Have you already missed a couple of meditation sessions or skipped the gym more times than you intended? You are not alone. One third of people have abandoned their resolutions by February. This does not mean you need to throw up your hands and give up. Here are five ways to help you get back on track:
- Accept hurdles as part of the process. Your life will never allow you go to the gym every day at 6 a.m. One morning, your child will be sick. Another day, icy road conditions will make it unsafe to drive so early. Some mornings, you will roll over and hit the snooze button and immediately fall back asleep. This is all normal and happens to everyone. Acknowledge the missed workout as part of the process and wake up tomorrow as if it never happened.
- Learn from your mistakes. Jerry Seinfeld says, “Pain is knowledge rushing in to fill a gap.” We can learn from the pain of the remorse we feel when we slip up. You could easily say, “I ate a brownie because it was there and I was weak.” However, the answer may be more illuminating. Examine what happened before you slipped up. Did you have a difficult conversation with your spouse? Were you bored and the brownie was there so you ate it? Having an idea of why we do the things we do can help us avoid triggers like anxiety, stress and boredom.
- Tweak your resolution. If you have resolved “to eat better,” that resolution is not specific or measurable enough to stick. Change it to something you know will lead to eating better but is more specific and measurable, like incorporating one more vegetable in your dinner each night. Or resolve to cook your own dinner every night and make enough for a packed lunch the next day.
- Get a support system. We are social beings. A resolution buddy can be indispensable. Enlist your spouse or a friend for recipe sharing or to be your gym buddy. Sharing failures and triumphs will help your resolution feel less like a lonely quest and more like a group effort.
- Give up! Toronto psychologist Orin Amitay has never made a New Year’s resolution. He says when we try to make a change in January, we are setting ourselves up to fail. January is a cold, dark month where many Canadians are recovering from post-holiday hangovers and scrambling to catch up on missed work. A better time for a New Year’s resolution is the spring. So postpone your resolution and just survive January and February as best you can!
Very rarely do we wake up brand new people on January 1. But we can take advantage of a brand new year to make small, incremental change in our lives. If you do stumble, give yourself a break. As Anne of Green Gables says, “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.”