Set aside any self-loathing for a moment and let’s assess what might have gone wrong over the past month. Here are 3 main reasons why our resolutions might fall to shit, according to science.
The end of January has come for us, and since someone needs to ask you this question around now, let it be us: How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?
If this question prompts even a hint of a sinking feeling, take a pause. Know that it’s never too late to get back on track or to start off in a new direction entirely. It can all start here and now. Set aside any self-loathing for a moment and let’s assess what might have gone wrong over the past month. Here are 3 main reasons why our resolutions might fall to shit, according to science:
- We don’t choose small actions. So, we might resolve to ‘be more active’ when really, it would be more helpful to break a big goal like that down into small specific actions, like, jog 3 times a week, or find a yoga buddy to help keep us accountable in going to class regularly.
- We don’t attach the new action to a previous habit. For example, if you already go for a walk 3 times a week, start by adding intervals of running into that walk. Or, if you have an out-of-hand snacking habit, start by replacing some of your go-tos with healthier options. Evolve a habit, rather than try and ‘start’ a brand new one.
- We don’t make it easy for ourselves. We need to practice the new habit from the existing stimulus around 3 to 7 times before it’ll ‘stick’ on it’s own. To make it (for example, a healthy choice), become a conditioned response, we just need to make it a no-brainer. Things like: laying out our workout clothes the night before, doing meal prep on Sundays, etc.
Putting new habits in place is a matter of just doing these things (which are simple – not easy), and you can, absolutely, do them. And when you do, you will see results. If you’re reading this and you’re like, OK, well, I didn’t really do all that, then try again, and this time break your big goal down into small actions, attach them onto existing habits, and make it easy af for yourself. And see how the next month plays out.
If you’re reading this and you’re like I DID ALL THAT and I STILL SUCKED, then ask yourself this: Do I really, actually, want what I said I wanted? Is your resolution compelling enough to actually drive you? Does it feel, in your heart of hearts, tasty and exciting and just scary enough? Does it feel right? If the answer is, deep down, no, then release it. Set your sights instead on something that feels authentic and compelling. Something that will actually make you happy to have / embody.
If the answer is yes, you do in fact want what you said you wanted, but you’ve fallen off the bandwagon and it drove off, leaving you in the dust, then ask yourself THIS: What is the story I’m telling myself around this goal? Here’s the thing: All of us has a story driving our actions, about who we are, deep down, at the very end of the day, and we are likely to play out that narrative in our lives, at any given time, over any other desire or idea. Our story is a powerful driving force. So is yours limiting you, or supporting you?
If there is a small, even slightly bad-feeling belief in your mind that you’re not ready to have X, or not really deserving of X, or incapable of doing X, then start there. When it comes to achieving big goals, we need to see our frustration, lack, or self-doubt and then be willing to call in the support of our full faith and self-love in order to actually make the right positive changes in our lives.
We might never fully ditch the shitty parts of our story – and doing that is not the point, but it’s that, the faith we have in ourselves just needs to be greater. Working on giving yourself all the reasons in the world to believe in yourself, from the inside out, will start a shift in the right direction. One that sticks.
So pay attention to how you talk to yourself about your goal, and how you talk to others about it. Choose ways of thinking and speaking that make you feel good to do. This will not steer you wrong. We’re supporting you in making 2019 your best year yet. Keep yourself accountable, and don’t lose sight of your end-game.