Getting 2021 started:
The general consensus around town is that 2020 needs to go home and let 2021 do her thing. 2020 was a year of buckling up and hanging on for dear life while dodging EVERYTHING that came our way. Every year, around the holidays, plans for New Year’s Resolutions begin to develop. Some common ones include:
· Exercising more
· Eating Healthier
· Going to sleep earlier
· Less screen time
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to live a healthier, more balanced life; more than half of the people who set a New Year’s Resolution, quit after the first month. Once they have one set back, it becomes increasingly hard to move forward with those previously set resolutions. So why does this happen and how can we set realistic resolutions or goals that are achievable?
First and foremost, negative self-talk has to stop! This is a huge subconscious contributor to WHY we can’t seem to achieve New Year’s Resolutions. It is that little voice in the back of our heads that says, “Well, you’ve failed again, why bother even trying,” or “what’s the point, I can’t ever follow through.” You may not even notice that this is happening when it happens.
Step 1: Bring awareness to that nasty little voice that tells you that you can’t do it!
Step 2: Acknowledge that you talk down to yourself when you do not meet your own goals.
Step 3: Verbalize the opposite. If your negative self-talk says, “Well, you’ve failed again, why bother even trying,” try saying the opposite: “Today I didn’t meet my goal, but I can and will tomorrow.”
Step 4: Practice step 3 twenty times a day! I am not joking about this one, rewiring negative self-talk into positive self-talk takes time and repetition. You didn’t develop negative views about yourself and your actions overnight. Likely, they developed over years and years of a skewed perspective of how you’ve “failed” at previous goals.
Once you’ve got a positive self-talk practice or affirmation practice, set realistic and achievable
goals. If your goal is to eat healthier but you eat pizza 3 days a week currently, going cold-turkey and only buying greens and lean meat is likely to result in a quick burnout. Set the goal to be that you will increase your vegetable intake from 0 times a week to 3 times a week. Once that goal is met, add another goal that will help you achieve the overall goal of eating healthier. Then, let’s say that you have a really bad week and only want to eat pizza and you let your
vegetables go bad in the fridge. The positive self-talk practice comes back in and you say, “Yeah, this week I did not stick to my goals, but now I am motivated to get back on the grind next week and here are the steps that I am going to take.”
New Year’s resolution achievement needs to be fluid. What I mean by that is, life throws curve balls, and we cannot stick to a stringent routine 24/7/365. It is not feasible. So, adjust your goals according to what your current and ever-evolving curveball situation is.
Next, set pre-determined times during the year to re-evaluate. Does this goal still serve my needs? Do I need to change my expectations? What has changed in my life since I set this goal that I need to consider?
Finally, phone a friend. Tell someone, anyone about your goals. Solicit an accountability
partner. You do not have to do ANYTHING alone! In fact, goal achievement is way more fun when you have someone to share it with! If your goal is very personal and it is not something that you want to share with a friend or loved one, journal about your progress.
Happy New Year Resolution setting my fellow mental health warriors!