Every year thousands of people welcome in the new year with one or more new year resolutions. And – in truth I myself have done the same.
While there is nothing wrong with committing to goals in the new year the timing can prove to be problematic. Sadly, people quit within a week or two and unfortunately, some never start.
The concept of out with the old and in with the new is an honorable one and I for one have felt that way many times before. There is something refreshing about closing out the year, wiping the slate clean and beginning again. It can be a time of starting over, change and setting sights on a new you.
So – why is it so hard to stick to our resolutions leaving us to feel like we have failed before we barely started?
I believe that part of the issue is that we tie ourselves to a holiday. New Years Day follows the chaos of the holidays and consequently people are often exhausted. This has been a challenge for me over the years.
Unfortunately, I have fallen short on resolutions time and time again. The idea of taking on new goals and making changes starting on New Years Day always felt impossible. The timing was bad and instead of feeling organized and motivated I felt stressed and overwhelmed.
I needed to take down Christmas decorations, grocery shop, clean, do laundry and prepare for going back to work. My house was always a mess. How could I possibly find the energy or create the right mindset to start fresh and be “all in” for becoming a new and better me? I couldn’t.
2019 arrived and I decided to try a new strategy. 2018 was a challenging year and a very busy one. I was burnt out by the time the holidays hit and if I am honest, I was an emotional mess. My husband will confirm. It was evident that I needed to make a few changes, break a few habits and as the new year approached, I knew I needed to let some things go.
But – not on New Years Day. Why do we need to kick off our resolutions on that specific day? Does that particular day hold more power than any other day? The answer is no. In all honesty, it is just one day out of 365 days each and every year.
I finally realized that I do not have to feel pressured to commit to anything until I am ready and it certainly does not have to be on a holiday. And neither do you. It is far more important to pick a day that makes sense and works for you. My date is January 9th this year. I will begin Wednesday and waiting those few extra days has given me the time I needed to get organized and to prepare.
Setting goals, recognizing changes that need to be made or replacing bad habits with good ones are critical to our well-being and happiness. However, you can start fresh and create a better life at any time during the year.
So – if you fell short on your goals in 2018 or you are already struggling to stay on track in 2019 it is OK. If you planned to start fresh on New Years Day and somehow it didn’t happen; it is OK. You can pick a new day to start or if you have fallen off track, you can begin again.
I am excited for Wednesday and take steps towards a better 2019 and a new me.
Here are a few things I have learned along the way and if you are feeling stuck or struggling I hope these tips will help.
- You are not a failure. Change is hard and consequently, breaking habits can be incredibly difficult. It is important that you do not beat yourself up. Cut yourself some slack and recognize that it is not about falling but rather getting back up when you do. Changing and pursuing goals takes great courage and you need to feel proud of any efforts made. If you fall, brush yourself off, get back up and start again. You are stronger and more capable than you realize.
- Are you ready? There are 365 days in a year and the day is not important. It is never too late to start and it is important that you find a date and time that work for you. You have to be ready to roll or it will not work. Far too many people jump in and try to make changes before they are ready to do the work or truly want to change. Ask yourself two key questions: do I really want to change and am I ready to do the work?
- Set realistic goals. People often fall short or quit because the goals set are unrealistic, too big or too broad. Regardless of what the goal is, make sure the action steps are manageable and set time frames that are achievable. Chunk it down and create a plan that is one you can actually follow. Unfortunately, people quit trying because goals set are unrealistic and it then creates a vicious cycle leading a person to feel like they have failed and sabotaging any excitement or momentum that they had.
- Create a positive environment. Clutter is a dream stealer. If you have clutter in and around your home, your car, your office or your desk it will be difficult to maximize your efforts. Clutter is distracting and it leads to a cluttered mind. If you truly want to set yourself up for success it is critical that you clean up your messes and try to organize your personal spaces. This will make a difference on many levels. Organization is key and having less clutter equals less stress and more peace. Marie Kondo is delightful and shares great tips on how to tidy up and declutter. The time spent will reward you with big pay-offs.
- Establish a morning routine. This one was challenging for me. I was a habitual snooze button girl. Every morning would lead to hitting the snooze button one, two or three times and I can promise you that my day never started off on the right foot. It is so important to have a morning routine and one that you can follow every day. A morning routine is personal to you so find a routine that fits with your life and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Begin the day with things that bring you joy. Meditate. Enjoy a cup of tea. Read for 15 minutes. Get up earlier. Exercise. Eat a healthy breakfast. Make your bed. Set up your routine when you are ready to follow it and then do it.
- Stop procrastinating. Human beings are experts at making excuses and coming up with every reason on the planet for not doing something. Excuses will lead you down a dead-end street every time and quite honestly, I question how serious you are about making changes if you are making excuses. There will never be a perfect time to tackle your bad habits, make changes or achieve your goals. Stop procrastinating and make a plan. Believe that you are worth it and stop the madness. If you are miserable or unhappy in areas of your life the time is now.
- Changing is a choice. Choice is a beautiful thing and guess what? Most things in life offer people the powerful gift of choice. To change is a choice and you get to choose right now if you want to change certain things in your own life. If there is something that is standing in the way of your happiness or if you are doing things that make your feel bad or guilty, you can choose to change it. You get to choose if you have that extra drink, order pasta versus a salad or lay on the couch instead of go to the gym. Choose well and gear up for a better life.
- Know your why. I’m not going to lie to you. Changing and achieving goals is not easy. In fact, it can be really hard. With that being said, I believe anyone can change if they want something bad enough. It is really important that you find your why. The why can help motivate and drive you towards change and towards success. People often jump into things without truly knowing their personal why and then quit because they were not ready or didn’t understand the motivation behind it. We all have reasons for doing things regardless of if they are good or bad. Dig deep and find your why. The why can help to develop a road map to change.
- You have to be ALL IN. Setting goals or committing to change is great but you will not succeed if you are only half in. I have personally fallen very short because I would skip a day of healthy eating and then justify it. One day of skipping would lead to another and before I knew it I had self-sabotaged half the month. Don’t fall prey to this and stay the course. If you truly want to see results or make sustainable changes in your life, it is critical that you are ALL IN. There is no such thing as eating healthy and following a food program half the time if you want to lose weight. It is impossible to lose inches and get toned if you exercise just 3 days a month. And you will not get to where you want to go if you hit the snooze button every morning. If you want to change you must be ALL IN. Your success depends on it.
- Love yourself. It is easy to self-sabotage and stay stuck in unhealthy patterns if you do not love yourself. Sadly, far too many of us continue to make unhealthy and bad choices because we do not love ourselves enough to change. A lack of self-worth and an inability to believe that we CAN will stand in the way of change every time. Stop the negative self-talk, recognize that you matter and shift your perspective. You deserve happiness and you are strong enough to change and get to where you want to go. But – you have to want it bad and you have to love yourself enough to do whatever it takes. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. Set your standards high and then go for it. You can do this.
It is a new year and yes, it is a time for new beginnings, fresh starts and change. And – quite honestly, regardless of the new year or what day it is, you deserve to live a happy life. Human beings know what they need to do to get to a better and happier place. However, people often delay and choose NOT to do the things that could change their lives, lead to less stress and more joy. Don’t be one of those people. You are far more powerful than you realize and you have the tools inside of you right now to live true to the person you so badly want to be.
My wish for each and every one of you is that 2019 will be an amazing year. You can do great things, you can change and you can find happiness. Don’t give up. Find your why, create a plan that works for you, love yourself enough to try and…. GO FOR IT. You have got this.
In Love and Peace-