So we have survived the first week of 2021, has your New Year’s Resolution survived too?
Probably not. In the face of so many challenges, who can blame you! but did you give yourself any chance to succeed in the first place?
The thing with New Year’s Resolutions, is we tend to make wishy-washy goals that we know we should do but that don’t excite us in any way such as “Eat more healthily”, or “get fitter”.
Think about it. Could you ever tick that off as complete? Can you assign a real, tangible picture to it in your mind? The chances are you can’t.
I have been guilty of this very thing year after year, making promises to myself that I couldn’t achieve, based on the logic of being fitter or healthier or whatever, feeling deep down that this was a chore – not being able to eat cake, not having my lie ins and having to drag myself up to exercise … all negative, all feeling like effort and work.
If you don’t want to get up at 5am to go for a run, if you check the weather at night and see it’s going to be dark and cold and are dreading your alarm going off in the morning, guess what, you aren’t getting up for that run. Your mind is actively preventing you from doing this because it’s job is to move you away from pain i.e. Running in the cold, dark morning, and towards pleasure such as your cosy bed. You are telling yourself you need to run, at the same time as you are telling yourself how much you don’t want to. The positive emotions of being in your warm, cosy bed will always win over the logic of needing to be fitter.
As an RTT student, I help myself and others change those emotions so our mind is working for us, we need to find a way to change the picture. Slimming groups used to recommend you put a picture of yourself at your biggest on your fridge. The idea being that, rather than thinking of how much you will enjoy the chocolate bar in the fridge, you see the results of eating too many chocolate bars and that image dissuades you. Please don’t do this by the way, negative conditioning like this is terrible and only creates more guilt and shame for a lot of us and then leads to more comfort eating.
Rather than a cautionary tale, We need to create an idealised version to aspire to that really speaks to us, our happy thought. For some that might be a picture of the finish line of the London Marathon, A designer dress they would like to fit into or getting a qualification. For others, it could be having the energy to play with their child in the park for half an hour without having to stop for a rest. It doesn’t matter how big or small the aspiration is, all that matters is it speaks to us on a personal level, we can see it, we can hear it and we can feel it.
So knowing this, how do we set make that perfect image a goal? We make it SMART
No they don’t need to be written in Shakespearian English – They need to be:
So to use the example of “eat more healthily”, this could look something like “To eat 5 fruits and vegetables every day” or someone wanting to improve their fitness could say, I want to be able to run 5K by the end of May. Now this is giving a very specific target and at the end of the period of time you have set, a clear answer to if you have met that goal.
One of my goals this year is to write this blog every week, so I can share my learning with you and I know that is something I am definitely going to achieve.
Now you have a fantastic goal, reaching it is just like getting to Neverland, all you need is a little fairy dust (a SMART goal) and YOUR happy thought.