Admit it, you've got resolution fever. With
2016's meteoric approach you've already started jotting
mental notes. You know, the master list of grand schemes you're
hatching for the New You come January 1.
Everything about our fetishization of resolutions reeks of
magical thinking. Don't get me wrong; I am all about
making lists, setting goals, refreshing and resetting. Still, I can't
help but wonder why anyone buys into a set up that is, by nature, designed for
imminent failure. Do we really believe that change is going to happen perfectly because the clock
moves an inch?
As someone who for years was a resolution whore, I have been in RR (resolution recovery) and it feels great.
Here's why. Without the high of expectations and perfection,
there is no low when by January 15, I've
achieved nothing on my list.
Give yourself a break to be human. That's self love.
If you want to avoid hitting your doctor up for Prozac in
January when you haven't come close to meeting your deductible, side-step #resolutionfail
depression by committing to one thing: more self-love.
Note: I am not a doctor, but I played one on TV for 15
years. Oh wait, that was a paramedic. Carry on …
The No. 1 way to fail at resolutions is to make them in
the first place. Resolutions are historically "shooting for the stars"
life-changes, about-faces and sharp-turn-arounds that are impossible to achieve
overnight, let alone in a lifetime. Change takes work people!
I can't tell you how many years I sputtered
out, "Just one more cigarette. I have five more minutes!"
only to smoke one at 12:15 a.m. and another 10 minutes later. Now that I "totally ruined it," I deemed myself a "failure," doomed to another whole year of smoking. Why not? "I
already fucked up." Cue the self-hatred. That's no way to start a new year, but it happens every time.
Smoking is a tricky
one, and the best way to quit is by picking a firm date. So why not
try January 15 and commit to the first two weeks of January to
getting mentally prepared? You will be instantly absolved of New Year's
Resolution Pressure, which I firmly believe to be a curse of doom. Give yourself a break to be human. That's self love.
Because when you make a sweeping resolution set to a clock, one slip can feel like a such a major bungle, followed by a spiraling feeling of failure, self-doubt and shame. It's nearly impossible to get back up.
Think about it this way: Tomorrow is another day, and every day is an opportunity to
make changes. But change happens slowly, over time, with one foot in front of
the other. And growth happens when you are in a safe place, not with a stern over-arching eye of expectation. The only resolution that will ever really work is the resolution to
continue on your path of growth and do it in baby steps, with a hefty allowance
for mistakes and set-backs. In other words, be gentle on yourself.
Accept that you are fallible and imperfect. That my friend, is hardcore self-love. (You see how this works?)
Suffering addictions and recovering from them doesn't happen by writing things down on a legal pad and saying that when the clock strikes 12:01 a.m., they will magically "be gone."
And let's discuss setting ridiculous goals. Come on, by now you know yourself.
(I hope). Think back on what works and what doesn't and be honest about it.
"30 days, NO SUGAR!" Yeah, been there and done
that crock of shit. I have never gone 30 days without anything. Deprivation of sugar
(for example), is a recipe for destruction. The more you "can't"
have something, the more you want it because all you're
thinking about is the object of this forbidden desire.
How about trying something different like: I can have sugar whenever I
want! Watch what happens. It's no longer at the
forefront of your brain, because it's available at all times.
Why not shift your thinking around things you want to eliminate in your life by
not demonizing them, or you, for wanting them?
If you suffer from a legit sugar addiction, eating disorder or struggle with food in a way that
greatly impacts your life, this time maybe try saying to yourself, "I'll
take it out of my hands and check out some Overeaters
Anonymous meetings in February." Give yourself the space to
mull over if it's right for you. Suffering
addictions and recovering from them doesn't happen by writing things down on a legal pad
and saying that when the clock strikes 12:01 a.m., they will magically "be
gone." Give yourself some real sugar in the form of emotional and psychological honesty.
But wait! You don't have to miss out on all
the "New Year, New Me" fun. I am not immune to the excitement around the new year
as a symbol of a clean slate. I just like to see the year as a whole. And if you're
a note-taking, list-making junkie like myself, then go for it by making honest notes
about the areas in your life you need to give some extra "love and attention"
to. It's a softer approach.
Learning to love takes time,
especially when it comes to ourselves. If we really examine our typical
resolutions, they often are about breathing love into the love-deprived areas of
our lives (fitness, work, relationships, health). Think about it.