How to make a New Years resolution that lasts
Ah, it’s that time of year again. Where all gym memberships go on sale, and you decide you’re tired of life being the way it is and you want to change.
Maybe it’s losing weight, spending more time doing things you enjoy, making more money. Whatever it is, it’s always about change.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - if I didn’t think change was possible then I’d be a fraud! But if I’m being honest - I don’t believe in New Year's resolutions. Not in the traditional sense, at least. They feel like a fad that comes around each year that never actually sticks.
Here are three things to consider when setting a New Years resolution.
We become discouraged by unrealistic expectations.
An example of this:
Say you’re pumped up about the idea of losing weight, but when you don’t lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks, you kind of get sick of going to the gym. As most people know, making the kind of significant change needed to lose a few pounds has more to do with lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis than anything else.
So set yourself up for success by setting realistic goals. And start small. If you expect to lose 50 pounds in a few months when you’ve never spent a day at the gym, well, you may not make the long-lasting change you’re hoping for.
Once you start achieving small, realistic goals over time, that not only helps you reach your bigger goals, but it also gives you something attainable to strive for. Maybe a realistic goal is to go to the gym twice a week for 30 minutes and start eating a healthy breakfast. Once you’ve got that down move up to 3 days a week and eating a healthy lunch and changing your snacks to mostly fruits/veggies. And so on and so forth.
Our “motivation” wears off
I’ll let you in on a little secret - motivation isn’t what you’re lacking. It’s dedication and desire.
Without a meaningful purpose, the “high” you feel about going to the gym will wear off before the second week of January hits.
It’s not a bad thing to want to look good, make more money, etc. But I’ve found that shallow motivators aren’t helpful in keeping us dedicated and disciplined in making a change. You need what I like to call an “anchor point.” Something you can go back to when things get tough, or you don’t feel like it anymore. Something deeper that will ignite a desire in you to keep going when things get tough.
If you don’t change the internal, the external change really won’t matter
If you’re hoping to change something about your physical appearance to feel better about yourself, that’s not going to sustain you long-term. Unfortunately, in this life, something that’s guaranteed is we will be rejected, unliked, etc. by others.
So even if you change that specific physical attribute you don’t like - this isn’t fixing the root issue.
Often times we are discontented with who we are not because of a physical attribute, but we attribute our discomfort to it. Your stomach or hair is not why you don’t like yourself and changing either will not cause you to all of a sudden love who you are.
When we learn to love ourselves and set resolutions to better who we are, not how we act or what we look like, that is when we will begin to feel better and love ourselves deeper. Set a goal for ten minutes of meditation in the morning, or promise yourself to eat at least four healthy meals a week. Not for an outward benefit, but inward.
When we can learn to love ourselves for who we are, the reflection in the mirror, bank account, or social circle becomes a lot less significant. An understanding of our identity arises from knowing who we are not how we act or what we do.