How are you getting on with your New Year's resolutions? If you did decide to make some this year the chances are by now you're well on the way to giving up, if you haven't already done so. Why do you think that is, why do you think so many resolutions fail within the first month?
It's often the case that people make resolutions for half-baked or even unhelpful reasons. They may think they should use New Year as the opportunity to improve; after all, others are making resolutions, are wanting to lose weight, stop smoking, not drink as much so why not join in? Let's do it together and motivate each other.
Then let's not forget the suggestions that may have come from other people, the intention being that we'll improve through learning a new skill, make forward-looking plans, set exciting challenges to please/impress/satisfy family and friends!
Whilst these might be laudable enough reasons to consider there are four good questions to ask yourself before you decide on which resolutions or changes to introduce into your life. These questions can help you to decide if you really want and are sufficiently motivated enough to introduce those changes.
- Are you doing it for you? The best motivation comes from doing something which enthuses and energizes you, makes you feel determined to improve. When other people try to force, demand, guilt-trip a change it can cause resentment and even rebellion as a reaction to their insistence. Motivation is sustained when you feel and want to do something because it's right for you.
- Are you prepared to pace yourself? You might be planning to stop smoking or drinking as much alcohol, want to lose weight, change a bad habit. Some people may succeed in achieving their goal all in one go, but you may need time to cut down, make adjustments to your life, get used to the new regimen. Pace yourself and do it in the way that's best you.
- Are you good at giving yourself credit? Each success, each 'no' to a cigarette, drink or cream cake, each visit to the gym or time when you turn your phone off so that you can finish work a little earlier are all successes. Give yourself credit and savour the moment, the different mindset you introduced at that time. Say 'well done' to yourself and enjoy how good you feel.
- How you treat yourself if you fail? Don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up at times. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would another person, and simply determine to start again. There's no need to wait for the next New Year or even the next new day. Decide to start again immediately and get back on track.
It can sometimes be tempting to tell ourselves 'it's not worth it', 'it's too hard', 'I can't do it'. But using these four questions as guidelines we can gain insight into our true aspirations and introduce positive changes into our lives, changes for the better. Then we can start to do the things that have meaning for us, the things we want to do, that we're able to fully commit to, that suit us well.