As today is January 1st, I thought it would be the ideal date to write my first blog for this site. And what better subject than ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ – those grand promises we make to ourselves at the start of every year, only to break them within a few days (or sometimes hours).
Reinvent a brand new you
It’s easy to understand how important it is for us to make New Year’s Resolutions – the old year is done and dusted, and the time feels perfect to re-invent a brand new you and start the New Year all shiny and sparkly.
Perhaps it’s all that partying over the festive season, but the most popular resolutions are often about getting healthy in some way. Whether it’s by going on a diet or taking up exercise, you can bet that most people have decided the number one priority for the New Year is their body.
Our most precious possession
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that we should want to treat our body as well as possible – after all, it’s our most precious possession; our vehicle through this world, and we only get one – so why not be kind to it?
The thing that’s really strange is that we let ourselves get to the point where we’re NOT treating it well – instead we’re feeding it substandard fuel, letting it sit around lifeless and stagnant, and overloading it with toxins, often in the name of ‘fun’. It’s crazy really when you think about it – wouldn’t it be more fun to feel healthy, vibrant, and completely comfortable in your body? To have the energy, strength, and vitality to be able to do whatever you wanted to do?
So – how do we make New Year’s Resolutions that will last all year, instead of just for a day or two?
The first mistake people tend to make is to choose resolutions that are too difficult to maintain in the long term, and then become demoralised when they fail to consistently achieve them. You know the kind of thing I mean – ‘I’m going to go on a 5K run every day’… ‘I’m planning to juice fast throughout January’… etc etc. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things – and in fact for some people they might be a breeze – but you have to be realistic and ask yourself honestly: ‘Will I really do it – or am I setting myself up to fail?’
It’s important to start with something that’s very close to where your lifestyle is now. Ideally, it should be so ridiculously easy that it’s virtually impossible to find an excuse not to do it. Introduce it into your daily routine. Work out the optimal time / place / situation in which to do it. Be very specific about what it is (for instance ‘eat healthier’ or ‘exercise more’ are far too vague and don’t really give you anything specific to aim for).
An example of this kind of resolution could be ‘a minimum of 2 minutes of exercise’ a day. Define what ‘exercise’ means to you – it could be anything at all that gets you out of breath – for instance dancing, rebounding, aerobics, kung fu; whatever floats your boat.
Now this might seem silly and pointless at first – after all, what benefit are you possibly going to get from 2 minutes of exercise? Well, the aim of this technique is simply to make space in your life (and your mind!) for a new routine. Find that 2 minutes each day, ideally at the same time each day, and be consistent. Keep doing it until you don’t need to think about it anymore. Do you have to think about brushing your teeth, or taking a shower? Nope, they are simply habits that you have already adopted at some point in your life. You don’t have to expend any effort, or use ‘willpower’ to do them; they’re just part of your daily routine.
It’s NOT about willpower!
The key here is to consistently re-assess your goals/resolutions on a weekly basis; gently tweaking them so you are always pushing yourself that little bit more, without it being overly challenging. This way, over time, you can adapt the routines in your life to reflect a new healthier you. Just think – if you start on January 1st and add 2 minutes onto your daily exercise schedule each week, by March you’ll be exercising for 20 minutes a day – and you won’t have even noticed it creeping into your life! And by then, once you are experiencing the addictive benefits of a regular exercise routine, the likelihood is you won’t want to give it up!
Remember – it’s not about willpower – it’s simply about reorganising your day, adopting new routines, and re-designing your life to serve you better.
Happy New Year and Happy New Life – let the fun begin!
I help people to introduce healthy routines into their lives with hypnotherapy, counselling, and coaching. If you still feel you need a little help in clarifying, structuring, and ultimately achieving your New Year’s Resolutions, feel free to get in touch to discuss working with me on your goals.
Lisa Murphy is a hypnotherapist & counsellor based in Glasgow, who specialises in anxiety, stress, and weight management.