Rethink New Year Resolutions
We’re not even halfway through January and you’ve already thrown out your New Year resolutions? Or perhaps you gave up even trying to make goals for the start of a new year? Don’t lose hope!
Sometimes it’s easy to think resolutions never work. There have been some years where I gave myself whimsical goals with less pressure and still fell flat. I remember a time I resolved to “have more sex!” and wind up facing a mostly celibate year in a long-distance relationship.
Oftentimes we set ourselves up for failure and prefer instead to stay in familiarized comfort. People are free to live their lives as they see fit, but I can’t help feeling that a life without growth is a waste of limited time. Whether you’d like to improve your appearance, financial status, or even change careers, you must implement change in your life to do so. We believe it’s time to rethink new year resolutions.
Here are three ideas to help you rethink your attitude on New Year resolutions.
#1 Don’t Try Too Much Too Soon
After a whole three-month season of celebrating and decadent eating, it is common to want to “restart” in the New Year. I believe that is a significant reason why most people focus on health after the holidays. Yet people put too much pressure on themselves by trying too much too soon, or not breaking down large goals.
For example, for heavy drug users or alcoholics, tapering down their use before quitting completely often leads to more success than trying to quit “cold turkey.” In the case of marijuana users, the withdrawal symptoms are so severe that many give up and use again just to ease the symptoms. Each time they relapse, it negatively damages their self-esteem, and less likely to try again.
Thus, the vicious cycle of addiction continues.
Quitting smoking is no easy feat. Like any addictive foreign substance, the body has learned to adapt to its environment. After prolonged use, cells may have even begun to require it, or your body has stopped making the chemical it’s mimicking. Give your body 3-5 days to adjust to the cellular changes, increase your water intake, and soon you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Take an honest assessment of your long-term goals and compare them to your current state. Set realistic goals, and be positive in your language towards yourself. People often script wrong in Law of Attraction by saying “I will have” or “I have” but currently don’t have, and wonder why their manifestations never happen. Give yourself a comfortable timeline to have reached certain milestones in your goal, and even a small reward for each challenge. Journaling can be a great tool.
#2 Write Out a Plan
Break big goals down into steps, and spread them throughout the year. For example, all the goals I have for the Carrot Campaign can often feel overwhelming and stretch far past a calendar year. But I’m still going strong on this so far seven-year journey.
Start with your end goal, and write five major steps that will be needed to complete it. Reflect on those five steps, and break down plans to implement each smaller goal. Try breaking down large goals into 3 month intervals. Review your progress at the 6 month half-way point, and re-evaulate from there.
Remember the saying: “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan lead by action makes your dreams reality.”
#3 Don’t allow a slip-up to fall into the next day
It’s time to let go of the “all or nothing” approach. Error is to be human, but wavering to temptation shouldn’t make you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you break your diet, forgive yourself and continue on your path without making it a full blow cheat day. Smoke one cigerrette, but stop then and there. And if it was a really bad day, don’t let that guilt and “oh well!” mentality fall into the next day.
Oftentimes, people will post to social media their goals, thinking it will help with accountability, but I overall advise against it. Social media is already so altered and edited to make our lives seem picture perfect from the outside eye, that people will often lie or not include all the facts of what’s going on in their life. If you make a grandiose promise and broadcast it to the world and then fail, it usually causes more sense of shame and embarrassment. Walk in silence to the world at large, and share your goals with only a handful of trusted peers.
One slip-up will often make people completely derail. But hop back on the wagon before it gets ahead of you. Think of the next day as a new start, and remind yourself of the reasons you want to achieve these goals. Stay persistent! Writing them down in a journal, put up a list on your wall to help you stay focused. Reflect often to remember the big picture, and do not let small shortcomings discourage you from wanting to be better.
Oftentimes, we make or don’t make resolutions due to perfectionism or fear of success. But success is never found in your comfort zone. Instead of seeking absolutes in the new year traditional, think of the overall intention of the gesture. Whether you make a grand promise to yourself or just want to start with a little change, we should all be striving to find out better versions of ourselves. Isn’t that part of the human experience?