Have you been thinking about how you’re going to improve your life in 2014? Before you make those resolutions, try reading this exceptional article by Annie, the social media coordinator at St. Jude Retreats. She’s got 5 ways we set ourselves up for failure, so we can avoid our past mistakes and actually keep our resolutions this year!
The beginning of a new year is often a time where people evaluate their past, regardless if it is the past year or in their lifetime up until now. Hours and hours are invested in reminiscing, remembering, rejoicing and more often than not- reconsidering. Reconsidering what worked and what didn’t for us, what we would like to keep and what to leave in the past.
Creating plans, resolutions and vowing on doing better in general is nothing new and we love the way we feel when we are shedding the past and welcoming the future. It is simply exhilarating! However, in the euphoria that follows we make some common mistakes when creating our New Year’s resolutions which impedes our success in eventually accomplishing them.
Here is a list of some simple ways to recognize whether you’re on the right track with your resolution-making:
1) Reality vs. Perception
One of the most important aspects of creating successful resolutions is to be realistic in your evaluation of your past, present and future. Remember that you are making resolutions in the first place to improve your own life, because you need or want that change, not because of anyone else’s wishes or demands.
Do you need to lose a few pounds or do you need to completely overhaul your unhealthy eating habits? Do you need to get a new job because you don’t like the current one or do you need to work harder on a promotion that can get you where you want to be in a comfortable and familiar environment much faster? Do you have a drinking problem or do you simply need to learn to moderate your alcohol use?
Try to be as realistic in your evaluation as possible. Maybe you can even involve someone else in that process if you are experiencing trouble in seeing the difference between the reality of your situation and your perception of it.
2) Grand Plans vs. Achievable Goals
The next common mistake people make is to overestimate their ability to accomplish the goals they set for themselves for the New Year. This is usually the reason for people burning out faster and completely giving up on their resolutions.
Don’t make it harder on yourself! Try and choose achievable and realistic goals that you can accomplish. Even better, create a plan with small steps you can take each day/week/month towards a higher accomplishment. “I’ll run a marathon this year” definitely sounds more intimidating than “ I will run 15 minutes a day, so by the end of the year I can run a marathon.”
3) Overdoing It vs. Pacing Ourselves
When it comes to resolutions, people tend to think in a larger scale and that creates larger expectations, which in their turn requires larger tasks to be accomplished. Eating healthy is a great resolution, but if you have been enjoying meat all your life and you decide to become a vegetarian on January 1st, chances are you will fail by February 1st.
You will fail not because you are incapable of accomplishing your goal of becoming a vegetarian or living a healthy lifestyle in general, but because you are overdoing it in the beginning and not giving your body and mind the opportunity to accept and welcome the change. Instead you are forcing yourself to do something that doesn’t yet feel natural to you.
You want a healthier lifestyle? Start with a smaller change such as exchange the soda for juice or fruit water, and make a commitment to do it for one month. Then the next month (continue the first step though), commit to eating twice as many veggies as you do breads and pastas; and so on, so forth. Take your time, pace yourself and remember- slow and steady wins the race.
4) Alone vs. Supported
People are social animals, as they say. When you are contemplating a major change in your lifestyle, it may be more difficult for you if you don’t have the support of the people around you. Therefore, rally your troops or even better- find somebody who wants to make the same/similar change(s) and do it together.
5) Results vs. Expectations
Personally, I believe the biggest mistake people make with resolutions is to be unhappy with the oftentimes incremental results they achieve in making these resolutions a reality. If you set out to lose 30 lbs in 3 months and have only lost 25, so what? You are that much healthier and that much closer to actually achieving your goal. Don’t let results that may be less than you’d expected or hoped for disappoint you. Any progress is valuable! The good things in life take time, patience and a positive attitude.
This year, when you make your New Year’s resolutions, you can avoid these common mistakes. Maybe, just maybe, this will bring you closer to your expectations, hopes and seeing positive results in 2014.
Happy New Year!
About the Author
The following is a guest post by Annie, Social Media Coordinator for St. Jude Retreats – a non 12 step alternative to conventional alcohol and drug rehab.
I’d like to add here (it’s part of Annie’s mistake #2) the fact that most of us don’t properly plan for success. For instance, we say we’ll stop smoking, but do we actually think about what we’re going to do when we’re faced with a craving or figure out what our triggers are so we can avoid them? Can YOU add to Annie’s list of common mistakes when making resolutions?