Why Your New Year’s Resolution is Probably Delusional

Here’s how you can change that…
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Here’s how you can change that…

So, 2015 has arrived, and with it the promise of a new, hotter, organised, more productive and awesome version of you has made it into the forefront of your brain. We all start off starry eyed and ready for change, but so often (actually about 80% of the time), we sink back into complacency only a few weeks in.

Okay, Manchester, optimism is a noble trait, but really? Let’s think about this—a twenty percent success rate? Maybe, it’s time to pick another strategy.

Resolutions are great, but only in so far as they provide awareness of what changes we actually want to make. Deciding what you want to have for dinner does not result, in and of itself, in a full belly at the end of the night. You know this— you have to find a recipe, go to the store, buy the ingredients, cook the meal, and last but not least, actually eat it. If at any point along the way you lose focus—you’re gonna end up hungry.

Making a resolution, without a plan to achieve it, is kind of like saying “hey! I’m going to find a new shiny way to make me feel bad about myself come, February!” and that’s just counterproductive.

So, what can we do to transform our resolutions from pipe dreams to viable action paths?

Look at the why

Staying motivated is difficult, especially if you haven’t given much thought to why you want to do what you’re doing. What is it about your resolution that makes it something you think is worth accomplishing? Reminding yourself of the purpose behind your actions will help keep you going when the going gets tough.

Focus on the journey, not simply to the destination

This is important for a couple reasons. Firstly, as Winston Churchil put it, “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.” For example, it’s wonderful that you’ve decided that you want to lose weight, but how? It’s pretty tough to do and even harder to get started if you haven’t established a process of how to get there.

Secondly, you’re less likely to be miserable in pursuit of your resolution. If you hyper focus on the end result as a point off in the future, you’re less likely to achieve it. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, maybe instead try to eat fruits and vegetables or salads instead of KFC for lunch. Weight loss will likely happen in the process of replacing fast food with whole foods, but it will eliminate the sense of postponing fulfilment to the end of the journey and help you stay content in the moment.

Think about your habits

Ok. So, you want to be more organised? Start by looking at the habits you have that lead to everything rapidly descending into chaotic stacks of papers on your desk, piles of clothes in your room and missed appointments. Through awareness comes change.

By examining your habits, you will be able to determine the little things you can do on a daily basis that can make your life so much easier. You will also be able to find out the triggers that can derail you from your goal and prepare yourself to recognise and deal with them as they come up (cause they will).

Last but not least, be nice to yourself. If you find yourself wandering off the path to a new more awesome you, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until January 1st 2016 to try again. Change is a process and we aren’t perfect. When you have a slip up, acknowledge, think about why and gently bring yourself back on track.

Come on Manchester! This is your year!

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