Resolutions and Creating Sustainable Change

ButterflyMany look at the New Year as a chance at a clean slate. We make resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, go to the gym 6 days a week. We start off with tons of enthusiasm. This time everything is going to be different! Better! It’s our year!

We set our alarm clocks and get up early. Make a healthy breakfast and head to the gym every day. Our initial enthusiasm carries us for a bit, maybe a few weeks.

Then things start to get harder.

We try to grit our way through for a bit. But that’s exhausting. So we give up.

We failed.

Again.

When we start to feel this resistance to change in our bodies, it doesn’t mean we failed. Our bodies strive toward homeostasis, toward the familiar. Resistance to big change is wired into our cells.

Real change happens when we understand how to feel this resistance and realize we haven’t failed. Learn to celebrate it. New neural pathways are being created in our brains. And that’s how lasting change happens.

What if instead of willing yourself to make change, you learned to listen to and work with your body? What if you re-framed resistance and frustration as the first step toward success instead of failure?

With typical New Years Resolutions we’re often aiming to “fix” all of the things our minds tell us we are lacking. If we eat better or meditate more or lose weight, for example, we will be good enough. We are trying to think our way into change, often based on other people’s expectations or something we read in a magazine. We think we need to hustle and work harder and fix something that is wrong with us to reach our goals.

What if you didn’t need fixed?

What if instead of trying to obtain something outside of yourself (that you might not even really want anyway) you started by creating the feeling of achieving the goal?

Say you want to lose weight 10 pounds. It’s not really about the 10 pounds. When we are trying to achieve a goal, we are chasing a feeling.  How will you feel when you lose that weight? You might find you have more energy. What’s a way you can feel more energized now? Listening to your favorite song and having a mini dance party might make you feel like you have more energy.

You can take one small action everyday action to cultivate that feeling in your life. Then you might actually achieve and sustain that change you want. More energy. More freedom. Actually being present with your family instead of worrying about all of the things on your to-do list.

New Year’s Resolutions can get a bad rap. By the end of January we hear all about how most people have “failed” to keep them. There’s a better way to create change than resolving to do something and gritting out way through it.

I’d love to know, did you set a Resolution this year? How’s it going? (Responses will only be seen by Karyn and will NOT be posted publicly):