I lovelovelove New Year! It’s probably my favourite time of the year – the sensation of a new chapter opening. An entirely unsullied virgin canvas. The delicious thought that we can consign our regrets and disappointments to history and turn the page embracing a shiny brand spanking new 12 months to start over. As a personal development junkie, I love the annual ritual of a nation swept up in a tide of self-improvement, the contagious aroma of change in the air.
So, how are those New Year’s resolutions going? It’s the 4th January today – so plenty of time for them to be underway already (Yay! Go you!)…or…maybe to have already fallen by the wayside…
If you have already fallen off the wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself. Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh. Every Day. Any day. Like today.
“Go to the gym every day for at least 90 minutes” is a classic example. It doesn’t allow for any “life happens” slack and so if we miss one day, we instantly feel like a failure and fall off the horse quickly. It’s far better to get on the Yes Train and have a much lower bar where you are stringing Yeses together day after day…something like “I will move my body in some way, every day, for 20 minutes”. Then playing footie with the kids counts (tick!). The beach walk after lunch counts (tick!). And the days where life is all unfolding according to plan you are far more likely to make the extended gym session bolstered and encouraged by your string of yeses… “yes, I am a person who exercises daily! I’m off to the gym….again!”
Like we have to solve every crappy thing in our lives, all at once, all on January 1st!
Now, it is a powerful day for sure, but it’s just a day. Too many resolutions at once can be incredibly overwhelming. And again very easy to diminish motivation because we might have eaten well, BUT we didn’t have screen-free time or whatever we have also resolved, and so a yes can be cancelled out with a no – and with it, our momentum and enthusiasm for change.
Far better to start with a reduced (one is fine!) number of resolutions and Make It Happen. With a smaller number not only is our focus greater but again it’s far easier to keep ourselves positive and on track with a chain of yeses. We can get that new habit established and integrated, and then introduce another new resolution in say three months time. The temptation to solve all the ills of the whole of 2016 in one go in January 2017 is almost guaranteed to derail the best of intentions.
Want to make resolutions that last in 2017? Make less. Lower the bar. And get super clear on your “why I want to” before you get stuck into the how to do it (more on that next week). Own in full why you want what you want, and how it will feel when you get it
Will this year be different? Make it so. You can start again today. It’s a brand new day.