Let’s be honest. 2019 was rough. Based on the posts, funny memes, and comments I see as I scroll through FaceBook, most of you will agree. 2020 cannot get here soon enough.
For many, midnight on New Year’s Eve ushers in a new beginning, a new year, a new chance at life. If you’re anything like me, you may need a calendar to say it’s a new month or a new year to start anything new. Only recently have I started to pull away from this thinking, because honestly, you really don’t need the clock to strike midnight or the calendar to say it’s the 1st of the month before you start making changes.
Even still, we can look ahead to 2020 – a mere 3 days away – with hope and excitement for the clean slate and new opportunities.
Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you though:
It’s going to take more than the flip of a calendar page to change your life.
It’s going to take focus, determination, dedication, motivation, and a deep desire to want something more for yourself.
We’re all familiar with resolutions. The end of a year nears and we decide that we want next year to be different. And 2019, as we said, was rough. So we resolve to make 2020 better.
We’re going to be happier, save more money, lose those holiday pounds plus a few more, go to the gym more, connect more with family and friends, be kinder to our neighbor. Whatever it is, we resolve to be “better” at it.
And January 1st comes along, and after we push through that nasty hangover from the too-much-champagne-partying we did the night before, we strap on our running shoes and hit the pavement. Maybe we stick with it for the first few days, weeks, even.
And then the end of January to mid-February comes, and we give up. Find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone: according to Psychology Today, 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February because we fail to set clear goals, get discouraged, become overwhelmed, or are not truly ready for change.
How many of you have started a new workout routine only to fail three weeks later? 🙋🏽
How many of you have started eating healthier in attempt to lose weight only to find yourself gorging on that leftover tray of brownies at midnight? 🙋🏽
How many of you have thought, “I want to be better,” “I want something different for myself,” or “I want change” only to find yourself returning to your same unhealthy habits and lifestyles? 🙋🏽
This isn’t because we don’t want to do it. And it isn’t because we can’t do it.
It’s because we aren’t being clear about who we are now and who we want to become. It’s because we aren’t taking the time to reflect on where we are, how we got there, and how we could possibly move forward.
Sure, it’s easy to hang up a picture on our vision board and dream of being fitter, richer, healthier, or happier. Sure, it’s easy to want those things.
But it’s much harder to achieve those things because we think that we can just will ourselves into a lifestyle change. We think we can will ourselves into spending less money and saving it. We think we can will ourselves to be 15-lbs lighter.
But we can’t will ourselves to do anything we don’t prepare ourselves for.
So, then, how do we enact change? How do we improve our lives if we don’t believe we actually can do it? How do we instill new habits if it takes more than the 21 days common opinion leads us to believe it should take? How do we maintain that energy, commitment, and focus when the going gets tough?
GET TO KNOW YOURSELF BETTER.
Who are you? What do you value? What in your life supports those values? What in your life contradicts those values? What are your goals? What does your dream life look like? What is going really well for you right now? What could use improvement?
BE CLEAR ABOUT THE CHANGES YOU WANT TO MAKE.
Those things that contradict your values? They need to go. No questions asked. Commit to changing those things. Commit to increasing the amount of activities, friends, etc. that support your values. Be clear about your goals – why you want to achieve them and the steps you need to take to achieve them.
REFRAME YOUR THINKING.
Instead of saying, “I am going to go to the gym 3 times a week and run twice a week,” we commit to:
I am a healthy, active adult who takes care of her body.
By believing that you are already the thing you are trying to become, you have a better chance of achieving that state of living. The popular belief of The Laws of Attraction state, “It is only through the practice of this type of visualization, that you will be able to set your thoughts, feelings, words, emotions, and actions in alignment with your goals.”
And when you are contemplating gorging on that tray of brownies? Ask yourself if the “healthy, active adult who takes care of her body” would eat more than just one brownie.
FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR YOUR MISTAKES.
No one is perfect. Even that girl at the gym with the seemingly perfect swimsuit ready, six-pack abs. She misses her workouts too.
And it’s OK if you miss a day. It’s OK if you need to miss a week because you came down with the flu. This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost and your will never reach your goals. It just means that your timeline needs to be adjusted. It means that the moment you are feeling better, you should get out for a walk. It means that you, too, are human, and will have days when you don’t hit your mark.
Tomorrow is another chance to take a step in the right direction.
Stay tuned for tips on how to live your life with intent and how to enact the changes you hope to see in 2020.