The new year; oh what bliss it brings about with it. It makes you feel like the world is yours to have and yours alone. Heck, it makes me feel like I’m going to be number one on the Forbes List. The excitement and the hope that the new year instils in many of us is unmatched. Hence the famous ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ – or should I say infamous?
Year after year, many of us pull out our pens and paper, computers or smartphones – or all of the above – and jot down the changes that we would like to see happen in our lives. For example, we write that we would like to lose weight – and I’m using this Resolution as an example because it is said to be one of the most common of them all – amongst other Resolutions. What then happens is that we stick it out…for a while. After some time when the holiday spirit is over, the thrill of the new year has faded and we have fully gone back to our busy lives, many of us forget all about the Resolutions that we swore we would stick to. It starts with one cheat day or one excuse followed by another, followed by a string of them. Before we know it, we have subconsciously ditched the plan and fallen back to our old, non-serving habits.
New Year’s Resolutions have been around since before your great, great, great, great grandmother was born. It is believed that the ancient Babylonians are the pioneers of setting up New Year’s Resolutions. For them, this was a religious festival! New Year’s Resolutions are a good thing. They make us observe the negative aspects of our lives that we would like to change. They make us want to be better versions of ourselves and this is great because progress is great. If this is the case; why do we keep straying away from our Resolutions? Did you know that a startling 80% of us who set out to change our lives through our New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to fail? This information can put a damper on things right!
Why We Keep Failing To Keep Up With Our New Year’s Resolutions
There are many reasons why we just cannot seem to keep up with our Resolutions. To try and gain a better understanding as to why we keep trying to put our best foot forward but find ourselves taking a step backward instead, I went around and asked some people for their reasons for not keeping up with their New Year’s Resolutions. I am pretty sure that you will be able to relate with some, if not all of them.
I WANT MY RESULTS AND I WANT THEM NOW!
To put things into context, let me make use of the ‘lose weight’ resolution as an example. So, you have decided that you are going to lose weight as part of your New Year’s Resolutions. As a result, you start jogging, hitting the gym and eating healthy – all in the same day. You worked up quite a sweat and because all of this effort, you find yourself checking your waist and love handles to see if you can spot any changes.
The next day you go through the same struggles and the disappointment starts to creep in because you are sweaty from all the working out, not to mention hungry from the diet you don’t really understand, and yet you see no results. You get frustrated and convince yourself that it is okay to console yourself with a burger. Time passes by and many burgers later, you have forgotten all about why you wanted to lose weight in the first place. You have thus fallen back to those habits that do not build you at all. Does this sound familiar? I bet it does but do not beat yourself up over it – I have a feeling you have done that plenty of times!
Most of us are very impatient with ourselves, our goals and our dreams. We want our results and we want them, like, yesterday already! Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way. Some goals take time and they require patience.
REMEMBER: The starting line is NOT the finish line. You need to keep going. Every day that you work on achieving your goals, you take one step forward. When you feel like you are falling back into your old ways or that you are pushing your resolutions to the back of the line, read them again (because you wrote them down) and try to remind yourself why you wrote them down in the first place; you want to be the next-level you.
INCONSISTENCY, MY MIDDLE NAME!
Is inconsistency a condition? If not, it should officially be listed as one and we should be provided with a diagnosis to curb this monster. I am so inconsistent that I am surprised I don’t have whiplash by now. I know many people can relate. Sometimes you wake up one morning and you tell yourself that you are ‘all in.’ If you are a writer, you write more than you have ever written before. If you are on a mission to lose weight, you do hours and hours of cardio. If you wanted to get better grades, you start studying for that test that’s two months away – or whatever your case may be. You go all in and this makes you feel like a superhero so, you tell yourself that you are going to keep the same energy everyday for the rest of your life.
How great would that be for you if it were actually true. Come day 2 or 5 and you have slowed your pace or stopped altogether. Some time goes by and you scold yourself for not being consistent. So, you try to recall that drive that you had before and it turns out to be great. You feel awesome because you are again working towards achieving whatever it is you want to achieve. You tell yourself that this time you are going to be consistent. However, a day or five passes by and you have done it again! A couple of months later, you find yourself repeating the same, emotionally exhausting cycle. Well, hello Inconsistency; it is not a pleasure to meet you!
REMEMBER: You need to remind yourself why you started in the first place. Visualize where you want to see yourself. Inconsistency delays the process, and it delays your vision.
IT’S NOT THAT EASY!
So, you wrote down your goals – with a series of butterflies in your stomach. How easy. Now comes the part where you actually have to do the work to reach these goals or resolutions. How easy, NOT! Some of us allow the difficulties that we face in our missions to completely discourage us, and what do we do when we feel discouraged? We QUIT!
TELL YOURSELF: “Not this time.” This time you are going to stick through it all because your resolutions are important…duh. You need to tell and remind yourself over and over again that no matter how hard the road may get, you can and will make it. Why? Because you can. You need to start acknowledging the strength that you possess and you need to run with it. So what if it’s not easy? Life is not easy and no one promised you an easy life.
I’M TOO HARD ON MYSELF!
Let’s have a real talk: how many self-inflicted emotional bruises do you have? Often, without realising it, we tend to hurt ourselves by convincing ourselves that we are not good enough, or strong enough, or intelligent enough to achieve anything. We load ourselves with unnecessary pressures which in turn stresses us out and we ultimately give up on ourselves without giving ourselves a chance.
REMEMBER: Learn which pace works best for you and roll with it. Just because Thando, Britney, Simon or whoever it may be, lost weight within two months doesn’t mean you only have two months too. People are different. One thing that is certain is that if you keep going, you will make it. No matter what your Resolutions are, take it easy on yourself and go at your own pace.
I HAVE A RIGID APPROACH TO MY RESOLUTIONS!
Here is the deal: life is flexible so, you too should be flexible. You can’t be flexible and leave your goals in their state of rigidity. Save them
SO: If you feel like you need to adjust the time frame that you have given yourself to get to where you want to be, then do so. Give yourself enough room to make your Resolutions come to life. This, however, does not mean that you should purposely delay your plans. Life is flexible so you should be flexible and so should your Resolutions.
I DON’T HAVE CLEAR EXECUTION PLANS!
So you have your Resolutions, but what steps are you going to take to achieve them? Most of us tell ourselves that we will just go with the flow. But, what if the so-called ‘flow’ leads you into the mouth of a crocodile?
RATHER: Have a plan that is going to get you from point A to point B. If that plan does not work out, that is okay. Adjust it and try again – this goes back to flexibility. Write down your action plan but be careful not to be passive about it. It is called an ‘action’ plan for a reason. This means that you have to ‘actively’ work with that plan.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE AWAY FROM ALL OF THIS?
- The starting line is NOT the finishing line.
- Inconsistency delays the process, and it delays your vision.
- It’s okay to pause for a short breath before proceeding.
- Take it easy on yourself.
- Flexibility is bliss.
- Map out your execution plan (s) and adjust it when you need to.
Welcome to your Lifestyle Resolutions! I applaud you, in advance for sticking them through. Should you feel stuck or need some encouragement, I am here for you. Slide into my DMs and vent! Let me know about your progress. Let me know what’s keeping you from making your Resolutions into more than just wishes.
PS: YOU GOT THIS!