New Years and the start of a new decade have come and gone. Now that we’re almost a month in, can you say the same for your resolutions? If that’s the case, no need to be so hard on yourself! You’ve still got 11 whole months to make your resolution come true!
Here are 3 tips I came up with by thinking about the 3 most common mistakes people make when setting their New Years resolutions (or any major resolutions, really) and what to do instead.
. . .
Tip #1: Build from what you have, not from what you lack
Making people feel shitty about themselves is a fantastic strategy for selling things to them, but it’s terrible for your own well-being. Do yourself a favor and stop pursuing growth from a place of “not enough”.
Let’s take a super common resolution: lose weight.
Instead of letting your inner dialogue be an IC-attack (Inner Critic attack) narrative where you put yourself down for being “too fat”, let me share a quick trick to help you channel the Kind Commentator: Cut out the ‘too’. Too in these contexts is almost always a contempt word, and contempt is poison. That gives you a new un-poisoned statement to build on. “I’m too fat” becomes “I’m fat.” Drop that into this fill-in-the blank statement.
I’m [trait I don’t like] and I [negative sentiment] it. What I want is to be ___________, which means [specific actions].
Ex. I’m fat and I don’t like it. What I want is to be healthier, which means eating more vegetables.
Your want is your WIN. (Want It Now). You can get as specific as you find useful. Let’s be real, we all want to feel like we’re winning, but we don’t all enjoy being drill-seargented, which is what the Inner Critic loves to do. So let’s cut your wonderful self some slack.
– What’s a way that you’ve already won?
– And (yes, cliche therapist question) how did it make you feel?
The key is to help yourself recognize that even in the smallest of ways, the person you are wanting to become is just an extension of yourself. Your glow up goal now becomes a reminder to yourself of how amazing you can feel! Isn’t that delightful? It also makes any change you make seem less jarring, which keeps your identity guards satisfied, decreasing your internal resistance. Buh-bye lack, hello, feelin’ yourself. We love a feel-good glow up!
So go ahead and soak up how much you already appreciate being that person, even if it’s for all of, like, 3 seconds. Weren’t those 3 seconds of being that version of you wonderful? Don’t you want more of that?
. . .
Tip #2: Savor success by taking smaller bites
We’ve been sold on this idea that the bigger the bite the bigger the reward, so lot of people bite off more than they can chew, discounting how much a small bite can offer them. But when we put off celebrating our small successes, it makes the path ahead seem much more arduous, and therefore daunting.
What I’ve come to understand is that the experience of “success” is actually relative. We feel rewarded when we accomplish the objective we set out to accomplish. Period, end of story. So when we make our personal objectives small, we actually get to feel successful more often. It’s delightful! When we feel like winners, we feel hopeful about working toward bigger successes in a way that’s sustainable. WIN-win!
Small achievable objectives = frequent sense of success = increased chance at sustainable success. Simple, right?
I call that the FLOW formula (Follow Little Obvious WINS).
The more you FLOW the more you glow!
. . .
Tip #3: Consider it done
Choice in our lives is mostly a good thing, but when it comes to building a new practice, it can be our biggest road block. Why? Change of any sort brings with it a certain level of stress, and when we’re stressed, as much as we love to believe that we’ll “rise to the occasion”, most of us actually “fall to what’s familiar” first.
So help future-you out by declaring now that you’re the type of person who makes the choice you want them to make. Bonus points if you tie it back to your WIN-identity!
Ex. “I’m the type of person who eats vegetables. I’m a healthy eater.”
When the moment of “choice” comes, instead of falling into the trap of asking yourself will I…? and having to rely on will-I-power, the decision is done. You already made it. You are a healthy eater. All you have to do is reinforce your identity with your behavior.
Ex. Declare: “I’m a healthy eater.”
Action: Follow through with eating vegetables.
Reinforce: I am a healthy eater because I ate vegetables.
. . .
I’m all about simple switches that make a big difference. I’ve only shared suggestions that I’ve used myself. If you’re inspired to try out any (all?) of these tips, I’d love to hear how it’s going for you!