Ah, it’s that time of the year again. The time when we tally up all of our “undesirable traits” and resolve to be better. We make half hearted goals to exercise more, to lose weight, or to kick a bad habit. Then, a few weeks down the road, we’re right back where we started. This has left me asking, “What is the Solution to the New Year’s Resolution?”
Researchers at the University of Scranton say that while 40% of us make New Year’s Resolutions, only 8% of us actually achieve our goals. How disheartening is that?
The first problem I see with New Year’s Resolutions is that we start off by listing off all of the things “wrong” with us. We approach the New Year from a place of negativity and hate. Just a few weeks ago, we were giving thanks and kicking off the season of joy and cheer. Rather than bask in the afterglow of all that love and light, we sit down and decide what needs to be “fixed”.
The second problem I see is that we base our goals on standards set by others. We want to lose a weight, so that we fit in nicely with the doctor’s chart. We want to exercise more, so we can have that body shown to us in all of the advertisements, etc., etc., etc…
I know, I have set the same goals, for the same reasons. And, I’ve failed numerous times. For the last several years, I’ve been in the 60% camp of no Resolution setting. It’s not because I don’t want a better life, I just don’t want the added guilt of not achieving my resolutions.
Starting off in a Better Direction
To begin, I think it is much healthier to tally up all of the things going right. Start with an attitude of gratitude! You are not completely broken, imperfect, flawed or a DIY project. Every day, you get up and do loving things for yourself, and for others. Every day, you put forth effort, and get out of bed and try.
When we tally up the things we are doing right, we are creating a positive foundation to build upon. We are already setting a positive direction. When we start here, in a loving place, we are much more apt to set goals that will have a positive outcome.
The Next Step
Now that we are in a positive frame of mind, we can look at where we are at now in life. What are some of the challenges being faced? How do you feel about your life?
In her book, The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul, Danielle LaPorte suggests that the problem with most goal setting is that we go about setting up our achievements in a backwards way. We approach this with the list of accomplishments, and a hopeful wish that succeeding in these accomplishments will finally give us fulfillment. Instead, we should approach this from a perspective of how you want to feel, and set the goals as a road map of how to get there.
I came across some old photos of me this year, from the year that I did Weight Watcher’s for the first time. I could not believe how skinny I looked! I was still 10-15 pounds from my “goal weight”…some number on a chart from the medical community. Looking at those photographs made me realize that if I had been able to lose that extra weight, I would have been just a bag of bones.
I learned two things from those photographs. First is that I need to have a better appreciation for what my body looks like now. At the time those pictures were taken, I still thought I was too fat. In fact, I had a killer figure! I still have the jeans to prove it:) Second, I cannot set my goals based on some medical chart, or other type of “information”. My health goals now, are in the direction of physically being able to do the fun things I want to do (snorkel in the ocean, climb small hills, take a dance class, etc.), as well as being comfortable in my own skin.
Over the years, I have let that initial “failure” taint every attempt that I have made. Now, I can look at that and appreciate all that I had accomplished. Which, gives me a positive platform to build upon, and try again.
I hope that you are in a good place, as you start out the New Year, and ring in 2018. Spend a few minutes, and appreciate all of the progress that you have made this year.