If you’re one of the 8% who are still “hanging in there” with your resolution ….rock on sista, you’re 100% pure awesomeness!
But today I’m talking to people like me – those of us who really suck at NY’s resolutions!
Now, I know a lot of terrific health professionals who absolutely rave about the “resolutions” process.
“Pick a great big hairy audacious goal,” they say, “take massive action,” they say, “and goooooo for it at all costs”.
In my personal and clinical experience, this kind of lofty thinking can be intimidating. Or, it works, as in you achieve your goal, but the process itself is completely joyless. (Especially, the ‘at all costs’ part.)
Yup, there’s always going to be the working-full-time mum-of-four who’ll lose 25kgs and run her first marathon by Easter. She’s clearly awesome but she’s not ‘most of us’.
Most of us have fallen off the wagon by mid January. We’re sitting on the sofa scoffing Christmas treats, feeling like we’ve failed ourselves for the year.
True or true?!
But hey! It’s not the time to give up. Your dreams are important to you. It’s time to put on our big girl knickers and get it on. But this time, we’ve got a do-able, achievable plan of action that’s perfect for you.
Instead of the great-big-hairy-audacious-type NY’s resolution, here’s what I recommend instead.
Take that big dream, but make the daily actions T.I.N.Y.
Make your goal so small that you cannot help but hit the target. Then, take the teeny-weeny-est step possible that moves you in the direction of your target.
So, instead of “resolving” to lose a 50kgs by March” or “I will run for 12kms every day no matter what”, decide to shift one kilo. Just-the-one-kilo.
Focus on changing one small aspect of your day that will lead to you shifting that 1kg. Maybe it’s taking a 5-minute walk after dinner 5 times a week. Perhaps it’s sitting at the table and/or turning off the telly when you eat so you can be more mindful of your food. Pick one small thing to focus on at a time.
Then, when you’ve shifted that kilo, celebrate – perhaps a haircut or a massage – and decide to lose one more kg. After that one’s lost, go get a manicure, and commit to shifting one more kilo and changing one more habit.
Before you know it, you’ve dropped a knicker size and you’re positively glowing from all the celebratory self care! Now you’re on a roll.
And even better than the thinner thighs is the growing belief in yourself. You can do this. You are doing this! Easily, patiently, gracefully.
Abandon the ‘perfectionist’ in you (she’s only weighing you down)
Do you see what we’re doing here? We’re rethinking how we set goals. We’re abandoning that “all or nothing perfectionist” thinking. That “unless I eat ‘perfectly’, then I totally suck” mentality.
We’re rebuilding our trust in ourselves. We’re gathering momentum. We’re setting ourselves up for success (rather than guaranteed failure).
Perfection is a total lie. It’s a lie that keeps us stuck, frustrated and unhappy.
Forget about perfection and make your daily mantra, “Approximately perfect”. It’s about taking the next small imperfect step that takes you closer to your dream.
Or, as one of my mentors says, “Once you’ve decided to take baby steps towards your dreams, falling off the wagon is immaterial. Because the wagon is moving so slowly you can just hop right back on!!!”
And keep on keeping on. One day, one breath, one decision at a time.
I’m going through my own baby steps process right now. In another life, I used to run marathons. But for the last year my trainers have gathered dust in the garage.
Recently I’ve felt the desire to re-kindle my fitness. Although it’s very tempting to “go hard”, I’ve set my daily sights low. Laughably low. Infintesibly low. So low, that I cannot help but achieve my daily target, almost without even trying.
So, for the past three weeks I’ve run (fast-walked!) three times a week for five minutes. Yes, there’s that impatient-perfectionist-critical voice in my head that says “Geez Avril, come the #%*$ on, you’ll never be ‘marathon fit’ at this snail’s pace”.
But I will.
You see, I’m starting where I am now, with what I’ve got now. I’m meeting myself where I’m at. This is not about how far I used to run. Nor is it about how far other people can run. Because this is not a competition to win, it’s not a race with some other person – it’s my journey.
It’s about meeting myself where I currently am. And trusting this truth: from small acorns, large oaks grow.
I know that by putting my running shoes on – even if only for five minutes – I have begun the journey of falling in love with the process of change.
I’m gathering momentum.
I’m making progress.
I’m learning to trust myself.
You see, becoming the shape and size you want to be is ALL about progress…..not perfection.
And when we check in with each other at the start of next year, our lives are going to look a whole lot different than they do today. I’ll be marathon fit, and you – you’ll have made your big dream a reality.
And, most importantly, we’ll have enjoyed the process.
So, if you’re a wagon-faller-offer but you’ve decided that you do want to make important changes in your life, aim for approximately-perfect-baby steps. One decision, one step, one breath at a time.
You can do this honey.
Love etc, Avril
PS: How’s your NY’s resolution travelling darling? Lasting change can be challenging – I get that. If you’re struggling and you’re ready make your dream real in 2014, perhaps hypnotherapy is the way forward for you. Why not c’mon over and let’s see where you’re at?