Fear and New Year’s Resolutions – get rid of them!
There’s nothing like the start of a brand new year to light that fire inside. I don’t always make New Year’s Resolutions, but when I do, that fire typically burns about a week and then flickers to a one-log campfire in the rain. But let’s be real. Resolutions are hard! They’re not like our goals wherein we incrementally work toward an achievement. No, resolutions are a proclamation of a habit that will instantly and forever be changed.
The year is new, therefore I am new.
What the what? Who ever thought that would work? I mean, it seems most of us make a resolution or four, yet statistically only about 8% of us actually keep our resolutions. Why? Is there a better way?
A couple of things I’ve come across recently got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe we can master the art of the resolution.
First, stop trying to abruptly change your habit(s) with the idea that January 1 is an enchanted date and you’ll no longer be tempted by [fill in the blank], or you’ll magically be able to [fill in the blank], and so forth. I call hooey on that. There may be a small percentage of the population who can operate that way, but for most of us it’s neither reasonable nor practical, and therefore we fail. Which, by the way, is not fun. Amiright?
What we can do instead, as I read in this article featured on CNN, is to set Monday Resolutions. Just saying that is less tense than a New Year’s Resolution and helps me breathe easier. This sounds like something I can handle. I’m going to cut my sugar intake on Monday this week. If it goes well–and it should because we can usually do something for a day—then maybe I’ll do that every Monday. After a month of Mondays, maybe I’ll do that every Monday and Friday. Get the idea?
Or maybe if your first Monday goes well, you throw in Tuesday right away. You hit your goal two days in a row! If you stumble on Wednesday it’s no big, because you can start over in just five days. You don’t have to wait until January 1, 2020 to begin again. Genius! There is more to it in the CNN article, but that’s the gist of it.
Second, leave your fears and your hindrances in 2018. It’s actually helpful to write down your fears. The act of writing them down and seeing them on paper gives you control over them. Your fears are no longer left to tumble around in your brain unsupervised, chipping away at your confidence, and thus chipping away at your ability to succeed with your resolutions. Now these fears are something you can see. Now you can deal with them; you can make a plan to conquer your fears.
This next part might be a little woo-woo for some of you, but physically destroying that piece of paper, symbolically crushing your fears, can be helpful in leaving your worries behind. I attended a women’s writing retreat several years ago in the mountains of North Carolina, and on the first night we wrote down our fears and then tossed them into the bonfire. Away with you! A little breeze caught my paper and placed it, unscathed, right at my feet, but I had the power to pick it up and put it back in the fire. I had the power!
I recently did this exercise a little differently with a Facebook group I’m in. The leader of the group asked us to type our fears in the comments beneath her original post. Put it all out there—let the fears holding you back from being your best, most successful self be known. I was in such a comment fury that my phone momentarily froze, but I laid it out there. Today, on January 1, the group leader is going to hide all of those comments. Every single fear left there by hundreds of women will be gone. Poof! Nothing in your way as of today. Symbolism is powerful.
So when I was thinking about my goals for the year ahead, I thought to myself, what if I brought these two things together: the letting go of my fears so that I can succeed and the Monday Resolution rather than the “you just signed up for a year-long commitment”?
I think we’re onto something!
And to give my own personal proof that this is a better way (at least for me), is that I began my reduced sugar, back-to-healthy diet yesterday. I survived the entire workday without any sweets. That, in and of itself, was huge. But when I got home, there was half of a cupcake left from a photoshoot this weekend. I’m not one to toss good food in the trash, so I ate it. I failed on Day 1.
But here’s the beauty: my entire year isn’t shot because I messed up. Let’s all take a moment to bask in the glory of that! This is a total mind game, but it’s much easier for me to hit the reset button and begin again today, to pick myself up and carry on rather than feel like I blew a resolution that was supposed to change my entire year. I was simply changing this week, and the week is young folks!
So make your weekly resolutions, leave your fears in the rearview, and may you have a happy, healthy, blessed, and prosperous New Year!