January 1st carries all of our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Whether we want to finally shift those extra kilos, run a half marathon, change careers, become a morning person, find love, go travelling or start a business, everyone is talking about their New Years Resolutions. On the one hand, the first day of the new year is filled with optimism and abuzz with energy; and on the other, it's a reminder of things yet to be achieved or attempted, flaws, failures and daunting ambitions.
"This year will be different. I want it more now. I have a plan this time."
Whether we’re pursuing new goals or old goals with renewed energy, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right from this date forward. To reinvent ourselves. To transform ourselves and our lives. Of course, we don’t have to wait for the new year to effect change. We can change our beliefs and ways on any ordinary Thursday afternoon or Tuesday morning, without having to wait for the next Monday, month or year to roll around. But even if we do choose January 1st as our marker for a new chapter, the fact remains the same:
We can choose to take better care of ourselves in any moment.
In fact, we need to choose to nourish and care for our minds, bodies and souls every day. That’s how we create the changes we wish for - with every choice, moment-to-moment.
You’ve probably read the statistics on the number of gym memberships that get cancelled after the January optimism wears off and our momentum runs out. They’re not all that encouraging. We run into the New Year all gung-ho and then, one month/6 weeks/10 minutes in and our mojo goes amiss, goddammit! And it usually wanders off when change is right around the corner, just inches away. We give up right before the payoff, just before we start seeing results, because we expect a total transformation to happen overnight, or at least within the week. And when it doesn’t, well we’re a bit pissed. Frustrated and bored. We lose our patience. And then we give up.
Transformation doesn't happen overnight.
Transformation happens in the moment-to-moment choices we make.
Transformation is one heck of an investment - it takes time, energy and usually involves a lot of setbacks. There are no shortcuts to transformation and quick fixes don’t last. But it is possible.
Tips for transformation:
Visualise + motivate
Spend some time getting really clear on what you want and why. You need to know what you’re in it for. Why does this change or transformation matter to you? What would your life look like if you were to change? What would it feel like? Hitting your goal weight doesn’t guarantee happiness, becoming a morning person won’t necessarily make you any more productive, and travelling the world might just be a temporary plaster over your quarter life crisis. Be specific and crystal clear on the real reason for wanting something different.
Self-love + Acceptance
I know, lame. But you can’t change everything about yourself, or you just woundn’t be yourself. You must accept yourself as you are before you attempt to reinvent yourself. Acceptance helps to create peace of mind and self-love, which is essential because self-loathing and punishment isn’t sustainable - it’ll run you down and any success will be tainted with a nasty aftertaste. Choose to change from place of self-love.
Keep it simple
There’s only so much that you can commit to at once. Prioritise what matters the most to you and focus on that. It might feel as though you need to overhaul your whole life but starting where you are and implementing one change at a time won't wear you out the same way that a scattergun approach will. Simplify. Focus. Prioritise.
Be patient + Persistent
Patience is essential if you want to experience real change or transformation. Results don’t come overnight but with consistent and committed action. It might not be glamorous, but the real work is done behind the scenes, committing without promise of reward, motivating yourself. When motivation wains and you’ve forgotten why you wanted this so badly take a moment to tap back into your ‘why’ - your motivation.
Forget perfection, just pitch up.
Forget about the outcomes, the results and the amount of time you need to put in to achieve your goals - just pitch up. Perfection isn’t possible and you’ll waste an awful lot of energy chasing it. Come, do the work as best you can and you’ll be the best result.
I'd love to hear if you're setting any New Years resolutions and why? Share them in the comments.with me in the comments.
Image via The Little Sage