By Lauren Olsen, January 26 2020 —
Now that the first two weeks of dedicated and full-on New Year’s resolutions have come to an end, I feel like it’s an appropriate time for a little reminder of why you set those goals in the first place. It’s easy to be motivated and focused on January 1st. You’re fresh off a month of partying and indulging and feeling a little fluffy in the body and cloudy in the mind. You just want to get your shit together so you’re full of piss and vinegar and good intentions.
Two weeks later you’re probably feeling worlds better than you did before and your resolve is starting to wane. That “dry-January” goal is feeling a little long and you’re tempted to have some drinks because “you deserve it”. Well, now is actually the most important time to keep those promises to yourself. Now is when you get to prove to yourself that you are stronger than your cravings or your old habits. You’re deserving of feeling proud of yourself for sticking to a goal long after the feelings you had when you made it have passed and you aren’t a victim to peer pressure or outside influences. Here is a little list of a few things that help me when I’m tempted to break promises to myself, I hope something will inspire you!
Remind yourself why you set the goals you did:
Like I said before, it’s easy to stick to a goal when you’re sitting in a bunch of miserable feelings. It’s when you start to feel better that things tend to slip. If you wrote down your goals, go back and read them. Hang them on the fridge! If you didn’t write them down, sit down on your couch, close your eyes and put yourself back to the beginning of the month and remember how you felt. It’s a basic little meditation — recall how you felt and what you were thinking at the time. And then, imagine the feeling you’ll have when you accomplish the goal you had set. Let that future feeling of accomplishment motivate you in the present.
Do one thing at a time:
Whatever your goal is, do one thing at a time. If your goal is to be more active, do one thing in the moment that supports that goal. Whether it’s a quick yoga flow in your apartment, or 20 sit ups, or a 15-minute walk or jog, just do one thing. Getting worked up over tomorrow or the weekend ahead is the fastest way to derail yourself in the moment so just deal with the moments as they come and the future will take care of itself.
Allow good feelings to compound:
I think a lot of us know all too well that bad feelings compound — one poor decision leads to more poor choices and feeling guilty for those decisions. The cycle goes on. Well, good decisions compound, too. A good decision first thing in the morning leads to better chances of another good decision to be made in the afternoon, and the evening, etc. Speaking as someone who can’t seem to accept that feeling good and happy can be a constant thing (insert eye-roll) I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and if it doesn’t drop on its own, I find a way to self-sabotage and make it drop. Here’s where some new mindset practice has to come in — we have to accept that good feelings can last. Feeling good doesn’t have to be temporary.
Alas, it was a short list, but what keeping promises to ourselves really comes down to, I think, is deciding that you’re worth it. You’re worth it to stick to those goals. You are worth quitting those self-sabotaging behaviours and habits in order to make space for new healthier ones. New habits can’t form when old ones are still in the way. I heard a great analogy on a podcast that said, “an airplane can’t land on a messy landing strip.” The universe has all sorts of greatness planned for each and everyone one of us, but most of us have our own crap piled up all over the runway. We have to clean that old stuff, those old patterns and old messes and traumas and beliefs and all that frickin’ garbage off the track so the universe can land that plane with all the good stuff on it!
The best advice I can give — and believe me when I say that I need to hear this more than anyone — is to remind yourself you’re worth it and just do one little thing at a time. Pay attention to your thoughts and bring them back when they run astray. And most importantly, don’t let little setbacks become bigger ones. Keep starting again, and eventually over time the habits do change and you’ll look back after a few months and be amazed by how far you’ve come.