- Tanya Patterson
Why not to resolve in 2020.
Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Why do most of us fail at resolutions? They are usually too vague and a year is.....well too big a step.
I thought seems how January was drawing to an end it was a perfect time to bring up the topic of resolutions. Did you make any? Did you stick with it or has it been forgotten?
Have you ever made a New Years resolution? Did you start out super strong? Kill it for one month? 3 Weeks? A day? Or maybe you lasted 2 months with one resolution. Here we are at the start of a new year. A new decade! A new beginning. And if you are like many others in the world you are fired up about making a commitment to a new you. And if you are also like many others you keep that fire for a bit but eventually as the new year continues so do the habits of an old year and soon the raging fire becomes a flame, then a spark, and then eventually a thin line of smoke.
Resolve to make a plan.
“A resolution is only a decision, and while this is a great first step - it is only a thought.”
So how do we keep that raging fire? First of all we need to start with a reachable goal. We also need to start with one that is measurable. And - we need a plan. For example - you want to be a better person in 2020 and your New Years resolution is to be nicer to your co-workers. Or you want to loose 10 pounds so you join a gym and fit a 30 minute session on an elliptical each day. There are so many reasons that this could fail. First of all being nice to your co-workers...does this mean ALL of your co-workers? Does this mean that if Sally from shipping eats your yogurt on Tuesday and you shrug it off but she "accidentally" mistakes your chicken salad sandwich with her peanut butter one and you ask if she is stupid does that mean you failed? And if you lost 5 pounds in January then gain 3 in February, loose 4 in March, gain 2 in April, loose 5 in May.....does that mean you exceeded your goal?
Break it Down.
I'm sure I am making my point. So how DO you make and keep you resolutions? Here is what works for me. First off I don't call them resolutions. A resolution is only a decision, and while this is a great first step - it is only a thought. Use what works for you personally but I use steps. A good friend of mine uses habits. Because a habit is.....well a habit. I write everything down. Writing things down not only keeps written proof of your commitment but it also gives you somewhere you can measure your progress. Next I break things down. One year is too vague. One year is too limiting. It's too small yet too big. It only gives you one chance to succeed and one chance to fail. So break it down. One year has 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days. One month has 30 days, each day has 24 hours, 1440 minutes in a day. So because "you can do anything in a minute" you have 525949.2 minutes before next year.
Write it Down!
“What is it that sparks the flame?”
Write down the goal and what lights it on fire. Why do you want to do this? What is it that sparks the flame? If you don't really want to do what you write down then you are less likely to succeed at it. I use weight loss as an example because it is a popular goal but personally one of mine is to write a blog. I ask myself why. Because I have so much information in my head that can help people. Helping people makes me feel great and when I feel great I become inspired. My inspiration lights the fire. If you want to loose 20 pounds and the only reason you can come up with is that you are fat - then you are standing above your goal with a bucket of ice water over your flame. Find a reason. You want to feel sensational. You want to look great in that bikini on your Caribbean vacation and make your husband remember why he used to never be able to keep his hands off you. You want to not be out of breath at your weekly hockey game with the guys and actually be able to do up your hockey pants. Whatever it is figure it out, light it on fire, and WRITE IT DOWN!
I start with a note book. Because I use steps I write on the top of my first page 12 steps to a better me. I personally break mine down into 12. I make a list of the things I want to change about myself, the things I want to accomplish, and the things I want to avoid. So if one thing on your list is that you want to loose 20 pounds then put that at the top of your list. Now break it down. That is less than 2 pounds a month. This is still just a thought to me so lets break it down a bit more. Here is an example. I love cheese. I eat cheese at every meal, between meals. I am addicted to cheese. Could I give up cheese for 1 month? 30 days without cheese? How about 30 days having only 1/8 of a cup of cheese every day? I can do that so it goes on my list. Do you drink 5 cans of soda a day? Can you quit for one whole month? Maybe just have 1 a day for 30 days. Maybe you replace one meal a day with a protein shake for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days take inventory. Did you loose 2 pounds? Can you continue for another 30 days? Could you also add something to help like do a 30 minute workout every day for 30 days? Maybe you gave up your soda for the first 30 days and the next 30 days you are going to have 1 soda a day and do a 20 minute workout everyday. By breaking one large step (one year) into several smaller steps (12 months) (30 days) it gives you a better chance at success. By being able to measure progress in small increments it allows you to see progress quicker so you are less apt to give up.
Maybe your goal is not weight loss and you want to become a better person. Maybe your first 30 days you decide to complement one person at the office every day.Or do something nice to one random person every day for 30 days. Maybe you choose to text your husband randomly once a day to tell him how amazing he is. Do you continue after the 30 days and start a new 30 day step or do you continue and add another? Maybe the first 30 days was too hard to only have 1/8 of a cup of cheese so the next 30 you have 1/4 cup each day. 30 days is a good number to form a habit. The trick is to choose obtainable things. The more you succeed the more you will proceed.
You don't need a reason to start you just need to start. The first or the 21st it doesn't matter as long as you make the commitment. Choose a goal. Get a plan. Break it down. Start.