Around 80% of new years resolutions are broken by February. Sounds high right? Here’s why it’s not such a bad thing.
Slipping back into old patterns is a natural part of behaviour change. When we understand this and anticipate it, we accept it as a normal part of the process. Rather than beating ourselves up when we fall, we get straight back on the horse, so to speak.
In addition, by ‘failing’ at our goals, we get valuable insight into the circumstances that led our resolve to weaken, allowing us to plan for next time that situation arises again, and put some strategies in place for keeping on track.
The important thing is to always remember to keep going. It doesn’t matter how slowly you’re edging towards your goals, the important thing is to celebrate the achievements you DO make, and keep going.
In reality there’s no failure, only learning. If you’ve slipped off track with your New Year's resolutions, here are some tips to get you going again:
We’re inundated with information these days, so it can be tempting to consume more and more information without actually putting any of it into practice (procrastilearning anyone?). But the knowledge alone isn’t enough; it’s putting it into practice that will change your life. So take action today. Even the smallest step is a beginning.
If your goals are associated with deprivation or suffering in any way, keeping them going is always going to be like driving your car with the handbrake on.
So find ways to make your new behaviour as pleasurable as possible. If you’re wanting to eat more whole plant foods, for example, you could start shopping at your local farmers market to soak up the feel-good vibe, go to a plant based cooking class, or start turning mealtimes into a celebration by serving your meals banquet style - complete with candles and flowers - at the table, rather than eating at the kitchen bench.
If it's more exercise you want, find something you love to do, or do it with someone whose company you love.
Whatever it is that floats your boat, bring it in and tie it to your goals. Because when a behaviour’s pleasurable, you’ll want to repeat it.
Find your why.
When we have a really strong purpose or value underpinning our goal, we’re naturally more drawn to those behaviours that support our goal, and change feels like a choice made by our own free will.
On the other hand, when we give ourselves a set of rules without a powerful ‘why’, it can trigger an inner rebellion, because on some level, it feels like an assault on our personal freedom. So spend some time thinking about what’s really important to you. Use this knowledge to guide your choices.
Remember, change is growth, and we all learn and grow at different rates. We tend to accept this when it comes to children, but forget to apply this knowledge to ourselves. But you deserve kindness and compassion too, no matter where you're at right now.