Your Success with New Year’s Resolutions is all B.S.
Your success with New Year’s Resolutions is all B.S.
There, I’ve said it.
Just before the countdown to the new year, you might have already compiled a list, whether in writing, or in your head, of all of the goals that you wanted to accomplish for 2019.
But, honestly, your success this year in accomplishing your goals is all really B.S…
...belief systems, that is.
I must give credit for this clever acronym to Ralph Smart, most well-known by his Youtube channel “Infinite Waters (Diving Deep).”
What are belief systems? Collins Dictionary online defines a “belief system” as: “a person or society is the set of beliefs that they have about what is right and wrong and what is true and false.”
So much of what we are able to accomplish is based on what we believe to be true about ourselves. While at each year’s end we might take stock of the year that has finished and make goals for the next year to accomplish, really what we can achieve is only what we subconsciously feel we are worthy of accomplishing.
What do you believe you are worthy of achieving in 2019?
So often we resolution-creators go into the new year and “break” them only a couple of weeks...or days...or even hours...after the new year starts.
If we’re paying attention deeply, we might realize that the patterns of our behavior stem from the subconscious thoughts:
Who am I to want to accomplish this? Who am I to lose weight? Who am I to actually get over my chronic ailments when so many others are suffering? Who am I to feel vibrant, have boundless energy and actually...enjoy life? In all honestly...who are we not to?!
Who are we not to just survive but THRIVE?!
Which reminds me of that quote by Marianne Williamson…
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
(If the word “God” doesn’t work for you - feel free to substitute a different word that resonates with you).
Honestly, even in writing this blog article, I have been thinking to myself, “Who am I to write this blog post? How many blog posts must have been written about this 'silly' New Year’s Resolution topic? Why would mine even matter? Won’t people just laugh at me?" Well...who am I not to, because so much of what I am talking about here is what people struggle with all year long to accomplish their goals, whether they call them “New Year’s Resolutions” or just their daily “to-do” list…
I could give excuses to myself why I can’t write this blog article: "I don’t have the time"..."I’m too tired"..."My projects can be done tomorrow," etc. But what it really comes down to, honestly, is that we can have results or we can have excuses, but we can’t have both!
New Year’s Resolutions seem so cliche and easy to make fun of the resolutions themselves and the people who make them. One of the biggest goals is to lose weight. I know, lots of you may be rolling your eyes out there, because so many of us make these goals, and most of us end up abandoning our efforts.
But honestly, creating goals and intentions at this time of year seems to make a lot of logical sense. We in the Northern Hemisphere have just experienced six months where the daylight in each day got shorter and shorter. Many people report symptoms of "Seasonal Affective Disorder" starting around the Fall time change (first weekend in November) throughout the winter, characterized by feelings of depression and lethargy. I often feel a huge energy drain from about October 31st until sometime after the first day of Winter, which is the shortest day of sunlight. We also often have cravings for rich, comforting foods and seem to be hungrier in as the winter approaches.
After all the winter feasting and celebrating, it is only natural that we start to feel uncomfortable in our bodies, bloated with so much sodium, moody because of all the sugar, and want to retreat, have a few moments of quiet reflection, and realize that we want to shed excess weight and feel more energized. Although the light isn't very strong in the first months of the year, feeling the anticipation of a fresh new year and creating New Year's Resolutions can actually be beneficial. I think it’s more than perfectly ok and empowering to create goals and a vision for what we would like to accomplish this year. And it is actually possible to achieve them! So how can we untangle our belief systems and get what we want this year?
I propose 12 steps to consider:
1. Determine your GOAL.
What do you want to accomplish this year? Is it to get a full 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Is it to lose 30 pounds? Is it to consistently keep your morning blood sugar low? To exercise most days of the week for your mental and cardiovascular health? Have more time for self-care? Meditate? Quit cigarettes, alcohol, or caffeine?
Write this goal on a large index card. If you are interested in losing or gaining weight, write your ideal weight on the card on the opposite side in the middle.
2. Figure out your WHY.
On your index card, write down WHY you want to achieve this goal.
After you have written out your goal, close your eyes and really get clear . Why do you want to achieve this goal? Are you overweight with health challenges and want to be around to have enough energy to run around with your children and be there to support them with your presence, instead of feeling weighed down, tired, wired, and impatient? Do you feel fatigued and anxious and want to feel joyful and calm again to enjoy life with your family and friends? Write this “why” on your index card after your goal.
