Intentions are Better than Resolutions in the New Year
Apparently only 8% of new year's resolutions make it to fruition, that's not the most positive success rate. No wonder popular opinion states that new years resolutions are so 2010.
Personally I've never made it much further than thinking about a resolution around new years. My birthday is next week so the festivities around this time of year continue on for longer than most (hence the photo of me on a gold swan sipping champagne while everyone else is busy getting down with their resolutions) and by the second week of January all talk of resolutions are completely out the window.
But it has got me thinking how the word resolution implies to resolve and how that it should have been resolved, like yesterday already. Do we as a whole fail at new year's resolutions because we are so damn impatient to have them done that we go from zero to one hundred within the space of a week? It is as if we are only succeeding at our resolutions if we are doing them with 100% success 100% of the time, right from day one.
Too hard. Too fast. No wonder we fail so badly at these attempts.
There are 52 weeks in a year, why are we so hell bent on resolving something in the first week? Now I am the first to admit that when I decide I want something I wish I already had it and when it comes to wanting to improve your health, wellness and fitness our impatience to see results (or lack of results) usually sees us giving up soon after.
A new resolution for a YEAR. A whole Year. Quit playing the short game and start focusing on the long one. Power and distance. (OMG I think I just made a golfing reference, my husband would be proud.)
Resolutions imply things that you should already be doing which immediately puts you behind on your goals. Intentions however, imply they are things to be done, there is still time, it is not too late and it is possible to still do them, they give hope and are a positive to work towards, not a deadline that you have already missed.
So what do you do with intentions and how do you not risk falling into the procrastination trap of never actually getting started because you have all year?
Let's go back to the golfing reference.
Go the distance
Intend to play the long game throughout the whole year. Set intentions (or goals) that step by step, see you reaching December 2017 participating in all of the things that you want to be doing - all of the things that you normally would have attempted in the first week of January alone.
So if your usual resolution is to eat better, write a list and break it down into all the areas of healthy eating (balanced diet, no snacking, quit sugar, alcohol free days, no more packaged foods, no cool drink, etc.) that you want to include in your idea of eating better. Then think about all the habits that you see yourself doing that encompass those areas of healthy eating (eating breakfast everyday, eating healthier snacks, making sure you eat carbohydrates, protein and fats with every meal, drinking your daily water intake etc.) Each of these habits represent a single goal that can be broken down further into more goals, as needed. (Eating healthier snacks can be broken down into researching ideas for snacks, planning to shop for ingredients, prepping snacks for the week, then finally eating them.)
There's a whole entire year to make sure you reach these goals so pace yourself. Break the list of main goals down into quarters, you now have 4 sets of three monthly goals to keep you going through the year.
Choose the set that you would feel most confident in achieving, these will be your first step towards long term success. Focus on these for the first three months of the year.
But what about the power?
The power is in your plan.
What information do you need to know in order to get started? Look at you goals and research the topics, seek advice from a professional, compile and collaborate the information you need so you can take the first steps. (Researching healthy snack alternatives or consulting a nutritionist for advice on what to eat for healthy meals).
What are the resources and supports needed to achieve these goals? Invest some time into compiling resources and having conversations with those from whom you seek support. (Buy some recipe books, ask your husband to stop asking if you would like a wine with dinner). A coach is also a great way to help support you through the whole plan.
What strengths can you bring into this? It could be your love of cooking, being organised, or a good planner.
What obstacles might you face when you are trying hard to reach your goals? Are you able to plan a way around them? (You know you can't resist a Tim Tam so you no longer keep them in the house).
Once you've gathered all of this information and created your plan, reflect back on your goals and make sure you actually WANT to be doing this. Change is hard at the best of times and near on impossible when it doesn't look appealing. Your goals should scare you a little but excite you to the point of motivation to start on them.
Remember that it is a long year ahead and you have 52 weeks to make these goals into consistent habits. Go with the flow, and take each week as it comes by making it work for you. Small changes over a long period of time will give you the best results and will be the proof of a game well played.