The New Year brings hope and promise for a chance to start fresh with a new beginning. This is the time that goals are eagerly written down, with the hope that they will be accomplished. We all know those Resolutions, the same ones written last New Year's Day. Usually by the end of January, you are on course to accomplishing these goals or have taken a completely opposite direction and thinking "I can wait another 11 months and then, try again." It is important Not To Give Up, no matter what day of the year it is! To successfully tackle those Resolutions, it may be as simple as beginning again with a Different Approach.
It's a simple concept but one that is often difficult to implement. It requires thinking in a new way. There is a quote by Albert Einstein that one can embrace when faced with an obstacle, "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." There are many different New Year resolutions that we all choose, with the majority of them focused around exercising, eating healthy or living a more balanced lifestyle. The reason why we choose these same New Year Resolutions over and over is because we keep failing at keeping them. If we succeed in accomplishing our New Year Resolutions the first time they are created, then we can open the door to the opportunity to accomplish an entirely different set of goals, the following year!
Instead of trying to tackle several difficult life changing goals, all at once, focus on ONE. Allow yourself some wiggle room to eat dessert once a week if you complete all your workouts or yet, don't beat yourself up for missing one workout and think negative thoughts such as, "there is no way I can keep this up." As soon as those negative thoughts enter your mind, you are giving yourself permission to not try because you don't think you will succeed. Or maybe illness has invaded your home and you have been sidetracked with the flu or being the caretaker for your sick kids. The energy to even look at the New Year Resolutions list has completely, utterly gone out the window. Again, your thinking turns to the difficulty of turning on the motivation switch in your brain and you throw in the workout towel without an ounce of hard earned sweat on it. Negative thoughts bring negative results. Ultimately you will fall off the New Year Resolutions wagon.
As a long distance runner, I break my races up by miles. If I'm at the start line and start thinking about running an entire 26.2 mile race in one time span then I become filled with the anxiety goblins who fill my mind with self doubt. I have had to train myself to reach small incremental goals when I'm running a long distance race. In my mind, I congratulate myself with each mileage goal achieved, such as Mile 6, Mile 10, Mile 15, Mile 18 (you get the idea)...giving myself the confidence to keep moving forward until I cross the finish line. This same approach can be used to tackle that revolving list of the same New Year Resolutions that come back each year to haunt you.
Instead of picturing how much weight you want to lose, focus on what you want to lose EACH WEEK and not the entire amount of desired weight loss, in five months. If you want to change your eating habits, start with ONE MEAL a day and give up ONE food item for 2 to 3 weeks, then start the process all over again until your diet is the way you had envisioned it but never thought possible. If you want to get more sleep at night, at first, start going to bed early 2 times a week, then gradually build up to more nights of desired REM sleep. Soon you will find that you are getting the 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night that your body had been craving.
If you try to break down your New Year Resolutions, you are most likely to succeed with this different approach, instead of tackling them all at once or waiting for that perfect moment to try and change your life. The famous Chinese philosopher, Confucious, said "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” It is important to take the necessary steps to achieve success and to not let go of the long term goal. Once you begin to achieve your Resolutions, celebrate with those around you and let your support system continue to nuture you! When you feel a sense of accomplishment it will give you the confidence to keep moving forward with a positive mindset and attitude, which is crucial when wanting to achieve New Year Resolutions, any time of the year!