3. FEEL into it.
With your eyes closed, really feel in your body and emotions what it would be like if you achieved your goal. For instance - what would it feel like if you would be at your optimum state of health? What would it feel like to live without the chronic pain you feel? What would you be able to do without having the pain hold you back? What would you be able to do if you weren’t out of breath? What would you be able to do if you no longer had to rely on caffeine and other stimulants to get through your day? What would it be like to not feel stressed and tired?
3. Next, get SPECIFIC.
You will need to write out your goal as specifically as possible in what is called a “S.M.A.R.T. goal”. The acronym stands for the following:
Specific - What do you want to achieve? Why? What are your reasons? (You’ve got this part already, skip to the next part)
Measurable - How do you know when it will be accomplished? How much? How many?
Achievable - Is it achievable in your current lifestyle? Is it realistic?
Relevant - Does this match your current life and where you imagine your life will be heading?
Time-bound - When will this happen? When is your deadline? Will it need to occur just once or will it need to happen daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc.?
Here are some examples:
I want to lose thirty pounds in 2019 so that I may feel more energy, less weighed down, be able to hike without being out of breath, and feel excited about my life again. I will aim to lose one pound per week for 30 weeks (7.5 months) by eating three meals a day each containing an appropriate serving of fruit, vegetables, grain, protein source, and fat without added sugar and processed additives.
I want to be well-hydrated by drinking three 32oz. bottles of water by the end of each day because my body needs water in daily processes and I have been experiencing headaches probably due to a lack of regular water consumption. I want to live life free of headaches so that I can contribute to my work and family. I will fill my 32oz. water bottle with filtered water and consume three of these bottles each day.
4. Repetition and the creation of a VISION BOARD.
Take your card and copy out your goals onto a few other cards to keep by your bed, bathroom mirror or refrigerator, car, office, and wallet so that you may see your goals many times throughout your day and be reminded of the very emotional reasons why you want to achieve your goal. If you are improving your health because you want to be present for yourself and your loved ones, post photos of them. If you want to make changes to contribute to your work environment, have up a picture of your coworkers or students. You could also create a vision board and include your card, photos, as well as words and pictures from magazines or printed from your computer that will depict what it will be like when you achieve your goal.
5. In the evening, WRITE IT OUT.
Have a notebook near your bed. Write down your goal and the actions will take. This might look like a to-do list for the next day to help you work toward your goals. Also, if your goal is nutrition-related, write out your meals that you will consume the next day. That way, when tomorrow comes around, you will be primed and ready to carry out the tasks/meals. One of the biggest problems with actually carrying out your desires is knowing what to do to get your goal accomplished and following through. Writing the list ahead of time will take out the guesswork the following day!
6. VISUALIZE what you desire.
In addition to the vision board mentioned in #4, before bed each night, visualize yourself achieving your goal. You could also visualize your goal anytime you want - when you wake up, while you are in line at the grocery store or in a waiting room, when you’re taking a break, etc. But, I especially find visualizing your goal while lying in bed to be especially powerful because you take your vision to sleep with you. During the night, the subconscious soaks in this vision and will help you to manifest this during your waking hours.
So, visualize what your next day will be in terms of how you will carry out ACTIONS to achieve your goal. For instance, if you are working on consuming nutritious meals, picture yourself joyfully preparing your healthy meals and consuming only the foods that you plan to eat. Through this visualization, rehearse in your mind the day to come, and you will find when you wake up that you know exactly what to do so that you will procrastinate less and carry out the actions!
7. Affirm, Affirm, AFFIRM.
To go back to the Marianne Williamson quote before, who are we not to achieve our goals? We have been carrying around so much BS throughout our lives. The belief systems we carry can impede our progress and make it so hard, or darned near impossible to achieve our goals. We need to get out of our own way. Our fear is what holds us back. There are so many reasons for why we hold these BS, and usually it is because our subconscious mind has beliefs that it developed from situations growing up, societal expectations, family dynamics, negative messages we received from peers and teachers.
We can change all of this from creating affirmations. Growing up as children, many of us were not raised to be intrinsically motivated, but needed adults to motivate us (nag us) to get the things done that needed to be done. These affirmations shift from needing some external person to do the motivating, to having our own self be the motivator. Writing these out on another index card and carrying the card around throughout the day to restate the affirmations will be very helpful. But, affirmations are specifically helpful before bed. Here are some examples of health, vitality, and weight loss affirmations that you can adapt for your particular situation:
I feel vibrant and my thinking is clear.
