A NEW YEAR offers you a fresh start to get it right, right? Yet despite your best efforts there’s a good chance your resolutions could do more harm than good! Here’s the real reason we make them and break them, and what to try instead.
Many people wish to whittle the waistline, spend less, drink less or travel more. The trouble is too many changes at once can be overwhelming, leaving you paralysed with indecision and killing your progress overnight. Rather than treat your resolutions as a bucket list, choose one or two items as short-term intentions, and focus on completing those.
Trust the process
Nearly every conversation about resolutions is focused on some type of outcome, not the process or ‘journey’. But here’s the wake up call. New goals don’t deliver new results, creating better habits do – a process that needs to be practiced daily. So why set broad goals, like losing 10 kilos, without thinking about the daily actions you need to take to get there, such as swap biscuits for fruit.
Resolutions tend to work on the conventional model of identifying a problem, wanting to “solve” the problem, then creating an action plan to do so. So far so good, but here’s the hitch. “If there are no real consequences to the problem continuing, then for most of us, we will not create an action plan that is specific or rigorous enough to solve the problem” says Vedic meditation teacher, Kimberly Chan. On the other hand, if we set intentions of feeling better in our clothing, and living with more energy and vitality each day, these are more likely to translate into a habit of making healthier food choices or smaller portions at mealtimes. These intentions feel more attainable and realistic, than simply losing weight.
All or nothing approach
If you slip up and have too many wines with dinner, do you think you may as well have might dessert? This all or nothing thinking may be the way to occasionally let yourself off the hook, however for some, quitting something just because it’s not going to plan is a self-sabotaging outlook that can send even the best of intentions into a tailspin.
“To bounce back from a setback or to take positive steps forward in our lives one needs to desire an outcome more than they fear the journey towards the outcome. This isn’t easy for most as our brains are hardwired toward a negative bias” says Bella Zanesco, author of Smart Girls Screw Up Too.
Knowing how to rewire your brain is key. “It’s a bit like getting into physical shape but getting your brain into shape at the same time, both feed off each other. When you nurture healthier thoughts about yourself overtime it will change what you believe, the way you think, act and then a new set of habits will emerge making it much more effortless to create sustainable change in your life” adds Zanesco.
What are your NY resolutions – and what’s your plan to make them stick?