How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Actually, that’s kind of a trick question. If you’re like a lot of people (probably most people) you’ve lost a lot of momentum. The beginning of my year was different than most years. 2018 was a bizarre year. Not a bad year but more of a transition than anything else. I was fighting anemia most of the year and fortunately, it’s mostly under control.
I was all set to start the New Year with a bang and then got hit with the flu on December 30th. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I pushed through it like a champ. Then suddenly, the battle raging inside my body was so epic, I think it came with its own soundtrack. Also, Stormtroopers. It developed into pneumonia, which I’d never had before and suddenly it was January 20th before I could go an entire day without a nap.
I always make New Year’s Resolutions. In years past, I’d sequester myself for a few hours and painstakingly write out what I wanted for the year to come. 2018 was a different sort of year. On this New Year’s Eve, I spent a quiet night at home with some of my favorite people, toasted with champagne, and went to bed feeling zero pressure to scribble my goals out before midnight. I used to feel so much pressure to get it all down before the next year rolled over. But why though?
There is nothing magical about flipping the page on the calendar.
Being flattened, literally for several days, I had some time to think and neat little fever to make me just delirious enough to think that I am brilliant. With the momentum of the first few weeks of the new year behind me and nothing to show for it but several empty tissue boxes, I got to thinking about the resolutions we all make and why they’re so hard to keep. Here’s what I came up with and if you read on, you’ll find that I’m working on a solution.
With the momentum of the first few weeks of the new year behind me and nothing to show for it but several empty tissue boxes, I got to thinking about the resolutions we all make and why they’re so hard to keep. Here’s what I came up with and if you read on, you’ll find that I’m working on a solution.
4 Reasons Our New Year’s Resolutions Fail
1) We aren’t inspired.
Forcing ourselves to make big commitments (and sometimes several of them) on an arbitrary day, just because it’s New Year’s is too much pressure. Change comes from being inspired in some way. Gyms all over the world will be packed wall to wall for the next few weeks and then it’ll dwindle down again, not because people aren’t committed but because they weren’t inspired. There has to be a bigger “why” than just the beginning of a new year.
2) We rely on willpower.
Personally, I think willpower is a myth. At least in the long term. Willpower can push us beyond our limits in short bursts but not over a long period of time. Our brains are so complex and besides survival, they’re wired for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. We’ll cave in a lot of the time if we are only relying on sheer will to get to the gym or skip the donut for breakfast.
3) We bite off more than we can chew.
I’m so guilty of this. I have big dreams and with big dreams comes the idea that you have to take monumental action. Once in a while, a big leap is needed but day to day, it’s the little steps that add up. People’s hashtags: #massiveaction, #hustle, #gobigorgohome, and the oldie but goodie #justdoit fill up our feeds and we take them to heart and feel somehow inadequate if we aren’t killing it every single day. If we can’t can’t keep up, we quit. No one likes to feel like a failure so we just push the dream aside to revisit it again for next New Year’s Resolutions.
4) We don’t have a plan.
Also me. I write out big goals – HuuuGe goals, which in itself I think is a good thing. I will never stop dreaming big. But with the onset of the new year firing me up, I always think I’m going to have the sustainable energy to just keep going even though I haven’t really planned the how of it all.
I’ve become convinced there’s a smarter way. If willpower and grand moves aren’t the answer to keeping New Year’s Resolutions then how do we get from here to the pictures we see in our minds. Each of us is destined for greatness. This I know to be true. What you are meant to do and to be is different from what I am meant for, but we all have a deep desire for something.
My guess is, and I’m going to set out to prove it, that it comes down to our habits. Not willpower. It’s the little decisions we make every day that compound over the course of weeks, months, and years. I’m not an expert. I’m basically repeating things I’ve heard other people say that resonated somewhere deep inside and are suddenly surfacing. We’re told that it takes 21 days to change a habit. I’m calling bulls**t. I think some habits can change in a few days and others could take years.
We get impatient with ourselves if our behaviors don’t change as quickly as we expect them to.
I don’t have any science to back this up by the way. It’s just something that I believe. But I’ve noticed that by adopting this attitude, I’m already a lot more patient with myself, have a lot less anxiety, and I’m actually more likely to do what it takes to build the right habits. Quantum theory (yassss!!! Let’s get sciency) suggests that there is no such thing as time. It’s the reason that some events seem like only yesterday and the same reason you can’t remember sh*t from yesterday. It’s not the time that matters but the impact of the little moments. This is not an argument to Live for Now but it is a reminder to be Present Right Now.
Life is not a dress rehearsal for the next life we get to live. This is it, friends. It’s so easy to forget and plan on happiness when our stars finally align. But success in anything doesn’t happen like that. It comes in bits and pieces and if we do just one thing every single day, pretty soon, the road in front of us is shorter than the road behind us. We cover a lot more distance by tackling one thing at a time. (Is that too many metaphors?)
If you’re reading New With Tags the Series, this will make sense to you.
I’ve talked for years about wanting to turn it into a web series. The timing has never been right; usually, because another production took priority. But, I had to get good and honest with myself. What if the excuse of the timing or financing was out of the way? Am I ready? What am I doing daily to be ready or to get ready to make it a reality? Am I making the right connections or having the right conversations with others in the industry that I am going to need when the time comes?
And here’s the big one. It’s no secret that I plan to play Carrie when the time comes. That girl is an Amazon. She squats one and half times her body weight and has the physique to prove it. Do I? Sure …with Spanx and Photoshop I can make you believe I do. But on screen? Not so much.
So here’s the deal. I’m launching a Fitness section on New With Tags.
You know, because what the internet needs is another fitness blog. Kidding. I’m pretty transparent as to the agenda. I need accountability AND I know that the process will help someone else too. Our first conversations will be about points 1-4 above, getting and staying inspired, motivated, and having a plan.
If all you are here for is New With Tags the Series, that’s totally rad. Just click on the tab that says New With Tags the Series and it’ll filter out all of my ramblings and leave you in peace. If, however, you want to get to know each other better and maybe make 2019 our collective bitch, just keep coming back and the latest posts will be where you’ve always found them.
The next post is another ‘Episode”. It’s a David and Carrie post and, yes I’ve heard you. David and Legacy are both gonna get some soon – oh but not together – ew.