It is all too common for people to break their New Year’s resolutions then feel bad about it, so are they really worth the hassle and is it time we stopped making them?
The lull between Christmas a New Year feels like the perfect time to plan a few changes, or to finally quit unhealthy habits, and sure a new year marks the beginning of a blank new calendar, a fresh new start.
But according to a YouGov poll 28% of people break all of their New Year’s Resolutions, and less than 1 in four people stick to them, leaving some in the middle who stuck to some resolutions they made but broke others.
So how are we getting this so wrong?
Well firstly, I believe part of the problem isn’t the ‘failing’ at them, the biggest problem is how we treat ourselves when we think we’ve failed, and the downward spiral our thoughts go in.
You would never speak to a friend the way you do yourself, especially for something as trivial as not sticking to a resolution you made. Self-compassion would be a much better way to deal with it and might actually help you to make the positive changes that you are seeking.
It really is time we changed our beliefs about making fresh starts, and these tips should help you.
Be kind to yourself
Beating yourself up is never going to be effective. Instead, be kind to yourself, show compassion, and encouragement.
Making yourself feel good about the changes will inspire you to keep trying.
Take the pressure off and make things fun if you can, that will make you more likely to stick at something longer term.
Make goals realistic
Don’t set yourself up for an instant fail by having wildly unachievable goals.
Take into account your time, experience, circumstances, and personality. Maybe you need a bit more time, or to go at a slower pace.
Don’t expect instant results – change often takes a while.
In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy discusses how small actions taken over and over again impact multiple areas of life.
So, if you’re looking to drink less alcohol, maybe aim for no drinking during the week rather than stopping all of a sudden then ‘giving in’ by having a drink.
Small consistent action will get you further than an all-or-nothing approach.
Make change when you’re ready
Don’t wait until January 1st to make a change!
Part of the problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we are making them because of the date, and not because we are really ready to make change.
Diets don’t have to start on Mondays either. If you feel inspired to commit to bettering yourself on a random Wednesday half-way through June, then do it.
Do it when it feels right and when you are prepared.
Preparation is key
Maybe the changes you want to make need some proper forethought or preparation.
Take time beforehand to do research and make sure everything is in place to help you.
Your environment can also be conductive to your success with making change. Simple things like laying out your running clothes at night can help you stay focused even when you wake up with less motivation as you’re more likely to follow through with it if the things you want are to hand. Also make sure that the things you want to avoid are out of sight or easy reach.
Get the right support
Remember, no matter what changes you want to make, and when you decide to do it, having self-compassion will help you, be understanding and forgiving of yourself when things don’t go to plan, and try again.
But if you are really struggling with critical inner thoughts consider booking a counselling session with me and let’s sort out those negative messages. You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life.