4 Ways to Help You Succeed at New (Year’s) Resolutions
To be honest, I gave up on making new year’s resolutions a long time ago. The main reason is not only that my new year’s resolutions often disintegrated after just a couple of months, I also justified it by thinking: If I want to make any resolutions, I’d make them whenever I feel committed instead of waiting till the new year. So in the past few years, I’ve made some resolutions to change parts of my lifestyle. Sometimes I succeeded, other times I failed. Totally normal, right? Because I grew up being taught to hold myself to high standards, if I’m not near the top of my class or better at a few things than my peers, I feel bad or even guilty about it. I was rarely top of my class, so the quest for constant and seemingly endless improvement was always at work. The same idea influences my adult life. In some way, it motivates me to work hard and show up. On the other hand, I feel guilty whenever I think I’m slacking off or doubt that I’m putting in enough effort.
Whenever I failed, an internal dialogue started nagging at me:
“You didn’t put in enough effort. Is it that hard?! Look at all those people who’ve succeeded.”
“You don’t have enough willpower to pull this off. You’re too lazy. That’s why you failed."
Does this self-sabotaging self-talk sound familiar to you?
Over the years I’ve learned a few things about this trap. The most important one is recognizing that self-sabotage doesn’t help at all. Feeling guilty and beating myself up don’t increase my chances of success. They only make me unhappy and make my goals seem even more out of reach. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few tricks to tame the self-sabotaging voice.
Clarify what you REALLY want
Take some time to think about what you really want and write it down. Then take a deeper look at why you want these things. Is it because it looks good on someone you admire or envy? Or because it will make you feel better when compared to your peers? My favorite tool to help clarify the answers to this question is The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. Ask the question, “How do I want to feel?”. Then work from there. We’re so often misled, distracted or confused by the things we see other people have and forget that what looks good on other people doesn’t necessarily make us happy.
Recruit your most powerful employee to work for you
The self-sabotaging conversation often goes non-stop and there’s nowhere to hide from it. So when I learned about the power of the subconscious and that I can actually program it to work for me, it was a huge relief. How to Re-Program Your Subconscious Mind to Get What You Want by Marie Forleo with Dr. Cathy Collautt gives easy and actionable steps.
Applaud yourself for every time you show up
When we hold ourselves to high standards and expectations, we sometimes forget that we’re only human. There will be times that we fall off the wagon or make mistakes. We need to pick ourselves up and move forward. So applaud and thank yourself for the times you show up to put in the effort. Success might not yet be in sight, but it’s made of countless little effort combined. And YOU are the one putting in the effort.
If it helps, find a partner
Depending on what your resolution is and your preferred working style, having a partner can sometimes make the journey to success easier. It is a personal choice and totally up to you. Just be aware if you start to compare yourself with your partner instead of lifting each other up, then some adjustment is needed.