New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain
I love Mark Twain’s humor in this quote above. Unfortunately, it is a sad but true representation of many of us who have set New Year’s resolutions with all intention of carrying them out, only to fail within the first 2 weeks.
The problem is not necessarily with setting resolutions. I think to plan out what you want to achieve is a worthy action. There are several secrets though, to actually setting resolutions that you CAN keep and actually see come to fruition.
3 steps to help you keep your New Year resolutions
1. Your resolution needs to be something YOU want to do or achieve, not what someone else wants for you. If you say you are going to lose weight because your spouse wants you to lose weight, it will be difficult to keep that resolution.
Get very specific with your resolutions. Decide exactly what it is that you want to change in your life. Is it REALLY that you want to lose weight? Or do you want to have more energy, be healthier, avoid Type 2 diabetes and heart disease that runs in your family?
Another important thing to think about is the WHY behind your resolution. This is very similar to the point above, but it goes deeper within. Do you want to feel more confident? Do you want to be able to sit in an airplane seat without being self-conscious? Would you like to be able to shop in the regular clothing department in the store? Do you want to be able to play on the floor with grandkids?
2. A resolution does not magically happen because you declare it. Making a resolution is only the beginning. You must then set up your environment and your actions needed to help you keep your resolution.
Personally, my husband and I have set a resolution to eat healthier and cleaner this year. We have some health issues we would like to address, along with weight, the first being my husband’s sleep apnea. We have reason to believe, due to his experience with our previous juice fast, that his sleep apnea may not be so much connected with his weight as it is with possibly a food allergy or sensitivity. I also have a severe sugar addiction that I would like to be free from.
To eat healthier and cleaner, we had to plan ahead. We had to clean out our pantry, our fridge. We had to come up with a food elimination plan to test our theory for his sleep apnea. We had to write a menu plan and grocery list, then shop. We cleared out our kitchen of unnecessary things to make it easier to juice and to chop fresh fruits and vegetables.
Was all this easy? No, but it wasn’t going to just happen. We couldn’t just say “We need to eat better” and then proceed with our life as usual. Preparation makes it much more likely for you to succeed, for ANY resolution.
3. Your resolution needs to be something you can control. You actually cannot control if you can lose 10 pounds by January 30. What you can control are the behaviors that should lead to that weight loss goal.
Narrow down to the things you do have control over. What actions do you need to take to lose those 10 pounds? Cut out soda? Exercise after work 5 days a week? No processed or fried foods? State your resolution in terms that you can control.
Maybe you want to have a clean, clutter-free house. The problem is there are 5 other people plus 2 dogs living there too. What CAN you control? You can set plans to declutter certain areas of your house each week. You can teach your children to do their fair share. You can set up a system to clean your house more efficiently and effectively. These are each steps that you CAN take. If you just try to clean, clean clean without a plan of action, you will likely get angry, frustrated and give up.
Think about the goals and resolutions you may have set for this year already. Or maybe you haven’t set any because you were afraid you would fail, so why bother? How can you reframe them into something you CAN keep? Something you CAN accomplish?
The great thing? Once you succeed at one thing, it becomes much easier to tackle others!