to do because they've simply believed in themselves. They set a goal in their mind and never once let their self think otherwise. Manifest your destiny.
Envision the you in 6 months. How much more relaxing would that vacation be if you finally treated your body right by eating well and exercising? How would it feel to not be stressed out about a surprise bill? To not have high cholesterol? How would it feel to have that Sunday night to yourself, to take a bath, and simply relax once and for all instead of saying yes to everyone? You can do it. The only one holding you back has been you until now. You call the shots.
Video: The Power of "No"
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© 2018 Layne Holmes