Do you also have New Year’s resolutions every start of a new year?
I think that we are many having this dream to change something important for us at the beginning of a year.
New year = new start … does this sound familiar to you?
These good ideas and intentions we have:
- I will eat less sugar, drink less alcohol or anything like this
- I will do more sports and we start to run every second day
- I will work less to reduce my stress level
- Do more of this …and less of that …
Most of us start very enthusiastically to change their behaviour in January, go for a run, eat more veggies, refuse the last beer or might even have the courage to subscribe to the gym with the attractive promotion for a “one-year subscription”; mainly thinking “I will hold on for a whole year, yes I can!”.
How far did you get?
We are one month later now and which of your New Year’s Resolutions have survived so far? It’s only you that has the honest answer. But don’t get frustrated if you haven’t got very far. Be aware that you’re not the only one that abandoned already during the first month.
Why do people stop or get stuck?
The question is WYH? Why do most New Year’s resolutions don’t get as far as we would like them to go? To be honest with you. I think, this concept doesn’t really work.
It’s more of a tradition then a real trigger for change. The moment of the year gives us a feeling of “now or never” and you get started. But the motivator isn’t right.
“Tradition” is not strong enough for a person to hold on. In reality, as soon as we have the feeling that the real newness of New Year is over (that means at the latest in February or in other words now) our resolutions already start to weaken if they have not been abandoned yet.
How impactful is your driver for change?
If you really want to change something in your life the most important aspect is that the driver is ‘you’ and not any, from outside coming, influence such as tradition, the word of the others or, even worse, bad consciousness. So, the real question is not “what do you want to change in your life” but rather “where do you want to stand next year”, “how do you want to feel about something, look like next year” or simply “how do you want to be next year”. That means instead of being pushed by an outside stimulus (tradition or “the others”) you need to fix your personal objectives.
You have to be aware that change can only come from your deepest inside. And real change mainly emerges from a crisis. You might have eaten and drunk too much with all the parties of the end of the year but is that “crisis” enough to really modify your behaviour over a longer period of time or even speaking of a lifetime period? If the answer is yes, you might hold on longer. In most cases, I guess, the answer will be no, as long as e.g. no health issues get involved or no positive goal in the future is linked to the motivation.
Often, we emphasize the behaviour we want to change without having a real objective. Actually, the objective is key and is linked to the above questions. Your objective needs to be positive (e.g. it’s not “I want to lose weight” or “I want to stop smoking” but “I want to become a person that feels healthy and full of energy” or you get yourself an event that motivates you “I want to be able to participate in a 10 – 15 – 20 km run or even a marathon this year”).
You need SMARTEC objectives to get there
Besides positive, your objective needs to be SMARTEC. You’ve probably heard of SMART objectives (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited). I add the E for ecological for your system and C for 100% under your control. Positive SMARTEC objectives have the biggest chance to be reached.
The next challenge is to dose your enthusiasm. Most of us start too heavily and rapidly get exhausted by their new behaviour. This happens because 1) our mind-set is programmed on short-term result – remember: New Year only lasts a month and we’re impatient to see the results and 2) emotionally we are not ready. Every bigger change starts with an emotional change. If we do not feel this emotional change, even if it’s only a tiny little change, the chance to succeed is limited.
So allow yourself to go slowly. One step at the time. And reward yourself. Acknowledge your progress but also be aware that you will live with ups and downs. Stagnation or even sometimes regression in a change process is part of it. It becomes a problem when you don’t ask yourself what’s going on, why don’t you progress anymore. And in that case don’t be too hard on yourself but be honest with yourself.
When you get stuck, not in your New Year’s resolutions but in the real change you want to lead, a coach can help you to reach your objective. With a new view on how to get there, together, hand in hand, a coach can help you to hold on or to get up again and to continue the new path you’ve chosen.
If you recognize yourself in any way in this kind of situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’ll support you on your way to a new destination.
In any case, I wish to all of you plenty of success with your projects of 2017. And if you don’t participate in New Year’s resolutions be aware that there are only few of us that don’t want to change anything in their life. And, actually, you can do a first step towards change any day of the year. Don’t wait until the next January 1st.