Evolution, Not Resolution: Why I Don't Do New Year "Resolutions"
I know; I know. Once again, you are feeling motivated to eat healthier, exercise more, amp up your wardrobe, drink less caffeine or make any number of the positive lifestyle changes you have been telling yourself you want to make. Like many others, you have made the attempt before--probably declaring another try as a New Year resolution — but without feeling much success. It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February, March or even late January may increase your anxiety. When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of bland clothes, an unused gym membership, or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the rest of the year feel hopeless. You want to know why? Making a lifestyle change is already challenging, but especially so when you want to transform many things at once. Here's my personal rule of thumb: stop making and thinking of these goals as resolutions, but instead think of them as an EVOLUTION.
It is important to remember that the New Year is not meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes. Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.
Remember, lifestyle changes are a process that take time and require support. Once you are ready to make a change, the difficult part is committing and following through. So do your research and make a plan that will prepare you for success. Careful planning means setting small goals and taking things one step at a time.
Below I will run through 5 tips that will assist you in evolving--you know, making lasting, positive lifestyle and behavior changes that you have always desired!
Make a plan that will stick. Your plan is a map that will guide you on this journey of change--this evolution. When making your plan, be specific. Remember what I talked about this summer--write the vision; make it plain. For example, you want to amp up your wardrobe, and love your personal style more? Write down in detail exactly what it is you want to change about your style, and contact a credible image consultant/personal stylist (shameless plug here LOL) to assist you and assure they make it happen. You want to exercise more? Detail the time of day when you can take walks and how long you will walk. Write everything down, and ask yourself if you’re confident that these activities and goals are realistic for you. If not, start with smaller steps. Post your plan where you’ll most often see it as a reminder.
Start small. After you've identified realistic short-term and long-term goals, break down your goals into small, manageable steps that are specifically defined and can be measured. Is your long-term goal to lose 20 pounds within the next five months? A good weekly goal would be to lose one pound a week. If you would like to eat healthier, consider as a goal for the week replacing dessert with a healthier option, like fruit or yogurt. At the end of the week, you’ll feel successful knowing you met your goal. You want to change your wardrobe? Commit to purchase one new item each month. ....In all, make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.
Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one small goal (that contributes towards your big goal) at a time. As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you are striving for.
Accountability partner. Whether it be a friend, co-worker, family member, or significant other, get someone else dependable to go along with you on your journey/evolution. They will keep you motivated and accountable. It can be someone who will go to the gym with you, someone who will give you sound advice on what clothing pieces do or do not work with your body style, or someone who is also trying to stop drinking so much caffeine. Talk about what you are doing. Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom you can comfortably share your struggles and successes, and/or evolving with someone who has the same goals in mind, makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and commitment. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking help from a pastor, counselor, image consultant, or psychologist. They are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body, as well as the factors that promote behavior change. Asking for help does not necessarily mean a lifetime of therapy--even just a few sessions can help you examine and set attainable goals or address the emotional issues that may be getting in your way.
Oh, and here's a bonus: there is no need to wait until the 1st of the year, the 3rd week of January, or the 4th Monday of the month--start making small steps towards your goals immediately. For example, I have been so hungry to grow my knowledge in wealth management that for the last few weeks I have invested in more books, joined online communities, and have unashamedly spoken with strangers that have experience in what I want to endeavor in. I did not put it off until the 1st, so now that 2017 is here--my evolution has already been in play and I am "hitting the ground running."
Ini all, making the changes that you want to stick takes time and commitment. It is not some microwaveable resolution. The only resolve I challenge you to do is to EVOLVE this year, as opposed to just trying to fulfill a long list of overwhelming resolutions. ...& know that it your evolution will not be perfect. You might still get confused when trying to put together an outfit, sneak an extra cupcake, skip a night (or week) of reading, or skip the gym--but don’t give up. Minor missteps in your evolution are normal and okay. Just resolve to recover, get back on track, and keep E VO L V I N G! Happy New Year!!!
Lots of Love,