How many of us out there are used to making resolutions for the New Year? Knowing that they're made in good faith and determination, yet not having much of an action plan to carry those resolutions out?
Hence, why I don't believe in resolutions. I DO, however, believe in action plans and your beliefs in yourselves.
I made my case for this last year, but for all you new followers joining me (hello!) and for those who want a more concise version of last year's post while you're coming down from your sugar-highs over the holidays on the couch, this is now for everyone.
What's wrong with resolutions?
Nothing is wrong with a self-promise to better yourself. It's just the carryout of the plan and the perspective that tends to trip us up.
A New Year is NOT a magical reset button. It IS however, another opportunity to reroute and guide your life. Every day is.
We should remember that fresh seeds are always still planted in the same soil and earth that grew the old flowers. Our lives are very much like journals- we always add to it, turning pages, but we only truly get one journal in this life. We can't throw away the first journal and pretend it doesn't exist because we might have written some chapters that we don't love. We simply must turn the pages and focus on how we'd like to write the next chapter of our story.
Now here are my NON-resolution challenges to you:
1. Ask yourself: What are my PRIORITIES for this new year? Identify it.
Think about what you really want. What is most important to you?
Is it to finally start taking care of your body, get active, and eat more nourishing foods? Advance your career? Spend more time with loved ones? Manage stress more effectively?
Whatever your priorities are, identify them, putting them in order of importance to your life.
What you want, in the big scheme of things. Focus and hone in on it. WRITE IT OUT.
2. Ask yourself: Is my goal REALISTIC?
Own your reality. What I mean by this is that if you're working an insane job, live off fast food, and say you can only dedicate 3 days a week (aka 3 hours) to working out, setting the goal of losing 30 pounds in a few months or to run a marathon is unrealistic.
This is not to discourage reaching for your very best or lofty goals, but it is setting yourself up for disappointment and guilt- because you are not owning your reality.
WANT must match ACTION willing to be put in.
Just talking about fitness specifically, I will always hear about wanting Cristiano Ronaldo's abs, Pippa Middleton's arse (felt that the Brit lingo was appropriate), and Misty Copeland's legs. Then they say they want to work out 2-3 times a week. Reality check. In order to reduce your body composition (fat %) to the levels you're seeing on the majority of celebrities takes extreme dedication to nailing your nutrition and fitness. And a great deal of those times, it's pretty unrealistic to expect to quickly look like Misty Copeland while juggling a full-time job, 2 kids, and only 3 true hours a week to work out.
3. Ask yourself: What HABITS do I need to create to attain my goals?
Habits and resolutions are similar. But they differ in the framework of the mind when it comes to tackling them.
- A habit is a simple, small, realistically achievable action you implement or adopt into your routine everyday so gradually it doesn't take much effort to do at all, and it becomes second nature.
- Resolutions, on the other hand, tend to usually be some large and mildly daunting goal that you've probably made several years in a row. You start off strong in January killing it in the gym and eating all these trendy superfoods, then come February and you've crawled back into the jar of Nutella and your sneakers have become your puppy's chew toy.
Habits are done in progressions like anything else. Learn how to walk before you run.
Goal is to go from couch potato to being super active? Instead of going for a run or workout that's out of your fitness level that will render you so sore the next day you won't want to move for a week, take the stairs at work or walk an extra mile everyday. The consistent person who walks a mile everyday will absolutely come out on top of the person who goes for that one Crossfit session every two weeks. I promise. Then once that habit is set, move onto the next one to tackle.
4. Ask yourself: Am I stuck in the PAST?
We tend to get stuck on past events or patterns that we have trouble moving forward-- thinking that what has happened in the past dictates how things will happen in your future. So many times I have to remind my clients (and myself) that today and tomorrow have never happened yet.
This is especially true of fitness and health: Just because something "worked" for you in the past, doesn't mean it will work now and just because something didn't work in the past doesn't mean it can't now. Also, if it really worked, you wouldn't be having this problem and need to change things again, would you?
I've made this mistake so many times in the past where I believed that going back to old patterns that showed me a bit of the success I wanted would be the key to my success in that moment. Things may have improved slightly in the direction I wanted them to, but it never once stuck for good.
You have never been exactly this age, in this moment, in this condition before.
Don't set your mind against something before you even try it.
Remember, you are an ever learning, ever growing being.