Already given up on your New Year’s Resolutions? Setting New Year’s Principles will help you keep the positivity longer.
Many of us fall into the trap of setting New Year’s resolutions only to be disappointed when we fail to keep them. We decide we’re not going to drink until someone serves champagne or that lovely glass of wine. We decide we’re going to exercise everyday until we get sick or the kids schedule becomes too much for us to handle. We decide we’re going eat super healthy until that delicious piece of chocolate molten lava cake is steaming on our neighbor’s plate and we just can’t resist. Then the excuses come and by mid January we’re back to the same old habits. We’re justifying our comfortable lifestyle even though we set the best intentions for a fabulous new year. It’s time to stop the justification and do what you really want to!
Set some New Year’s principles! That’s right, like Hemingway’s “code,” we all have principles and values we live by. It’s time to go inside, pull out some of those and begin implementing them into our daily lives. It’s something I’ve been doing for a while and I find it most gratifying and compelling. In the past, I’ve chosen the principle of finishing because it’s easy for me to start a project, but harder for me to follow through, cross the t’s, dot the i’s, wrap it up, and file it away. Instead, my desk looms with unfinished projects, partially opened mail and unread emails.
Halting all procrastination is another principle I’ve used. We all have a tendency to get lazy and believe me, I’m no exception. I’d stray from my yoga practice or blow off some exercise. Other times I’d push off those tougher things like confronting a loved one about an issue or dealing with a tough relationship at work. Of course, the diet is always easy to procrastinate about. “Oh, I’ll wait until tomorrow to give up gluten.” If we act now, it will be much easier to follow and we’ll begin to build confidence with each positive choice we make.
This year I’ve chosen to be more mindful in as many areas in my life as possible. So far it’s working about 70-80% of the time and I’m very happy about that. I’m more mindful when I’m driving. I keep my hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel. I breathe to relax and feel the speed of the car on the road. I’m more mindful in my conversations with people. I’m not thinking about my next thing. I stay with the person I’m talking to and if distractions come into my head I fight them off by breathing and keeping eye contact. Yes, once in a while I go off course, but I come back and it does get easier.
New Year’s resolutions typically die out because we get excited about the new year and decide we need to conquer the world. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” There is a herd mentality around this time of year, but 600 pull ups might be too much to ask of yourself and 400 calories a day is unhealthy for anyone! Don’t believe the hype of the holidays and reign in your resolutions. Everyday is a new beginning. You don’t have wait until January 1 to improve your life. And you can start fresh every moment of every day! Take a deep breath and gracefully cruise into the new year!
Try these 5 things to keep your New Year’s Principles going and change your life for good!
1. Make sure you use something general such as being more compassionate, or being more mindful, or being healthier. This way you can use these principles in many areas of your life and not just one goal that may be too grandiose or impossible.
2. Don’t make the resolution so lofty that it’s impossible to keep. My mom used to tell me to take human bites. Do the same with your New Year’s commitments.
3. Make change happen from within. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That is the perfect New Year’s principle. It holds you accountable, it inspires you and ultimately keeps you motivated to be a better human being.
4. Start new everyday. We all think if we miss a day then we’re lost forever and we can’t go back. Just because you fall off the wagon of goodness doesn’t mean you can get back on and keep on truckin’.
5. Ignite your inner coach. Years ago I used to get so down on myself if I was late. And I was late often. Now, I’m on time or early mostly, but in the rare chance I’m late, instead of badgering myself inside, I forgive myself and encourage little old me to stay calm, work hard and get there as soon as safely possible.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/BazaarBizarreSF