I feel happy, light, thin, and free.
I crave foods which will nourish my body and maintain a slim, healthy weight.
I am satisfied for several hours after eating.
My blood sugar is balanced and at an optimal level.
I feel calm, rested, and clarity of mind to contribute to my work and home environment.
8. Slow down and PAY ATTENTION.
We sometimes have these monstrous voices inside our head that says terrible things that we would never dream of saying to another human being. Through all the work above, especially the affirmations, this helps to remedy the negative self-talk. Experts have suggested that we don’t use our minds to their fullest capacities. So, now is the time to use our minds before our minds use us. In other words, let’s create a positive headspace, rather than let our minds go wild and create really messed up, negative self-talk!
From this work, you might notice that you have an increasingly more prominent positive voice who is nurturing, supportive, and like our own personal cheerleader (or...wise grandparent, loving friend, supportive school teacher, fill-in-the-blank, who knows the truth about how amazing we are).
Throughout your day, observe your thinking. If you find that you are having negative self-talk, rephrase and reframe the messages you receive. If you hear “I want cupcakes so bad, I’ll never be able to lose weight,” you can replace it with, “I have plenty of delicious, sweet fruit in my kitchen. Through consuming fruit for snack, it will deliver important nutrients AND give me the sweetness I desire. I am fully capable of making positive choices.” Then, a glance at your nearby index card and vision board if possible, with pictures of the loved ones, should remind you of your mission to get back on track.
9. Internalizing a NEW IDENTITY through consistent action.
If you REALLY want to achieve what you dream, it takes a whole new identity shift. This really is a matter of changing the beliefs about yourself so much that you change aspects of your identity. Some people like the IDEA of their goal, but they aren’t willing to put in the consistent action (because...BS, of course!)
Subconsciously what we currently believe is possible can be what really takes us down. But you can change all of that. You can transform into a person who carries out the action that gets you success. For instance, if I want to lose 30 pounds, I am a person who eats whole, nutritionally dense foods. I am the kind of person who doesn’t consume sugar, flour, or fried processed foods. I am the kind of person who goes to the gym everyday. Feel free to adapt an identity for your particular goal. You can add images that depict this new identity to add to your vision board.
10. Resolutions should be allowed to BEND and not break!
More BS lies in the “all or nothing” approach that so much of us have grown up with in our culture. For instance, with the notion that if we don’t stay on a regimented diet, we have failed. If we haven’t RESOLVED to carry out our resolutions perfectly, well we’re failures, and we just disregard our goal and forget about it. Of course if we have the belief that we always break New Year’s Resolutions, this will always be the case, won’t it?
So, I propose that we continue to articulate our aspirations, goals, resolutions, but we should never consider any “broken.” Just like any new habit that we want to begin and continue through our life, we need to continue to work towards these and never give up. We need to be people who carry out actions, have determination, and when we bend a little, we have perseverance to keep going through it all! The important part is to go to bed and get up the next day willing to put in more effort!
11. Create a GRATITUDE Journal or Jar.
Another way to continue to bring out that positive, supportive, inner guide is to be in awe and wonder of the abundance that you already have in life, as well as the accomplishments that we have already achieved. Have a notebook to write in to record your daily gratitudes. What might be especially tactile and fun is creating a gratitude jar where you write out your gratitudes each day on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and toss it into the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve 2019, dump out the jar and read all of your gratitudes. I started this and I can’t wait - I think it will be very powerful!
12. Overwhelmed? BABY STEPS.
If you are overwhelmed by all of the points I made, I urge you just to take baby steps each day toward your goals. Remember, we only have this one precious life to live. In this urgency, realize that the time is now to create change in ourselves that will ripple out to our world that is challenged. If we move a little closer to our vision each day, we can make a big difference over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Don’t ever give up hope. The BS can eventually fall away and we can be more and more effective in creating the world together that needs to be created. I wish you all the best in your journey!
If you are interested in accomplishing your nutrition and lifestyle goals for 2019 and would like the support of a consultant, I am available. I am offering a FREE 30-minute Strategy Session to see how I can support you this year! Please click here for more information.