So with a new year upon us many people decide it's a good time to start something new, create a resolution or attempt to begin a new habit or maybe stop an old one. Many of us start strong, initially committing fully, only to be overcome with the craziness of life some days, weeks or if you're lucky months later. This leaves a trail of broken New Years resolutions, unformed habits and disappointment behind you by the end of the next year, only to repeat similar mistakes again. Why is it we seem to be slow learners? Why do we begin the year so positive and full of determination only to have this squashed and be disheartened by our failed attempts, other's influences or all of the temptations around us that seem to want to hijack our higher cause? My theory...well it could be a few different reasons:
1) You never really wanted to make that lasting change anyway, hence setting an unrealistic goal i.e. Going to the gym everyday was over committing just a bit or saying no to cake all year and on your first day back at work it's someone's birthday who has brought in your favourite homemade chocolate mud cake?! In order to set and intention you are going to keep, you must ensure that it is realistic. 2) You felt compelled to commit to something because everyone else was and after all setting a New Years resolution is what everyone does right? Wrong! It is far more important to make an intention to change if you feel you actually need to or you deeply want to make that change. It doesn't matter if you decide to make that change at the start of the year or at any point throughout. 3) You have a deeply ingrained mindset that reinforces the fact you believe you are destined to fail.So how are you going to fail proof your New Years resolutions going forward you ask? How can you set yourself up to succeed?
Well first of all I like to remove the label "New Years resolution." This dictates that you have made a 'resolve' which is a very finite decision that places many limitations on you and can end up leaving you feeling under immense pressure.
My intentions don't have to be large, often the smaller the better as it is more likely I will be able to sustain this change. And I also only pick a select few, as it's not about quantity, rather quality. Lastly I find an overarching word or phrase for my year ahead, something that really resonates and that I can come back to at anytime to help make my decisions, can be really beneficial.
So what are you going to do differently this year? Maybe you won't set an intention at all, or maybe this time you'll actually keep it! Let's face it, what do some people enjoy talking about more than their amazing New Years resolution? Whinging about the fact they have broken their resolution and will then go on to list the hundred and one reasons as to why irrespective of whether or not you're interested in hearing them! For example my word for 2016 was acceptance and my saying for 2017 is "less doing, more being".
For me 2017 is going to be about saying "no" more in order to feel into what I want to do in my free time, slowing down and moving away from my busy schedule and never ending to do list, into a more relaxed, mindful state. Personally I like to take the time to reflect on my year that has been and celebrate what I believe were my successes, understand and learn from what I believe were my mistakes and begin to set intentions for what, if anything, I will consciously choose to do differently in the new year.