WITHOUT PUTTING YOU ON THE SPOT, make a list or review the existing list of NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS you really wanted to put in place in January…..It’s somewhere on a desk or in a notebook or perhaps on a tech device! Take a breath and assess where you are with each one. Congratulate yourself on the resolutions you are keeping! And perhaps take comfort in this statistic: 80% of NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FAIL BY THE SECOND WEEK OF FEBRUARY! Hmmm! That’s a CBS news flash I came across recently.
What does that mean? That we are failures? Hopefully NO! That we are weak willed? Hopefully ALSO NO! So? I am thinking that the answer falls into these categories:
-1- we are unrealistic
-2- we are too idealistic
-3- we don’t know ourselves quite as well as needed
-4- we already have too much stress in life and trying to make all those changes just added to the stress!
-5- fill in your own reasons…. and be KIND to yourself….
Grab a notebook and do some reflection on what’s important now that at least some of those hopes and dreams for healthy change have been more challenging than you expected. What do you want to try AGAIN? What do you want to examine and adjust? If the goal was too big or you haven’t had enough time to reach it, see if you want to try again.
Make sure you aren’t beating up on yourself. Check for thought distortions like “I’m a failure” “I never do anything right” “I will never be able to ______”. If those or similar sentences are floating around in your head, trying again to implement a choice for change will be just as hard because thought distortions swell up in your head and convince you you just CAN’T…… If you’ve read any of by blogs on thought distortions, you know it helps to write them down and THEN CORRECT THEM. “I’m a failure” turns into “I failed to complete the goal of _____ and I can give myself a break and try again.” “I never do anything right” becomes “I sometimes have trouble meeting my goals and I will make them more realistic: “I will never be able to ______” becomes “I need a realistic plan that fits my life right now to be able to _____”.
Never underestimate the inordinate power of distorted thinking. It is capable of stopping you in your tracks! Learning to FIND the distortion and correct it is key …. it’s not about lying to yourself. It’s about being truthful with yourself and removing toxic pressure in your head.
After you review your list of resolutions you want to keep, prioritize them. If you could only accomplish one, identify it. Then on to two and three…..
Put realistic time tables by each one. And as the days and weeks unfold, make a note when you meet daily or weekly goals. A good writing/psychology technique goes like this. I exercised today and it went well because____________________ Here you fill in the blank with the reason it DID go well. Things like, I created the best time in my day for the exercise…. OR my significant other went to the grocery store and allowed me the extra time for exercise. It’s a simple exercise in writing/thinking that helps keep you on track.
Reality: starting over is truly, genuinely okay. If you examine the goal in detail, and the reasons it didn’t pan out the first time, you may see more clearly what you need to put in place for the RE-START. The KEY…. what do I need to do differently to succeed?
And don’t give up on yourself. Change is hard BECAUSE change stresses us. So hang in there FOR YOURSELF. You can choose to NOT be part of that CBS statistic. Truly you can! Be kind AND generous with yourself. You do deserve to feel as good as you can.