As we approach the New Year, we will soon, if not already, be bombarded by the announcements and declarations of New Years resolutions. Like many others, I too have a history of joining in on the excitement to improve and progress at this time of year. This is how it usually pans out: In the first few days following January 1st, I set out to get a cute planner, new calendar, and download the latest apps to help me stay motivated and accountable because well, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. The first couple of days, weeks even, typically go as planned because the adrenaline rush keeps me pumped to stay focused, to keep my eye on the prize. But like many others, it doesn’t take much for me to feel discouraged about my resolutions, usually towards the end of January, when I don’t have my “summer bod” or all my debt isn’t completely paid off yet. Thoughts like, ‘If I can’t do it quickly or perfectly, why bother at all?’ start to creep in. This mentality is known as the all-or-nothing mindset and it can be a slippery slope. All-or-nothing thinking patterns will inhibit me and you from not only achieving your goals but also from learning, living, and thriving while working towards it.
In this season of new beginnings, how can you work towards your goals while combating the all-or-nothing mentality? Here are a few suggestions:
Consider setting a mantra or theme with flexibility to change the specific ways in which you choose to live up to that mantra throughout the year. Shonda Rhimes, producer, screenwriter, and author, gave a TedTalk on her “Year of Yes”. For an entire year, she faced her fears by saying yes to all the things that scared her, made her nervous, or took her out of her comfort zone. How awesome is that. I commend her efforts to challenge and stretch herself, which in turn, allowed her to grow. However, I wanted her to elaborate more on what she needed to say “no” to in order to have the time, and physical/mental energy to say “yes” to the things that pushed her out of her comfort zone. Although it was her “year of yes” what if midway through the year, she was exhausted, burnt out, and/or checked out emotionally or physically? Would she have changed her goal from saying “yes” to saying “no” at that point? I believe that consistently checking in with your goals and intentions, and your mental, physical, and emotional well being, will help you to know when and where to be flexible.
If you are anything like me, you might start off the year feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on new challenges. Rather than expecting perfection in your quest to conquer difficult things, expect the unexpected. The goal of perfection will always lead to disappointment and discouragement. Expecting setbacks, mistakes, and mishaps along the way will put you in a better place to keep moving forward.
Resist Peer Pressure
People will usually take to social media to set their resolutions, which will typically include “lose weight” or “get in shape”. The multi-billion dollar diet industry capitalizes on this time of the year to strike with deals and sales that promote diet, exercise, and weight loss. If you know people whose resolutions revolve around weight loss or body image, resist the urge to give in to the pressure to make that your goal too. Give yourself permission to not focus on weight loss this year. Instead, what if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more?