Of those who make New Year’s Resolutions around 10 % of us actually manage to keep them. Score one on the list of reasons for not making any!
Whether it’s giving up alcohol, paying off debt, going to the gym more often or resolving to lose weight, chances are you are doomed to fail before you’ve even started.
So why is that?
One (glaringly obvious??) reason could be to do with the fact that at Christmas — a time that for many of us typically involves going out more, eating more and spending more, we make a resolution to do exactly the opposite — eat less, be more healthy and get out of debt — a matter of days later. Hmm… I think I can see the problem!
Here’s what you can do instead
In various scientific studies on this, results were vastly improved with levels of enjoyment. So if you make a New Year’s Resolution and you actually enjoy it, chances are you will stick at it for longer. Resolving to go completely without food or alcohol for January and refusing to spend any money? Not so much.
Next — change the way you think about resolutions
Stop using the word “try”. As in “Tonight? No, sorry, I’m trying to save money”. “Cake? No thanks, I’m trying to lose weight”. Trying implies it’s not really likely to happen. It automatically gives you permission to fail. It also gives the person you are talking to permission to try and cajole you out of it…
“Oh go ooooooon, come out with us / have just a small slice / one more drink”.
Hurrah! more cake, more alcohol and the rest will also fall by the wayside as they were all lumped in together anyway under the no-fun-at-all title of “New Year’s Resolutions”. One fails, they all fail.
Instead, don’t think of them as New Year’s Resolutions. That’s so dull and dull things are always doomed to fail. Stop being so hard on yourself too — these things aren’t compulsory! Think of them more as New Year’s Experiences; My New Year’s Brilliant List of Things to DO! Things I Want To GET DONE This Year! Places I Want To See! You get the picture. Now get choosing. Here’s some of ours from the EqUaCoaching office… feel free to steal all… or none — remember, it’s not the law!
Thea’s New Year Experiences:
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
“I really want to do this.. and each year I keep putting it off until I’ve lost weight, am fitter, have the money or (having moved to a new area) I know someone else who I can do it with. This year I’m taking the bull by the horns and signing up — there’s my “exercise more” New Year’s Resolution cunningly disguised as something I actually want to do, right there!”
FitBit Weekday Hustle
“Working remotely can mean sitting still for hours at a time at your computer. I’ve joined a FitBit challenge group — not too difficult that I feel demoralised being the lowest achiever every week, but not too easy that I don’t let a bit of my naturally competitive nature see me circling the dining room table before going to bed to get “just 300 more steps in!!”
Spend Less / Save More / Eat better / Drink less
“Bear with me on this because I know it sounds on the face of it like a regular set of New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s not! Well, it is, but I have disguised them. From myself. After payday, I have worked out exactly how much I need to leave in my account to pay all my bills and some savings and am taking the remainder out in cash. THEN — I am dividing that cash into weeks until the end of the month and that leaves me with what I have to spend to stay on track with my spending this month. It means I automatically make healthier “cheaper” choices with regards to food because, in all honesty, I’m terrible with both money and maths so am scared of being left with nothing at the end of the month!! Ditto with alcohol — I will still go out but will be the designated driver (everyone LOVES those though, right?!) and will be cooking proper food instead of calling for a more expensive takeaway — so, therefore, will be eating healthily too! I do this every year and it feels like a really positive start by still saying Yes to everything, but making it a kind of ‘better’ yes!!” I also don’t take my debit card anywhere with me so I’m not tempted to spend more on it!
[Thea: “No one is going to copy that one, are they!!!” ]
Liz: “No! It’s bonkers complicated, but we still love you!”]
Jo’s New Year Experiences:
Complain Less — I’m not saying I complain all the time but I’m only human and like everyone else, will at times, moan about things that seem unfair or out of my control. The difference is I am all too aware of the things I’ve learnt that when I do complain or moan it lowers and changes my mood. So by becoming aware of it more and committing to do it less, I will be enhancing my day-to-day experience. Honestly, this is something we all do and have control over so join me in a New Year’s Experience of moaning and complaining less. You’ll love it!
Quality Time With Myself — What I mean by this is doing things that enrich my life that we forget to do when we are busy. I have been very caught up with the business this year and sometimes I forget how important that quiet time with myself is. Whether I choose that to be with family, friends and doing things that make me feel good or a quiet walk in nature with the dogs, or sitting quietly doing nothing. The most important thing is to do what makes me smile.
Grow My Own — This is my year for my veggie patch! I’ve always wanted one and this year I’m going to do it. In January I will prepare the area with troughs to keep the chickens out and I’m reading up on the planting part so I’ll be ready to begin when the troughs are ready. I can’t wait to eat my own produce (*sings the theme tune to The Good Life!) Very excited ☺
Liz’s New Year Experiences:
Spend more time with my family and friends doing nothing — It has been a super busy year and of course I have loads of plans and ideas for this coming year, but I want to make sure I am balancing that with the things that matter most to me. Getting some dates in the diary in January to just hang out with those who make me feel inspired, loved and happy but are sadly easily overlooked.
Drink less Oolong tea!!!!!– Yes, to those that know me this is shocking stuff but never fear this is merely cutting down on my beloved tea because I want to reduce my caffeine not, I repeat not, cut it out. I will reduce my intake to a couple of cups a day instead of the 10 or so I have got used to having. So with the replacement method, hello lemon, ginger and peppermint which are all no caffeine alternatives.
Be kinder — I’m not saying I’m unkind or don’t do kind things but I often feel I could do more. At Christmas, we make the effort to give more and think of others but in the New Year it’s back to being all about us again and what can we do for ourselves in the New Year!
So really, just being aware of those around me, paying attention rather than thinking how something affects just me, really listening and giving my time would be something that I think would really be a great New Year’s Experience. I’ve also had a coaching book idea that could be implemented in old people’s homes which would spread some happiness and attention and focus on the residents so I’m going put some time into exploring that at the beginning of this year too.
We hope the ideas above have inspired you to ditch the boring and traditional “New Year’s Resolutions” and instead focus on life-enhancing experiences — whether they are your own or for others. What New Year’s experiences are you pledging to have this coming year? Let us know in the comments!
Happy New Year from Jo, Liz and Thea
PS we have a new book coming out! It’s very exciting and beautifully hand-illustrated. You will be able to read more about it soon on our Facebook page!
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