We don’t have resolutions in my house. Each New Year’s we take a look our life and see how it fits with us and what we should improve. You see, for the most part, new years resolutions are things you think you should be doing, they’re not always things you are really determined to do. If they were, you might have begun them before a new year. How then, do we change who we are?
There has been a lot of talk on this. If you want more science on why they don’t work, check here. Read on for my simplified version.
Resolutions: A Slippery Slope to Further Behind
When you start a resolution, you often do great for the first two weeks, sometimes even the first two months. Yet, more often than not, the resolution you make is gone half way thought the year and you could be even further behind by the end of the year than you were before.
Take weight for example (I will use weight for this entire post to make things simple). You might decide to get healthy, loose weight, and eat right. It might go well for the first two weeks, maybe even a month. However, quite a few people will end up worse off than they were at the end of the previous year. Why?
You’re not ready, your just thinking.
A good amount of the resolutions that come around are things we think we should be doing, like stopping smoking and drinking or working out and eating right. Just because you know you should do something, doesn’t mean you want to yet.
So, that begs the question, how do you make sure that you stick to your goals?
Lifestyle Changing not Resolutions!
If you are really ready to make a change, it’s time to change your lifestyle not make a resolution to do so. If you want to lose weight, you must eat better, workout, change your habits, and “mean it” on top of it. It’s hard to do. When I wanted to get more tone, I had to work harder, cut out more snacks and sugar, and change how I worked and sat around all day. If I can do it, so can you!
Less “Just do it” more “Are your ready?”
Before you begin coming up with things to do to change your life, think about what you really want and how much you want it. Mindfulness, if you read these posts often, you knew it was coming.
Think about what you REALLY want your life to look like. Decide if you are ready for that change (no is a totally okay answer) If you are, decide how much you are willing to work for it, spend for it, and change for it. Be mindful that things won’t change overnight and that you will mess up and have to start over. With your mind in the right place, it’s time to plan.
Steps to Changing Your life.
So, you’re really ready for change. Begin by thinking about the end.
For example, I want to be a healthy and tone person. My end goal is a healthy body and mind, a tone body. When I began this quest, I had to write down all the things that I needed to change about myself to get there. I decided that I needed to eat better, workout more, take breaks from work more often, and do what makes me a happier person (find hobbies, a job I love, ect.) I wrote all this down to help me think, then I thought about how to start and how to implement each thing.
Here’s a step by step guide for you.
- Look at your future: think about how you want to look and who you want to be. Really think, write down a vision of your future, but don’t give it a date of completion, just write your idea.
- Make bullets of everything that needs to change to get there: Think about what you need to change about yourself, your environment, and your friends. Sometimes the hardest part of a lifestyle change is leaving friends that aren’t good for you. For example, if you want to get in shape, you might need to find a friend group that prioritizes active activities like soccer over sedentary activities like movies.
- Look at the list and pick the hardest and the easiest: Do the easiest right this second, that’s one step to your goal. Plan the hardest out and begin tomorrow. For example, if you want to be healthy, throw away (or donate) all sodas in the house and plan on how you will get your workouts in.
- Plan: Once you have your challenge, it’s time to plan. This might be when you decide to get a gym membership and a personal trainer, go to therapy, or create simple weekly meal plan to eat right. It’s something that will take perseverance and dedication. It will take help and encouragement and it’s okay to mess up.
- Find support: I believe in the power of people. I think that when it comes to lifestyle changes, finding someone further along is a great idea. Finding new friends and new groups might be a good thing too, especially if your friends aren’t quite ready to make the change themselves. This can be done by joining groups on meetup, finding and talking to people where your new lifestyle makes you frequent, or just asking your trainer or therapist for ideas.
- Don’t give up: It takes 21 days to form a habit and that’s just something as simple as flossing. It will take much longer to get changing your life right. You will make mistakes, you will have off days, and you will need to try again. You got this!
A resolution might be as simple as saying you want to be healthy and go to the gym, but a lifestyle change will require more work and will end with better results. Find what works for you, find friends, and find people that can help.