New Year’s Resolutions Part 2

New Year's Resolutions Part 2: Following-up on Your Resolutions 

It is now the end of the month and a great time to check in on how the intentions you set earlier in the month.  I want you to start by taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you do not get grades on this. Remember this exercise was quite literally intended to help you set intentions and/or goals from a place of self-compassion. Try approaching this check-in with curiosity, openness, kindness, and objectivity. It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions so we’re just following up on your resolutions to be mindful of your progress.

Keep in mind my yoga class example we discussed earlier in the month. What was different for the people who became regulars, or as I called them “the usual suspects”, from the people who felt discouraged by the end of the month? What new mindsets and behaviors can help you become a regular at living your life in ways that feel more fulfilling to you? As you reflect on your resolutions thus far, consider both what is going well that you would like to continue, and what is not working that you may want to let go. As you take a look back at your resolutions, refer back to the tips below to help you adapt and feel able to continue feeling resilient on your resolutions journey this year. 

Let Go Of Extremes 

Contrary to popular belief there are no rules or qualifications for New Year’s resolutions. If you achieve your goals you can always set more. People set goals that feel too large which sets them up to be disappointed or burn out quickly. The people who became regulars are those who set more realistic and manageable goals. For example, coming up to class at least 1x per week instead of aiming to exercise every day. 

Practice Patience In The Process 

Not only do people tend to want extreme results or changes, but they often want them fast too. This urgency can serve as a barrier that leads to giving up. Yoga is called a practice for a reason. No one will ever be perfect at it. The regulars are the people who can tolerate slow growth. They have a willingness to be challenged and are not defined by the ups and downs they experience. Slow and steady may not yield as much instant gratification but it will also lead to more sustainable change 

Make Goals Specific And Tangible 

Resolutions that are too vague or broad can feel too overwhelming to approach. In many cases, people will feel lost and often avoid the goal completely. The more specific you can make the goal, the more you can visualize what it would look like to achieve. This will also help you create more concrete steps for taking action. The regulars in my class aimed to come to the same class, at the same time, and would show up each week to integrate it into their routine. 

Figure Out What Helps You Be Accountable 

To help you feel accountable, think about goals you have accomplished before and what helped you do that. Was it a support person who met you at yoga each week? Was it checking in on your goal regularly to assess how it is going? Is it blocking off that time from work each week so that you can have your self-care time? Is there a value that drives this goal? If so, what is it? Become aware of what this really means to you. When something matters to us we are more likely to want to keep up with it. Explore methods for keeping you consistent that feel like kind methods of support. Rather than forcing or shaming yourself into a habit or shift.

Be Willing To Adapt 

I find that rigidity is a big barrier to change. There is no best path to take when it comes to your own personal journey. Notice both what is and is not working for you and be willing to shift your plan as you go to make it work better for you. Maybe your work schedule changes and you can no longer do morning yoga. Maybe this means doing a couple flows at home to get you ready for the day or trying a new day and time that you can commit to class. Life happens and the more accepting we can be and willing to adjust the more resilient we will feel. 

Practice Self-Compassion 

The way we talk to ourselves is often not the way we would treat or talk to someone we love and care about. Notice the negative dialogue that comes up as you go through the process of working towards goals. Practice reinforcing more kind and caring words to yourself. If you miss a week of yoga instead of beating yourself up be curious about this rather than judgmental. Consider if any adjustments need to be made to the goal. Or acknowledge that life happens and the process does not need to be perfect to count. 

Take a few deep breaths. On your inhale I want you to take in kindness and acceptance and on your exhale please imagine releasing any judgment that may have come up for you while looking over your resolutions. Remember, if you did at least one thing that felt self-compassionate this month you are coming out ahead!!!

Article written by Dani Parmacek, LCPC

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