We’re good at making new years resolutions. We’re lousy at making new years resolutions stick. A mere 8% of us succeed.
As a gym rat, I see the evidence every year. Each January, the gym is suddenly, and expectedly, filled beyond capacity. It’s hard to find an open treadmill, elliptical or bike. By the end of January things return to normal.
As you cross the line into 2018, you might consider a different approach to make your new years resolutions stick.
Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Stick
The problem begins with our focus on continuous growth and improvement. This may not be true of all cultures, but it’s certainly true in western capitalistic societies. Nothing is good enough as it is. It has to be bigger, more, better. “Grow or die.” We expect the same of ourselves and others. The critique is endless. For some it’s non-stop. I should be thinner. I should work out. I should be less anxious. I should visit my parents more often. I should reinvent myself, after all, everyone else is. The underlying messages are:
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not doing enough
- I’m doing too many bad things, and ultimately
- I’m not enough as I am
Why don’t new years resolutions stick? Self-loathing is not a good starting point for change.
To Make New Years Resolutions Stick, Try This
Resolve to celebrate the best of who you are now. You’re likely to experience more joy and acceptance of yourself and others. It’s a much better starting place for making your new years resolutions stick.
Step 1: Identify the best of who you are and what you do.
- I’m empathetic
- I’m insightful
- I maintain a healthy diet
- I work out at least twice a week
- I’m curious
- I’m generous in helping family and friends with career, work, relationship and interpersonal issues
- I express gratitude and appreciation
If this is difficult, ask others to identify your best qualities.
You’ll be feeling pretty good about yourself at this point in the process.
Write down who it is you resolve to continue being and what you resolve to continue doing.
“I resolve to continue expressing gratitude and appreciation”
“I resolve to continue being a caring friend”
Review your progress on a regular basis. To what degree are you maintaining your commitments to continue being your best self?
Soon you’ll be feeling better about who you are, just as you are.
You may decide to keep going just as you are because you’re enough. Maybe you’d like to add something that enhances your positive qualities. Perhaps you’d like to be generous in a different way by volunteering at a local women’s shelter.
Using your positive qualities as a springboard will help you make stickier new years resolutions. Maybe you don’t need to change a thing because you’re fine just as you are. That’s a new years resolution you can really make stick!