As we come to the start of another new year my mind has turned to New Year’s Resolutions. Running a business in yoga and complementary therapy, it’s so easy for me to get drawn into the “New Year New You!” mentality. And it is a great time to start thinking about improving yourself and your life.
After all, I’m sure most of us have over-indulged in the Christmas period. I know I have – my Christmas started at the beginning of December! My normally healthy diet went by the wayside and my usual morning and evening routines disappeared. I won’t deny – I have enjoyed every delicious morsel, every little tipple and every social interaction that has come my way. But I also can’t deny that my energy and motivation have taken a nosedive.
So I got to thinking about all the improvements I want to make over the New Year (along with getting back into usual good habits!) And I started thinking about why resolutions fail so often and how we can make better resolutions that last for longer.
- Returning To Old, Good Habits
So I’m sure 2019 wasn’t a complete write off for everyone and I’m sure I’m not the only person who let something go in December! Perhaps the best place to start is returning to things that we know work, that we know make us feel good and that we know we can stick to because we’ve stuck to them before. Review your usual routines, diet, exercise and remember how good you felt when you did them.
- Never “Give Up”
It’s what everyone does when they’re taking on a lifestyle change isn’t it? Dry January is seen as “giving up” alcohol or Veganuary is “giving up” animal products. We go into all these things as if they are a punishment – no wonder we can’t wait until the month is over and we can revert to our old ways! We need to reframe that. Giving up unhealthy practices is not a punishment. Eating unhealthily and not exercising is an abuse of our poor bodies and now we are rewarding them!
- Language Is Important
So when you are wording any resolution do not say you are giving up anything. Pick more gratifying words – you are nourishing your body, you are nurturing your soul, you are indulging in self care. Choose your words carefully. They should excite and invigorate you, not make you feel tired, bored or even fearful.
- Resolve to Reward Yourself
A colleague of mine last year set herself a New Year’s resolution to treat herself to a spa day every month. And it’s the only time she has ever stuck to a resolution for a full year. What a fabulous idea! Choose something that is a real treat and something that you don’t currently do. Perhaps something you used to enjoy that you haven’t done for ages. Or maybe something you really enjoy that you never seem to have time for. Make time – making time for yourself is so important!
- Small Steps, One At A Time
If you feel a need to make lots of changes to your lifestyle it might be a bit much to take it all on in one go. On average it takes 66 days to form a new habit so maybe it’s better to just try one at a time. And why do we hold off adopting lifestyle changes until the New Year anyway? If you have a list of changes you’d like to make how about planning to stagger them over the next year.
- Write It Down
Now. Do it now. Get it down on paper. You’ll be amazed at what a difference this makes. Go back to point 3, get the language right and commit it to paper (paper is so much better than electronically!) If you have quite a few and you don’t want to take them all on in one go, make a plan. Scribble it down and pin it to the wall. Make it your desktop / screensaver image. Put it in your diary. Got a daily / weekly / monthly resolution? Set yourself reminders on your phone.
- See It And Feel It
When you’re writing it down, take a moment to imagine how amazing you will feel if you develop this new habit. Visualise yourself putting your new skill into practice or imagine how much healthier you feel. Draw or print out a picture that inspires you.
- Strength In Numbers
Some people are good at motivating themselves. A lot of people need someone else to help them along. But everyone needs accountability. And make sure you and your buddy are encouraging, not just berating when you have the occasional lapse! Remember, we are not punishing ourselves, we are nourishing ourselves!
- Have You Written It Down Yet?
And if so who are you going to share it with? Maybe you can share it in this post? Or if you need some help reframing it pop it in the comments and we’ll work on it together 😊
- Be Kind To Yourself!
You make your own rules and you should never feel like you’ve “failed” if you don’t stick to it 100%. Life happens and a day off or holiday from your lovely new habits won’t do you any harm. Remember, your resolution/s should be things you want to do. They should be inspiring, exciting, motivating. If your resolution makes you feel negative in any way, you’ve got the wrong resolution (or at least the wrong wording!)
I know that writing this has made me much more enthusiastic about making some positive lifestyle changes this year so hopefully it’s made you feel great about it too! Share your resolutions in the comments on the Facebook post, tag your friends so they can share too – remember we all need accountability!