Why Your New Year's Resolution Won't Stick
Have you ever jumped into the latest fad diet with everything you’ve got, hoping to achieve your ideal body, unbridled happiness, and your dream life on the other side? Sounds a bit unrealistic, doesn’t it? You probably know deep down that these diets capitalize on the desire for a quick fix and the illusion that external forces will bring happiness. Any diet can result in weight loss, but they never deliver on the deeper desire for happiness and control. When they inevitably fail, they negatively impact your metabolism and motivation.
Don’t rely on some future, ideal outcome for happiness, especially when it comes to your New Year’s resolutions. It’s easy to get hyped on a million different goals and imagine all the ways you’d like to improve your life, while forgetting about your living-breathing-self in the process. Putting the work into building healthy habits is positive, but don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting to overhaul your life overnight. It’s hard enough to take consistent, measurable steps towards achieving one small change, let alone many.
If you’ve ever assigned huge dreams and goals to the year ahead, only to find yourself in April wondering: “what was it that I was going to do again?” never fear – there’s always next year, right? Wrong – it doesn’t have to be this way! I’m not saying New Year’s resolutions don’t ever work – I’m saying we need to upgrade our expectations around them. Moving from a ‘get rich quick’ mentality to long-term lifestyle improvement is a much safer bet and more rewarding in the long-term when it comes to setting resolutions.
You Are Enough - Start Where You Are
PSA: You are enough – right now, in this moment. It doesn’t matter if you were late to work, if you’re fighting with your partner, if you feel unappreciated in your job, if you’re lacking motivation to exercise or daydreaming of escaping to an island – whatever it is making you feel less than, I REPEAT: YOU ARE ENOUGH. There will always be room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not perfectly human just as you are.
Once we embrace the mentality that we are exactly where we need to be on our journey, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get started. It may feel uncomfortable at first, or like you’re unprepared for what’s to come, but you already have all you need to get started: yourself.
Small Acts, Big Changes
Separate your life into 3 categories: Mind, body, and soul – or mental, physical and creative health, respectively. Write down 2 goals in each category. One short-term, and one long-term.
- Short-term goal: get up and stretch before scrolling through social media in the morning
- Long-term goal: meditate twice a week
I find that breaking my life down into these categories, while setting short and long-term goals, reaps the most rewards.
Feel free to modify this in a way that better suits your needs. Everybody is different. If soul/creative health doesn’t speak to you – maybe try financial goals, relationship or community-oriented goals. What sets your soul on fire? Use this category to take the lead.
Adding In Instead Of Taking Away
This is my favorite piece of advice, ever. I always say ‘have your cake and eat it too,’ because I truly believe we can have it all. The lesson here is abundance. If we come from a place of lack, restriction or fear, we fail. If we come from a place of love, acceptance and optimism, we flourish. Don’t get me wrong, discipline is necessary – sometimes that means mental discipline to practice the mindset of abundance.
Choosing abundance will always triumph over scarcity. It’s about intention – more specifically, it’s about positive intention and using it to crowd out the negative. You can practice the yogic mantra mindset of speaking in an affirmative notion, i.e. ‘I am courageous’ instead of ‘I will not be afraid.’ This mindset allows manifestation of the future to happen now, by affirming present tense and swapping negative for positive. The more you invite the notion that you already are where you want to be, you will be.
So, in respect to specific goals, adding-in instead of taking away looks like:
- Add greens to every meal I eat (versus, don’t eat carbs)
- Meditate for 20 minutes before bed (versus, don’t look at phone 20 minutes before bed)
- Incorporate cleansing products into daily supplement routine (versus, cut soda habit)
Let Yourself Fail
Alas, we’re breaching an era in which it’s ok to fail, REJOICE! Participation ribbons for everyone! Now, while failure and f*cking up are unlikely to ever be glamorized, growth is what happens in between your failures and achievements. Growth means being dedicated to the work without attachment to outcome, and learning from the process. Growth comes from persistence, from getting up after falling down, time and time again. That is what defines your success more than any single outcome.
So, it may sound cheesy, but don’t be afraid to try, and let yourself fail. When we let ourselves fail, and gracefully take lessons from it, the only way to fail is to give up – so failure isn’t really failure, is it?
An important part of goal setting is to be specific – make it measurable so that you can hold yourself accountable and celebrate success. There’s a big difference in saying, ‘I’m going to try and eat more vegetables’, and, ‘I will add greens to one meal each day for the next 3 weeks and report how I feel on February 25th.’ I suggest diving into the examples above and going in even deeper with specifics. Broad goals can be a useful compass to identify a positive direction, but when it comes to really achieving results, we need a road map.
So, what are your goals, and how can you make them specific AND measurable? I rely on journals, whiteboards, and printable calendars for these kinds of juicy activities to act as daily reminders of why I’m on my grind [by the way, sometimes my grind is very soft and calm, to each their own.] I also rely on Tulsi Tea as it guarantees me soothing stress-relief every. single. time.
If you don’t know about Tulsi, that’s a whole other story and blog, but if you like feeling balanced, energized, and at your best, you need to check out Tulsi – Holy Basil and the story behind this herb.