Were you one of the many people who made resolutions of change over the New Year period?
Are you keeping to them?
If so, well done! 😀
It’s an interesting phenomenon, this process of New Year resolutions. I’m not one for them. I believe that you are free to change your lifestyle and habits and adapt at any time of your life. Every day offers you a chance to change your life. However, I understand that the mass energy of the day, the significance of starting another year, the celebration, it’s all part of this ritual to change. You can do similar rituals with Spring day and new moons by the way, or even every dawn! 😛
We generally all want something better, improving ourselves and our lifestyle, and the changeover of the year reminds us of this. Some of the common resolutions that people make at the turn of every year include losing weight, working out, getting better jobs, better relationships, making better financial decisions, general life improvements. A month into the year, however, and statistics show that many folks have fallen off the wagon.
This new year, a good friend decided to give up smoking cigarettes. She made a little fire and, one by one, burnt her remaining cigarettes and the box they came in, putting in a little prayer for herself to help her with the task. She hasn’t so much as craved a cigarette since.
There’s meaning in ritual. Occult and religious significance aside, it signals to our brain the seriousness of this task. It’s not simply an arbitrary statement. We’re actually putting effort into making this change.
Most people make a list of what they want on a whim and don’t put anything in place to support this change, and then wonder why each year they’re working on the same resolutions.
Change doesn’t happen from simply making a statement about it. We are creatures of habit and, therefore, have to put some effort into adapting and creating new habits that support what we want. Making the decision to, for example, quit smoking is the first step. Having a goodbye ritual like my friend did is a good start to get your head around the idea and significance of this change, and if you’re spiritual, you understand that you will also be invoking the assistance of your unseen godly friends. In addition, put together an action plan, be mindful of what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to fall off the wagon. If you have one cigarette 2 weeks into the year, that doesn’t mean you need to automatically give up on your goal. Simply start again.
Every habit and skill in our life has a foundation that we built up. We notice the habits but often fail to recognise the foundation underneath. Smoking, to continue that example, could have started in a phase when you were seeking companionship and a group to fit in. The action of smoking became associated to this desire, and there’s a chance you’re still playing it out in your smoking habit. It could be something else, of course, and you will have to look deeper to find the hidden meanings for your particular negative habit.
Let’s look at creating positive habits, like making better financial decisions. Once again, you need to create the foundation that allows said habit to thrive. This can be done through taking courses on money management, reading more business books and autobiographies of people who have created great wealth for themselves, and start emulating and applying these practices, as well as adopting their mindsets.
Mindsets are important. You aren’t going to make good financial decisions if you’re still thinking from a poor mentality. And this is another big reason why so many people don’t realise their new year resolutions. They try to instill a new habit without changing the way they think. We are holistic beings and our mindsets and emotions are as vital to address as our physical actions.
In fact, our physical habits are powered by our underlying emotions which are a result of our perspective on the world.
The process to creating and adopting a new lifestyle starts with a mindset change. You need to know that you can be a better swimmer before you become a better swimmer. In other words, if you think you’ve hit your limit, you won’t try harder. You’ve probably heard the story of the 4-minute mile. Around 70 years ago, nobody had run a mile (roughly 1.6 kilometers) in under 4 minutes. Scientists of the time believed it was impossible. And then, in 1954, Roger Bannister did it. Two months later, another runner achieved an under-4-minute time. In the years to follow, more people achieved the same, running a mile in under a minute. Once it was proved possible, the mindset of the time changed. People now knew they could achieve it so they put in the work and did. Today, this time is the standard of all athletes.
When you choose changes for your life, make sure that they are achievable for you. And if they aren’t or you don’t truly believe that they are, your first step is to figure out how to make them possible. Changing your mindset may require meditation or getting the assistance of a life coach. This is all part of the action plan to achieving your goals.
Every action you make is motivated by the person you are. When we fail at changing our habits, it’s because we haven’t changed ourselves.
If you look over your life, you’ll notice that you’ve constantly changed. Who you are now is not who you were as a teen or who you may have been five years ago. Of course, the essence of you remains but you’re able to fit into different groups now compared to a younger version of yourself. You may have been a goth or hippie and now fit better into corporate suit wear, for example. Each persona you take on has different habits that come with. Start seeing your new lifestyle as the person you are or are becoming.
Relook at your resolutions and identify the person who would have those particular new habits. For example, instead of a goal to make more money, choose to become a more successful business person. Instead of a goal of making 350 new friends this year, perhaps choose to become a more outgoing and likeable person.
So, instead of trying to force new habits, be the person who has those habits.
Complete this statement: This year, I am….
And then take the steps to become that person.
Another key reason many people fail at their resolutions is they try to change too much all at once.
If you’ve been struggling up to now, relook at your list and determine your top priorities for this year. The rest can be trimmed off and fall into a general resolution list (that can perhaps be achieved over any period of time, not just a year). You may find that as you work on yourself, many of those other resolutions will fall into place automatically anyway.
I’m a big believer in keeping it simple. I’ve had “learn to swim” on my list of life goals and last year I finally got around to making it happen. The thing that helped me keep to a regime of swimming lessons twice a week was that it was easy. The lessons were a mere 5 minutes away from home. I didn’t make any foolish goals like swimming first thing in the morning when I know full well that getting out of bed is an achievement in itself for me. My coach was very friendly and relaxed. I felt challenged but not overwhelmed. There were minimal obstacles to achieving this goal.
And in the time that I was bettering my swimming, I also wasn’t pushing any other big goals at the same time. This kept the focus on one manageable task. My swimming skills improved dramatically in mere months.
Try this for yourself. Focus on one self-improvement at a time. And create a plan around it that keeps you focused and ensures that you achieve.
Every change happens in increments. Your mission is to be consistent with the goal you’ve set. If it is something that is important to you, you’ll make it happen.
If better health was your resolution, hire a trainer and a dietician who you can be accountable to. People who will not only advise you but also check up on you occasionally. Having somebody to be accountable to can help keep us in check. You could ask a good friend as well to check in on you every two weeks for a progress report. It doesn’t matter how you set up your routine, as long as it works for you.
No matter what, keep at it. As we begin making these changes, it’s not always possible to commit to your goals each and every day. That’s fine. Simply take the steps to keep consistent. Miss a day, get back into it tomorrow.
And recognise and celebrate your successes. Reward yourself as you hit certain milestones (like 3 weeks without a cigarette or at least 10 days at the gym this month). Rewards boost your dopamine levels and signals your brain that doing more of this habit will bring more good feels. It’s how your negative habits started too. There was some reward that made it worthwhile. Changing the reason for the reward helps you shift into a new way of living.
No matter where you are right now in achieving your new year resolutions is fine. Every day offers you the chance to change, to reset, to begin anew. Keep your focus on where you want to be and, even if you wander a little, you’ll get back on track, doing what you can today until, before you may even realise it, you’ve successfully become the better version of yourself, instilled the new habits, and changed your life.
The world is a playground, laden with opportunities to experience pretty much whatever we want to experience.
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