New Year’s Resolutions Pros & Cons
New Year’s Resolutions Pros & Cons. New Years Resolutions are on a lot of people’s minds at this time of year. It can be tempting to start to make big plans about what you want to achieve in the coming year, and to visualise the changes that you want to see for yourself and in your life. New Years Resolutions have many Pros and Cons, they can be tempting because they offer a sense of hope and a way forward. The problem is that as we all know, New Years Resolutions often fail within the first few months, weeks, days or even hours. I know that when I would make a New Year’s resolution, I would feel that I have some how accomplished something without doing anything, that somehow by making the resolution that is it, no more work is required.
One of the New Years Resolutions people often make is to lose weight. In the pre COVID world we all remember those busy days at the gym in the new year followed by people falling away and giving up on their plans. Writer Anne Lamott wrote an essay on Facebook a few years ago that went viral.
In it she urges us not to start diets on the first of the year or commit to huge resolutions but instead to consider what small realistic things we can do to take care of ourselves such as go for a walk, drink more water, eat a bit less, meditate for three minutes a day. There is a saying, something along the lines of “you can’t eat an elephant in one go, you have to eat it a bite at a time.” The temptation is to want to achieve something in one go, all at once, just get it over with. The reality is if we could do that, we would have probably done it already and changed everything we wanted. We need to take things slowly and do one small thing at a time. A builder does not get a load of bricks and throw them up in the air in one go and poof! there is a house. He lays each brick individually, makes sure it is properly cemented in and straight before he lays the next.
We need to do the same, start small and be consistent, knowing that each brick you lay in your process of change is going to build something strong and durable.
Another piece of Facebook advice I once came across was from a personal trainer, it was a while ago and I can not recall his name or find the reference. However, he talked about being on a train journey and the train encountering problems, leaves on the line, mechanical issues etc and having to stop for a while. He asked the question, would you as a passenger just say, “well sod this, this train is going no where, what’s the point? I can’t be bothered any more.” Then just get off and walk the rest of the way to your destination or set up camp next to track as your new home. Or, would you have patience and wait, assume something was going on, look at how you could distract yourself as you wait? Ultimately though, you would assume that at some point the train would move again and you would get to where you were going.
Making changes and in particular loosing weight can be the same, we hit a plateau, or we get tired of putting in the effort, and we can not be bothered. This is the point where often the New year resolution breaks down and we give up. Perhaps this could be instead where we say, “OK nothings happening, this is frustrating and hard, but I will keep with it until things change. How can I make things better for myself while I wait?” Maybe not working so hard towards your goal, having a break or doing something completely different. The important thing is that you approach the situation with self compassion whilst still honouring and prioritising what is important to you.
We are in the middle of a World Wide Pandemic, we are all under immense stress and pressure. Struggling with this is inevitable, maybe now is not the time to make huge resolutions about changing your life. Perhaps now is the time to make small resolutions that are realistic to take care of yourself in small ways. If you are struggling with the changes you would like to make in your life and would like to talk to a professional please don’t hesitate to contact me here.
I will be taking some holiday until 5th January, however I will get in touch with you as soon as possible after 5th January 2021. I am currently only offering Online and Telephone support, to find out how this works and some things to think about if you are considering Online Support, please take a read of my blog here.