Every January I get swept up in the New year New me hype and consequently end up making some ridiculous resolutions along the lines of cutting back or banning certain things. Last year it was sugar-free and whilst I generally did feel great for the mini detox (especially after a typically unhealthy December), I needlessly turned down a lot of social events. Which was tragically out of pure stubbornness for not deeming myself a failure! Ultimately when I fell off the wagon I fell hard. I ended up bingeing on that much junk food I made myself ill. Funnily enough I never had an issue with sugar (or weight!) beforehand, and totally cringe looking back.
As you may know, I’m always looking for ways to self-improve so a lot of my resolutions have been in this vein. But in hindsight, resolutions (‘rules‘) are sometimes so overly rigid that they can drive me crazy and dominate my thoughts. I tend to adopt an all in all out attitude and probably still think like a child in the sense that if you tell me NO then I now want whatever it is, x 100. Aside from being healthy, I’m not even sure what I was realistically aiming to achieve by going cold turkey when I could have probably just implemented a few small changes whilst maintaining my sanity. It’s true that small good habits really stack up in the quest for behaviour change.
Like me, I think a lot of people are swept up by the New Year resolution hype. Feeling as though they should be aiming to improve. Why? Because everyone else is.
Have you made resolutions this year?
The big ones seem to (as usual) be along the health and fitness realm. Whether that is giving up all aspects of a social life because everyday is #gymday or total elimination like #dryjanuary, or saving so much you turn into full hibernating squirrel. Or perhaps you now feel the sudden need to read a book a week, or become a full on yogi by February, master meditation, create a 10 piece capsule wardrobe, or throw everything out because you read about #minimalism.
I think we are all guilty of this.
I look around me and see people adopting the same self destroying resolutions as previous me. It doesn’t work because it’s never good to jump straight into the deep end. To create a perfect 10 item wardrobe and become completely minimalist when you previously hoarded everything and the kitchen sink? Or the biggest meat-eater now turning vegan for the month. What it does is make you sick of the very behaviour you’re trying to adopt. Sick of cutting meat & dairy out when in reality you needed to do it slowly, make the small changes into habits and manageable behaviours. This way it becomes easier, meaningful and you become much more mindful over the new behaviour.
This year I proudly said a firm No to resolutions and I honestly feel a sense of relief. Note to self:
Don’t make resolutions
..and of course rules too. Formulating rigid rules can be detrimental to success. Going cold turkey is hard, and making restrictions or rules so overly rigid will serve as a mental hindrance.
Ban should and shouldn’t language
Stop saying these words. Simple but effective. Psychological research supports this too – when people say they could rather than should do something, they are more likely to follow through with that behaviour.
Don’t jump straight in
I see so many people fall off the wagon because they attempt to go from 0 to 100 (or 100 to 0!) right off the get go.
- Never been to the gym before? Don’t jump into a 7 day weight lifting program!
- Struggle to drink water? Then you’ll struggle to drink 2 litres a day at the start. Perhaps incorporate an extra glass before one meal and once you’ve conquered that do it for all meals
- Find reading hard? Then it seems you are wasting your precious time. You can get the information in so many other forms, audio books, Ted talks, documentaries, TV shows. You sure as hell do not need to pressure yourself into doing something you take no pleasure from!
- Veganism? At least aim to adapt a vegetarian lifestyle first and foremost
- Feel overwhelmed about cutting so much out? Whatever it is, make that first step small, then build on
It’s the little things we do daily that amount to who we are. Little by little these small habits stack up and contribute to a bigger change or goal.
I would love to hear if you made resolutions this year & whether you stuck to them 🙂
Hope you enjoyed reading and have a great day!