What To Do Instead of Making a Resolution

On the eve of every New Year, for as long as I can remember, I got out a legal pad and wrote a long list of resolutions for myself to live up to in the coming year.  Things I would do.  Things I would stop doing.  Habits I would break.  Some of them I actually kept for one or two weeks.  I never got started on many of them.  Actually, I never got started on most of them.  It wasn’t my fault.  Resolutions just aren’t all that effective in helping to change behavior.

Let’s look at a common New Year resolution. ” This year, starting right after tomorrow (the New Year holiday), I’m going to lose  the extra weight.  I’m so disgusted.  I’ve outgrown this pair of pants that I bought just six months ago.  It will be a strict diet for me. No more butter on my toast.  No chocolate chip cookies on my break.  I’ll eat fruit for lunch and a hard-boiled egg with a salad for dinner.  I’m really serious this time.  Things are so out of control.”

How likely is it that this person will make the same resolution next year?  Pretty high.  In fact, it’s likely they made the same resolution last year and the year before that.

The person who makes this kind of resolution is taking action in a very negative state of mind.  The feelings include disgust and even self-loathing.  Action taken in this state of mind is less likely to be effective and bring the kind of change that is wanted.

So, instead of beating herself up, what should this person do?  The best thing for her to do is to step back and take the time to get into a positive, or at least a less negative, state of mind, before taking any action.  Feeling better about her body and herself before taking any action at all will help this person to find the path to her ideal body as surely as negativity kept her off it.

She could reach for any thought that brings a better feeling.  Here are a few:

  • I don’t have to be a size 2 by next week.
  • There are small habits I could change that would make a big difference over time.
  • My body deserves to be treated kindly by me.

Feeling good actually inspires people to take action whereas feeling bad makes them want to drag their feet.  Here we used the example of losing weight, but it’s true for any area in which you might wish to make changes.  Finding a way to feel good before the change occurs is actually the best way to make the change successfully.

If you want to share this post, or make a comment, please click on the title.  Have a blessed New Year in 2015.