I just can’t believe that I’m sitting down to write the January coffee and catch up post for 2015… it was like I blinked on new year’s eve and magically landed up here at the end of Jan! I’m sure that most of you are feeling the same way, especially for those of you who set out 30 or so days ago… full of hopes and dreams to make 2015 your best year yet. When we are focused on goals and aspirations coupled with getting back into our usual work schedules, school calendars and everyday lives we suddenly realise how difficult change is and sit wondering whether all the change we had in mind with our new year’s resolutions are sustainable.
To gain a better understanding of why we may or may not be sticking to our new year’s resolution we need to stop and think why we made them, and why at the beginning of the year do we expect them to stick?
In my experience we start thinking of resolutions we want to make toward the end of the year, when life is manic (so we resolve not to be manic) and also around a time when most of us are heading off for our December break. There is a logical break in our lives and we take the time to look back and assess how far we have come (we take time to reflect) and we make a conscious decision to change the things that dint work out well for us.
In other words we:
(a) stop in the midst of what we are doing
(b) reflect on what worked and what didn’t throughout a period of time and
(c)come up with a strategy to try and correct what isn’t working
This process is actually a great way to figure out which direction you want to take your life in regardless of the time of year.
Now that you are feeling a little more comfortable with why you chose January 1st to make a change in your life, you are (possibly) thinking that you want to persevere and implement some of those changes. But how can we persevere when we are just a month in and it all seems to be so difficult? For most of us we have already slipped up a few times and we are starting to feel the burden guilt in having failed already at just 31 days in!
Here are a few ideas on how to make New Year’s resolutions work for you (past January):
- Take it easy on yourself.
The best advice I received last year was to make one small change every day that moved you toward the goal you are seeking. Small steps make it easy to see progress and it gives you a chance to celebrate each step you take toward your goal. I’m probably the worlds slowest runner (it’s more jogging to be fair) but I take the burden from my competitive self by reminding myself that no matter how slow I’m going I’m still lapping everyone sitting on their couch!
- Make the time to get creative.
When we embark on the journey to change we often land up getting into a rut after a while because we have found a formula that works and we start to get bored. When we get bored our goals seem to stretch out before us down a long dark tunnel that never seems to end and we can get lost in the humdrum of it all. STOP, Get out of our comfort zone and do something different, get creative! Try and new batch of recipes, run a different direction to the way you always run, take the time book a course you have wanted to do for ages, just do something that nourishes your soul and keeps you learning and growing.
- Take time to rest.
By rest I don’t mean how much time you spend actually sleeping (although this article is an interesting read on that topic ). In the context of this post I mean how much time to do you spend each day unplugging from the grid and doing something that relaxes you. It could be lying on the couch with a cup of tea and your pooch just switching off mentally and letting your mind drift. It could be taking yourself out to your favourite coffee hang out and watching the world go by for 20minutes. Whatever your choice to unwind I find I consciously need to make this time each day for myself to stop and breathe… it works wonders!
- Enlist some support.
Find a friend, join a group, enlist a family member, a personal trainer, a coach or someone that you trust to work on your goals with you. Chat about what you expect, how you are experiencing progress (or lack thereof) and share your experiences with someone else… it’s liberating! I often find comfort in the fact that I’m not going it alone and almost always the issues I struggle with: are not unique to me and there is a wealth of information out there to assist me along the way in overcoming my hurdles.
One of my resolutions (I call them goals) this year is to quit alcohol for 365 days starting January 5th. This wasn’t a decision that I came to without much thought and internal debate, it’s a goal I fiercely fought with myself over since October last year. But I feel that this year it’s time. It may be that at the end of the 365 days I descend into a vat of champagne never to be seen again, it may be that at the end of this journey I figure out a way to “drink in moderation”, it may be that I decided I feel so amazing that I never want to touch a drop again so long as I live. Whatever the outcome of my little self-experiment I’m sharing my journey with you (see I’m implementing the last point in this post on how to make resolutions work for you (wink-wink-nudge-nudge)). In fact this month’s edition of the Lose It! Magazine proposed a challenge for February be an alcohol-free zone (I swear these people read my mind) so if you are keen to try out sobriety for a short spell and join me in the “fight against the bottle” then jump on the bandwagon and join in!