Why you shouldn’t make New Years resolutions

 In Brain Science, Coaching, Goals, Habits, Happiness, Mindset, Motivation, Thoughts

Why you shouldn’t make New Years resolutions

As we’ve hit Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year, and a double whammy of the official ‘Ditch your resolutions day’ on Wednesday, I feel like now is a good time to share my NUMBER ONE tip on how to stick to your resolutions with you.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

DON’T MAKE THEM!

Yep….don’t make them!

Why I don’t make resolutions

I don’t make resolutions anymore, I realised it made January all the more depressing when within a week….ok ok, within a day or two….my plan to ‘cut out carbs’ inevitably fails.

Plus, living like that is not really living! You’re constantly in a state of deprivation, always focusing on what you ‘can’t’ have….it then inevitably becomes ALL you want and that is HARD…it’s also VERY unhealthy.

A Negative way to start your year

The way I see resolutions is that they tend to end up being ‘fault picking’ exercises and an excuse to just highlight everything you think is wrong with yourself.

They are usually inherently negative.  Not a great way to start your year off.

Why we can’t stick to resolutions

Did you know that only 8% of us are actually successful at sticking to them?? 8%!!

Why? A big reason is you’re leaving too much to chance.

Resolutions are far too ‘fluffy’, they tend to not be either specific enough or measurable.

Psychological research also shows that something called ‘ironic mental control’ exists and essentially means that the harder you focus on NOT doing something or being a certain way, it actually makes you do it more.  They call it the white bear problem.  When someone says ‘don’t think about a white bear’ what instantly comes to mind?  

And the more you try NOT to think about it, the stronger the image becomes.  

Normally we even set resolutions already believing we’re going to fail!

We’re also not that into them!

Know WHY you want to achieve them

If you don’t have a solid motivation, and a solid reason ‘why’ you want it then you’re more likely to give up or procrastinate.  

If you connect to WHY you really want something you’re FAR more likely to achieve it.

Ask yourself how things would look for you this time next year if you DID achieve it and if you want it bad enough it will be SO much easier to motivate yourself.

Can you see why it’s so difficult?!

It doesn’t happen overnight

People expect to break habits OVERNIGHT which is near impossible, and when you ‘fail’ it can really damage your self worth.

EVERY year since I can remember I essentially tried to starve myself in January and resolved to lose a stone in weight in a ridiculous amount of time.  I’ve been through YEARS, at least half my life of yoyo dieting and i set myself up for failure time and time again by thinking that just by deciding it’s what I wanted then it would happen straight away.

Shift your focus

2017 was the year that changed the cycle.  I changed my thought process and shifted my focus, I didn’t focus on the negative thing I wanted to change, having too many spare tyres, and made a conscious decision to be more healthy.

I’d been struggling with arthritis and Patellofemoral pain syndrome in my knees so I was always uncomfortable and in pain and something needed to change.  I said at the beginning of the year I wanted to find an exercise I could do to improve the pain…and a  nice little 20lb weight loss was an added bonus that came with it.

So I ended up achieving what I wanted by attaching it to something that was actually positive, bigger and more important than wanting to be thinner.

I started by making the decision to go to 2 Bikram yoga classes per week, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Bikram yoga class but let me tell you on days you have one of those (1.5 hours in 40 degree heat!) you will NOT want to drink in the day or even the day before, you will drink WAY more water than you would normally and you will NOT eat heavy meals!  So you don’t feel like you’re going to pass out or be sick you will make MUCH healthier choices naturally with zero effort.

Make goals instead or resolutions!

Pick positive goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (but don’t be afraid to dream big!) goals ideally that directly conflict with what you do want to give up and also allow you to create the new positive habits you want to create with far less effort. Make sure you add in WHEN you want to have achieved it by.

So pick goals that REALLY motivate you!

Get accountable!

If you’re intent on making this year the year that you finally achieve what you really want to then get an accountability buddy or hire a coach (personal trainer for health or personal development coach for everything else!) that can get you there.  

Resolutions tend to be BIG changes we want to make that can be overwhelming, but if you have someone to help you break it down into smaller steps and keep you accountable then you’re on your way to success!

Use a journal or a habit tracker to keep you motivated and on the right track.  There are lots of printable versions on Etsy or Pinterest that you can put up on your wall so you see it every day.

Celebrate

Celebrate every teeny tiny little win along the way, promise yourself a treat once you achieve it for motivation.  I like to get people to do this when they’re setting goals, often they would hit them and then it would be straight onto the next one with no reflection or time to appreciate what you’ve achieved and the milestone that you’ve hit.

It takes time

Know that it will take time and you have to push through the hard bit to create the new neural pathways that allow you to form the new habits you need and THEN get you to the god stuff where it all becomes so much easier, it just becomes something you do.  

Give yourself that time and understand it’s not supposed to be an overnight shift, it WILL be hard, it WILL be effort but if it’s worth it to you then STICK WITH IT and appreciate you are retraining your brain and KNOW that eventually it will become second nature.

Here’s to a great 2018!

Fx

P.S – If you’re struggling to see the positives at the moment download my FREE ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ daily journal below.  It’s based in positive psychology and can help you get back to ‘you’ and help you get from feeling ‘Meh’ to ‘whoohoo’!   Just print it out, put it by your bed and spend 5 minutes every evening writing it and see how things start to shift.

Fran Excell

Mindset and personal development coach at www.franexcell.com

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