I’d like to tell you why I don’t believe in New Years resolutions: because they don’t work!
The vast majority of us fail to follow through on our resolutions - in fact, 80% of New Years resolutions fail.
There is no need for thinking “New Year, New You,” because this thinking, firstly, puts forward an idea that the old / existing you needs to be done away with, and secondly, that there needs to be an overhaul is also impractical. As we walk out of the busiest time of year (Christmas and New Year), full of abundance and determination for positive cheer, despite probably the worst pandemic in a century, trying to pivot to big goals for weight loss and exercise requiring deprivation and restrictions on foods and going long on activity, it’s just too much at one time and it’s not sustainable.
I’ve never once made a resolution that stuck, and so I stopped making them nearly a decade ago.
Coincidentally, this also jived with when I stopped caring about what my weight was. Yes, like many people, my New Years resolutions always revolved around weight loss. I used to think that by weighing a certain amount, I was going to be happy, feel confident and love life. So at the beginning of every year, tired of having made it through another year without the things I thought would make me happy, I’d set out to lose weight and get fit. By Valentines Day, when I didn’t have a date, and had grown weary of counting calories and tired of fighting over machines at the gym, I’d give up.
The pendulum can’t swing from one side to the other and stay there. Life must have balance and freedom in order for us to thrive.
If you’re setting a New Years resolution because you’re ready for change, please hear this as encouragement: make your resolution not about weight loss, but about changing your mindset and believing that what you want is available to you.
Mindset is the key factor in our success (and to our failure). Before we can change our behaviour, we must first get our head in the game. We must believe that what we want is available to us and that we are worthy of having it.
One of the problems that I have with weight loss as a goal, or a resolution as the case may be here, is that it is variable. Nothing about you as a person changes when you hit a number on a scale and the number on the scale means nothing about who you are, all that you are, and all that you mean to the people in your life.
I like to tell people that when you make a change you want it to add something to your life, to work toward something that will make you proud and give you a sense of belonging and reinforce your identity. Who you are.
What is something you’d like to be known for? Is there something you’ve longed to do because of how you thought it would make you feel about yourself or to be part of that particular community? Often, when we resolve to get fit, we go it alone without any real plan for how we are going to do it. We show up at the gym, perhaps feeling a bit insecure, wander around the floor not sure what to do, and leave feeling more mentally fatigued than anything and lacklustre for the next workout.
There are few of us who go it alone and succeed. It is more often the case that we fail, as if we were going on a road trip without a map. We respond much better to accountability and structure to make a lasting change. Big changes and important goals don’t just happen. They require sustained action that can move you forward towards your goal despite the challenges, struggles and setbacks. Many struggle with achieving sustained action on our own because we have to go far outside of our comfort zone to get there.
This is where the third piece of the puzzle comes into play. When we are looking to achieve something, stretching ourselves to a new level, we need more than our own resolve and a good plan to get us there, but also the reliance of a trusted companion. When the newness and excitement of starting the goal wear off, and the going starts to get tough, you need someone to remind you of your goal and that you’re worthy of finishing what you started. I believe I’m wholeheartedly that we must be in a community to stay inspired and accountable to ourselves. Being in community or working with a coach helps us to see things about ourselves that we often don’t see, and enables us to connect to that higher version of ourselves that we are striving for. Most of us can’t make a big change without the right mix of accountability and encouragement.
People don’t generally make big change alone or in a vacuum. In order to thrive, we need some great outside help and an ongoing support structure to keep going towards when we want to bail.
So, a week after Christmas, let me be plain: we all want to shed a few pounds! If we did the holidays right, and I sure did, our clothes are fitting a bit tighter and we’d like to lose some weight. Losing weight is a fine goal, but as an ultimate goal, it’s not enough, and it doesn’t need to be your New Years resolution this year or ever again.
I encourage you to think about what you truly long for, and seek that. If you’re longing to belong to something, if you’re longing to feel confident and assured of yourself, if you’re looking to be inspired, then please think about joining Sol Movement. Our programmes offer a structured plan to reach your goal, coaching and community so that you feel supported every step of the way.
If you feel inspired having read this short blog we invite you to take a look at our range of programs but most of all we wish you a Happy New Year full of hope and optimism as we work our way through the pandemic.