After the first few weeks of January, where the newness of the year starts to wear off, those resolutions that you made a few weeks prior tend to get pushed aside in the hustle of real life. Motivation start to wane. Old habits and behaviours creep (or leap) back into daily routine. Those goals that had you so hyped up have been whittled down or disintegrated into tinier versions of what they once were. Compromise and negotiation run rife.
This struggle most people have to keep their word to themselves is pretty common. In fact, up to 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
This year it might be time to do something a little differently. This year is the time to implement certain strategies and mindsets to support you in making those resolutions that you create with the best of intentions stick around a while – maybe even until next December 31 rolls around. 2019 is the year to avoid resolution failure.
Find Your Why
Arguably the most important way to avoid resolution failure is to get crystal clear about the reason you are making this particular resolution to begin with! You might assume that making a New Year’s Resolution would be synonymous with understanding why it matters to you, but can you truly answer the question:
Why does this matter to YOU?
Why did you want to lose that excess weight?
Perhaps it is because you want to feel better in your own body…
Why did you want to begin with, recommit to or stick to your Paleo diet?
Is it because you are tired of feeling foggy, bloated, sluggish, and dealing with skin issues?
Why did you want to get moving in a different way, lift weights or join an exercise class?
Are you looking to get out of your comfort zone and try a new exercise routine or see what you body is capable of?
Do your best not to cite reasons that boil down to fear. Those could include statements like
Because I hate my body, my [insert body part here] is/are disgusting
Because if I do not do this I am a terrible [insert identity here] or Because I am afraid of judgement
Because [insert other person here] said it would be for my own good
People assume that negative motivators and things that are really painful, will help them follow through on their resolutions because humans innately avoid pain and seek pleasure.
The most motivated people are those who are aligned with a purpose that is outside of their physical body. The reward/punishment approach is rather poor at producing long term motivation and lasting results.
Sit with yourself and get down to the root of your goal. Once you have reflected and done this with your resolution write it down. Don’t type it. Don’t text it. Don’t simply think about it. Write it down, on a piece of paper, in your own handwriting. Seeing your words in your own handwriting is incredibly powerful.
Place that piece of paper where you will see it regularly. You can even take a picture of your handwritten note and make it your phone lock/home screen.
Process Beats Result
Goals and resolutions are important but how you set them is even more important that the goal itself.
When setting a goal, losing a specific amount of weight, that last 10 lbs, as an example, the goal is the outcome, the result. You inevitably expect that reaching this goal will be fast and linear (the scale only ever going down). Logically you know that this is not the case.
Inevitably the scale weight fails to go down at the rate you have deemed decent or, even worse, it stalls or climbs, your self-worth is shattered, you feel defeated and you begin a process of self-degradation, punishment, guilt or other less-than-beneficial behaviours
Avoid resolution failure by swapping the result for your process - what you commit to doing on a regular basis to get yourself there. This could be as simple as putting eating some vegetables, getting to bed at a decent time most days of the week, or putting on your sneakers and going for a walk (even if it’s cold). It could be planning your meals or ordering Paleo meals to have ready so take out is no longer an option. The result will not get you your desired outcome, but your commitment to the process will.
Change is not something that needs to be accomplished alone. Sharing your resolutions with others and holding each other accountable is a wonderful tool for those times you succeed as well as those inevitable times when motivation wanes or you feel challenged. It takes off some of the pressure of always having to come through for yourself and also prevents you from letting yourself off the hook.
Whilst you are still the one that has to do the actual work, resolutions become more attainable when you know someone has your back and is going to help you see these goals through.
If your resolution is to exercise a certain number of times a times a week, you could ask your resolution partner to check in with you on those days. When you feel that motivation lacking, call them up and have them talk you through it. Be sure to do the same for them.
If you do not already have that person or have them in mind, seek them out now! It is never too late and it will make a huge difference when avoiding resolution failure in the months to come.
Our New Year New You bundles are great to support your Paleo eating intentions – prepared for you and delivered to your door, no apron required!
Let Go Of Perfection
Consistency is way better and so much more effective than perfection! Humans are perfectly imperfect. Letting go of having to stick to your resolutions perfectly makes them more real, more achievable and more attainable.
Avoid falling into the trap of overanalyzing everything that you are putting in your mouth, doing or not doing to your body. Although you do live life through each minute of each day, stepping back and viewing the big picture can be helpful too. You avoid resolution failure by choosing to move on if you happen to make a decision not perfectly aligned with that specific goal. The strongest, most flexible, resilient people are able to vacillate between living in the moment and recognizing that one moment is just that.
Perhaps your resolution is to adopt or recommit to your Paleo lifestyle, but, perhaps, your birthday is a few weeks away and your friend (not your accountability partner) is an amazing baker and has made a special Paleo-ish cake just for you. The act itself is meaningful and you are truly touched
…but you made the resolution….
Perhaps you decide to enjoy a small piece of that cake and instead of falling into that cycle of shame and failure that does you little to no good, make a different choice.
Have that small piece of that cake. Enjoy it, savor it, cherish the moment. Your friend made it because of the love and appreciation they feel for you! Celebrate that and then hop right back on your Paleo plan for your next meal. And the meal after. Keep moving forward with your resolution.
When you look at the big picture, you give yourself space to deviate a little or to make mistakes. It takes the pressure off making perfect decisions each and every time and helps you realize that this is not a short-term approach. What you do over the long run matters most.
Set An Intention
A thoughtfully chosen word or theme to live into this year can help you avoid resolution failure. This is way less rigid than a resolution and tends to be far more positive and hopeful because it sets an intention.
There are no rules when it comes to choosing your word or theme – think of those phrases that resonate within you or guide you through making tough choices. Unlike resolutions, an intention is not all-or-nothing, as resolutions tend to be. They are not tests that you pass or fail.
Many of the New Year’s Resolutions most people make are rather useless and probably fail to last longer than the first few weeks of the year. When choosing to set your yearly goals and intentions take the time to reflect on why you want them and how you plan on living through as opposed to suffering through to finally achieve the intended outcome. This will allow you to craft better goals and make more useful and achievable commitments to yourself.
Here’s to a great 2019!