3 Reasons You Might Be Failing at "New Year, New You"
Every year so many of us approach the New Year with unbridled spirits, quite positive that this is our year. “New year, new you!” It’s everywhere we look on social media. I must confess that I’ve never cared for new years resolution per say. Am I being cynical? Absolutely I am! Because year after year I ended up feeling like a failure!
When I was growing up my mom would make us sit down on New Year’s Day and write out our resolutions. We were to divide them into various categories: physical, academic, extra curricular,
personal, and spiritual. I was not a fan of this ritual at all. For my mom, it was energizing, but not for me. I never really understood why I didn’t like to do it, besides the fact that I have an unnatural disdain for doing what everyone else is doing. I liked setting goals and reaching them, so what was it? It was not until recently that I’ve really come to understand why I loathed the “new year, new you” resolution setting occasion.
I am an extremely impulsive person and I operate best in a state of mild chaos. I do my best work at the last minute and I am most creative when I have no choice, but to make it work. So it should go without saying that getting organized, compartmentalizing my life and mapping out my year never felt very natural to me. More than that, I hated the feeling of failing and year after year I felt like I had failed, which resulted in my disdain for New Year's resolutions. Not until recently have I begun to understand why. So I wanted to share with you the reasons that I was failing and maybe the reasons you're failing too.
1-You haven’t found the right way to motivate yourself.
For some people large, lofty goals are the motivation that they need to get off of that couch and make the most of every day. Large, lofty goals tend to send me into a downward spiral of anxiety fueled by wine and Cheezits. I’ve found that I’m much more motivated when I set short term, attainable goals, or challenges. I don’t feel overwhelmed and can reward myself at the end of each challenge. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have long-term goals; I just am more motivated focusing on the short term. Then, if I mess up, I can just set a new goal. So, I had a Coke, ok, well my six weeks of no Coke starts again. How are motivated? There’s not one size fits all motivation.
2- You focus on the end result.
You see “Susie” on Facebook posting the results of her workout. Susie’s letting everyone know that she ran ten miles today and now she’s showing you her six-pack abs and saying things like, “Still have a ways to go. No excuses. #iwakeuplikethis #nofilter” Meanwhile, you’re sitting on the couch, wine glass in hand, looking at Susie’s abs and you think, “This is it! I am changing! I’m going to do what it takes to look like Susie! I mean, not now, I’ll do it at the New Year.” Then you finish the bottle because you’ve got drink while you can. After some time of trying to eat healthier, getting a gym membership and doing everything you know to do, you find yourself frustrated because you don’t look like Susie yet. In fact, you’re drinking that wine again and you just had a Milky Way. You feel like a failure and wonder if this is just not meant to be. You haven’t failed! You just skipped some steps in your mind. You wanted that instant gratification and satisfaction of those rock solid abs and you look down and just see the remnants of that Milky Way bar reminding you of your failure. In your mind, you are motivating yourself for the end result instead of motivating yourself for each step along the way. Yes, you had that wine and ate that Milky Way, but you went to the gym yesterday or you’re going to go tomorrow. Celebrate the victories in each step. Don’t focus on the six-pack abs. Start by focusing on what your pee looks like. Yep, that’s what I said. Is your pee bright yellow or is it more clear. If you’re well hydrated your pee should be almost clear. Well, shoot for that, and then when you achieve it, celebrate! When Susie puts up her next post you can take solace in the fact that you have clear pee. No matter the goal, there are small steps that we sometimes overlook when we are focused only on the big goal at the end. If you want to be a fisherman, you can start by having someone to teach you how to fish, even get a boat, but if you end up in your boat, with all the fishing knowledge in the world, but you skipped the step of buying a fishing rod, well, you’re not going to be much of a fisherman that day.
3- You compare yourself to everyone else.
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by pictures and stories of everyone in their best moments. We think Susie must have it all together. We judge ourselves more harshly because of what we see from Susie. Let me tell you something. Susie does not have it all together! None of us do! She may have an inspirational quote for every day, meanwhile you have a cynical quote for everyday. That doesn’t make you less of a person that Susie. She has her own battles and her own insecurities, trust me! Instead, focus on you. Focus on your victories and know that you will fail many more times than you will succeed. That’s what makes success so sweet. And for every time that you fail, you learn what not to do. You learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Focus on the next step and do that until you succeed, but don’t compare your journey with someone else’s. We’ve all been at the point where we feel like we’ve failed and we can’t find the strength to try again. Well, I’m pleading with you, don’t give up yet!
These things have helped me not loathe goal setting and resolution making like I did when I was a kid, but that doesn't mean that I don't fail. If you feel like you're failing at this year, approach your resolutions and goals differently. Put them in terms that work for you. Find what motivates you. Focus on the steps in the process instead of the end goal. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. More than anything though, stop putting so much pressure on yourself and love the you that you are right now. Laugh at yourself more often. Remind yourself that you are more than the sum of your failures and successes. And when all else fails, have a glass of wine and start again tomorrow.