Is your fridge still stuffed with healthy veggies and your gym clothes laid out at the ready? Or have you slipped back into nightly visits to the cookie cupboard?
Yes, that shiny patina of a new year is quickly losing its gloss.
For years I was a dedicated attendee of the 6 a.m. Spin Class at our local gym. (I know, I know – what happened??) There were a limited number of bikes and, since the class was sparsely populated at that ungodly hour, usually I had no problem securing my favorite one
That is until January 2nd.
Suddenly us regulars would have to show up 10 or 15 minutes early just to get a bike! The New Year’s Resolutionists were out in full force!
Then within 10 days the ranks would begin to thin. By mid-January I was back on my favorite bike.
The point being: it takes more than a resolution to change your life!
I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions long ago. It became obvious to me that my wild undisciplined self would grab the reins of my life before January even ran its course – so, why bother?
Why is it that we set the bar so high for ourselves that we’re destined to break our own promises? And why are we convinced that we have to be ‘fixed’ or changed in some way in order to be happy?
Not that there’s anything wrong with setting goals. It’s that tendency to berate myself when I fail to meet them that I’ve got a gripe with.
Recently I read that you’ve done a good job with setting goals if you meet 80 percent of them. That means you’ve challenged yourself sufficiently without setting them so high that you end up writhing on the ground in a fit of self-flagellation and despair.
Call me slow, but it was news to me that it could be okay to fall short of 100 percent of your goals. You mean, I’m not the world’s biggest loser if I don’t mean all of them? What a freeing concept!
What IS Working?
It’s all too easy to brush off our wins and accomplishments because our eyes are so fixed on some unattainable prize. We keep moving the goal further and further out… and that’s normal and healthy. And it’s even healthier to celebrate the benchmarks we’ve passed.
It’s like gratitude. When you focus on the wins, the successes, what HAS worked, you send positive anti-stress hormones coursing through your system – which set you up for more success and motivation to take action that moves you even closer to your (moving target) goals!
Give it a try. Write down three wins from the last year. They can be as tiny as the fact that you only ate one chocolate chip cookie last night instead of three – on up to finally standing up to your overbearing boss.
Once you’ve written them down, sit with it for a minute. Take a couple of deep breaths and lean into that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment!
Yay! Those good hormones are running around in you right now!
But what if you really do want to make some big shifts?
Here’s the good news: Shift Happens. Always.
You, even you, can break through and finally lose that weight, ditch that crappy job, find that special friend, quit that destructive habit, become a pilot, or [fill in your own huge aspiration that you’re worried you’ll never accomplish].
The timing doesn’t matter. Sure, birthdays and new years are auspicious and fun times to start new programs. But don’t wait for them. Start now.
There’s a few itty-bitty obstacles to get out of the way.
But you guessed that, right? If they weren’t there, you’d be giving your Oscar speech right about now.
And those obstacles aren’t big old road barriers that some nasty person or outside entity threw up in your path.
It’s not your mother-in-law, or that mean teacher in second grade, or even the government.
No. It’s our own brilliant minds that have painstakingly set up these road blocks.
So how to we dismantle them?
We’ll just get the hardest bit out of the way right now. If you can do this one thing, well then you’re golden. You’ve already set the wheels in motion to achieving your “best self” goals.
Start accepting what’s going on right now
‘Wait a minute,’ you might be saying, ‘what the EFF? I want to be thinner – not accept my saggy, flabby body.’ Or, ‘I want to get healthy, I refuse to accept my current crappy energy level.’
And I so get that. I know this is counter-intuitive. But that very state of unconditional acceptance is the only way to quit putting your own leg out to trip yourself on you path.
I mean if you think you’re a steaming pile of dog doo for looking or feeling the way you do, where can you find the strength – and the love – to sustain your efforts when the going gets rough?
Did I mention this acceptance stuff is the hardest of all the steps to Shift Success?
And, it’s one you will return to again and again. It’s bizarre, but just when you think you’ve discovered true self acceptance, another layer reveals itself. And you’ll find yourself saying, ‘well, I accept myself, just not THAT!’
Like, you have to accept the fact that you don’t want to accept yourself. It can feel like you’ve wandered into an Escher painting or something.
Except this seemingly endless spiral will lead you to a brighter place. It lays the groundwork. It puts down the roots so you can truly live into your health (or any other) goals and aspirations.
I’m not gonna lie. This self acceptance stuff is hard. It’s takes practice. I forget all the time. But like anything, the more I practice the easier it becomes to catch myself out. To remember. To begin again.
So how about it? Is it possible for you?
What can you do today to move just a millimeter toward accepting your present state?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below – or over on Facebook.
Next time I’ll share the rest of my plan for knocking down those self-imposed road blocks once and for all. Forget the resolutions. This is a Revolution!