A month in!
Don't stop just yet.
Motivation can lead the way like
the Olympic Flame, but about a month in we start to realize it takes more than
motivation to create the lifestyle we
want. New Year’s Resolutions are inspiring,
hopeful, and maybe even a little scary
sometimes. I chatted with my brother,
Nate Metzger, LMHCA in training, on this topic to hone in on 5 tips for making our
resolutions stick a little better and a little longer.
1. One of the biggest deterrents to even creating resolutions is that they can be scary. Scary because Failure is no Fun; in business, in life, in fitness, and in relationships. But, in spite of how awful failure can feel, it is a stepping stone to something even bigger. Those dreadful moments of realizing how bad we failed can be like a compass pointing us to what our hearts are really after and the lifestyle we really want. Failure is a great teacher to let us know what we really want. It doesn't let us settle. So when setting resolutions or changing our lives one step at a time, don't forget to allow room for failure. Plan it in. Not "plan it in" as in "on Thursday, I'm going to eat a whole pizza and three red velvet cakes! Done and done!" Plan it in as in expect a failure now and then. Knowing it's going to happen makes failure hurt a little less and you will know what to do for Plan B. Plan how you will talk to yourself when you fail. Plan how you will encourage yourself when you fail and plan how you will start incorporating your steps back in. Be real. We all fail and it’s ok. Let’s plan it in and move on past it again and again. Success is in the recovery.
2. Self discipline is required. Yes, just like the furniture we buy at IKEA requires assemblage, changing our habits and thoughts requires self discipline. And unfortunately, our life goals and dreams don’t always come mapped out in black and white diagrams of “put this here” “put that there” “A connects to B”. The term self discipline can make our eyes roll to the back of our heads because it always comes up, but the reality is, it’s either be disciplined to get what you want or be upset and disappointed when you don’t have the lifestyle you want. Whether it’s going to bed at a certain time, waking up at a certain time, or even making an effort to "chillax" and enjoy family when your brain is on fire to “do” something, it all requires a certain element of making yourself do something you really don’t want to do in the moment to get something you want even more in the future.
3. Many times, resolutions and behavior changes don’t happen because you are missing the triggers to remind you to incorporate them. A couple ideas are to put alarms on your phone to remind you of your goals. Have it go off a couple different times a day. Put notes up in the bathroom, the kitchen, the car, the pantry. Remind yourself constantly of why you are making a change and envision what you want of this life. Ask a close friend to call you once a week to remind you of why you are making these changes. Write down your why and think on it every night before going to sleep and look at it again when you wake up.
4. Not only do we need to remind
ourselves of what we want, so we can
follow through on our ideas, we also need to schedule it in. I don’t know about you,
but if I don’t write it down in my agenda, it’s just probably not going to happen. Sometimes it does and I’m so thankful, but that’s happenstance and not reliable for the next time. I know better than to trust that haphazard method! Some goals can seem overwhelming so the
key is to break it down into small steps and schedule in each step. So instead of
writing down a goal of “be more kind”, schedule in moments to breathe and
think kind thoughts, pray, meditate, and think of a way to be more kind in certain
situations that you would normally struggle being kind. You can also reverse engineer
the process and write down the steps
from the end to the beginning so you can
clearly see what is needed. Take an evening to set up a plan and contact a friend to hold you accountable or even better, join you. Don't wait for the motivation to guide you. Put the work in first and let that effort bolster your actions even more. Pep talk yourself. Be nice and positive. Even if it’s silly, talk to yourself and remind yourself why you set these goals. The point is to get started, put the effort in and then let motivation follow. Don’t let lack of knowledge stop you. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense until you actually start doing it.
5. The last key component to keeping your New Year’s resolution is to be honest and figure out what is holding you back from doing it currently. Is it a negative
outlook telling you it wouldn’t matter even if you tried? A hint of laziness that holds you back from taking action today? Or is it a lack of clarity as to why it REALLY matters to begin with? Don’t hate yourself for any of those. Just know you can change mindsets, laziness, and confusion. Not all the time, but enough to make those small changes become big changes later. What’s holding you back? What can you change about that obstacle? What can’t you change about that obstacle? Be creative and find small steps you can take. Focus all your efforts and energy on those small steps.
Here's to your year to create the lifestyle you want!