3-Tips to REVIVE Your New Year’s Resolution
As featured in SociaLife Chicago
If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions as we hit February, I promise, you are not alone. While resolutions sound like a great concept, they often fizzle out about now.
The definition of resolution means to make a decision. That’s all it is – it’s a first step. When our resolutions are not supported with the right mindset and actions that keep us moving forward, it’s all too easy to turn around and step right back– right back to stuck and miserable.
As a coach and therapist for over ten years, people work with me because they want to CHANGE. I’m not talking about changing little things. They come to change hard stuff: addictions, eating disorders, or anxious and depressed thinking patterns. Regardless if it’s little or big changes, the formula for change is the same.
Here goes: if you feel like your resolutions are slipping away, I am giving you some insider tips on how to make them stick in 2016.
1. Update Your Inner Dialogue
When the pain of staying where we are feels greater than the pain of growing, we change. People unconsciously move toward situations that feel better. We might not like where we are, but if moving forward feels worse, we will remain in familiar discomfort and abandon our resolution.
Examine your resolution story. Does it need to be revised? For example, if your goal is to go to the gym three times a week, what are your thoughts associated with this goal?
* Are you telling yourself that you will be too exhausted to go to the gym after a long day at work?
* Are you envisioning embarrassment in that new workout class?
* Are you focusing on all the times you’ve tried to change and didn’t follow through?
If this sounds like your story – it makes sense that you struggle to take action. So — let’s write a new chapter.
Small shifts in your thoughts create big shifts in your behavior. Try shifting to:
* “Exercising after work is my secret weapon to reboot my energy.”
* “I will feel really f-ing proud of myself if I show up to that new class! Who cares if I don’t know the steps.”
* “I struggled in the past, but this time I’ve got a revived outlook for creating the life I want.”
You get to choose the thoughts that are in your head. Write a FRESH STORY, one that draws you in with positive, empowering messages!
2. Create a Community of Support
We are social creatures who thrive on meaningful connection. One of the main tenets of treatment and rehabilitation for any mental or physical condition is utilizing a support system. For example, people who struggle with addiction find sobriety in the rooms of AA and get sponsors. Likewise, people who are trying to create a healthy lifestyle consult nutritional experts, join running groups, or hire personal trainers.
Many times we try to go at our resolutions alone, but why make it harder than it has to be? Surround yourself with like-minded people who will hold you accountable, motivate you, and inspire growth. Whether it is group meetings, family, friends, a life coach, or an online forum, the support you need is out there. Go find it!
3. Be Smart
When we are making a big change in our lives, we often over-estimate our ability to practice self-control. The problem is that all of us are highly influenced by our environments; proximity is power. What we keep close to us can really sabotage our efforts at change.
The saying goes, “If you hang around the barber shop long enough, you’re gonna get a haircut.”
You don’t want to drink? Don’t go to the bar. You don’t want to eat sugary, processed foods? Get them out of your house. You don’t want to watch Netflix all night? Unplug the TV, and ask a friend to go for a run. Clean out your environment. Put as much distance as you can between you and your triggers for unwanted behavior, and that includes toxic people. It may not always have to be this way, but in the early stages of change, be smart and don’t put yourself in situations where you have to be so strong. Give yourself a safety net. When willpower fails or you have a challenging moment, these slight changes will protect you so you can build the momentum necessary to create new habits.
If you are serious about making a change in lifestyle, set yourself up for success.
* Change your thoughts and inner dialogue.
* Create and lean into a support system.
* Be smart: create a fool-proof environment.