It’s only a couple of weeks into January, and I have already broken all my New Year’s resolutions. I have great intentions, and my resolutions are realistic – so what am I doing wrong?
Signed: Gave Up Already!
Dear Gave Up Already!
Most of us, whenever we decide to make changes, prepare by picking a launch day. We get it in our heads that TODAY isn’t the ideal time to shift to begin. We want to have a big start. We feel we need time to “get ready” for whatever we will be doing differently. Or we think we need to add in other prep steps to make the journey towards change somehow more successful. But truthfully, real change doesn’t need a fanfare kickstart moment to be achievable. Real change comes from a realization that we are unhappy or dissatisfied with our current situation, and with a desire for and a belief in the idea that we deserve better. It is a connection within ourselves that allows us to leave behind whatever old habit we recognize as unhealthy. And it is this connection that propels us forward into a new process that will meet our needs. When we are ready to make a change, the time is NOW.
So, what can help with the changes you have decided you want to make in 2021? A fantastic personal fitness trainer that I know, Karla Loeppky, (from Your Body Your Weigh, here in Beaumont) has shared some of the strategies she encourages in her clients as they create healthy and long-lasting lifestyle changes in their lives.
HAVE A CRYSTAL-CLEAR VISION – recognize the change you want to make and imagine the end result in precise detail. Believe that you deserve it and that you need it in order to achieve the success you are lacking without it.
CONNECT THAT VISION WITH A WHY – focus on the purpose behind the change you want to create and be honest with yourself about what is missing or what is unhealthy in your life because you do not yet have the vision you have imagined. Without that essential driving factor, you will lose the connection within yourself when things get tough.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE – find your cheerleaders, your advocates, your supporters. Create a network of help that you will easily reach out to in those challenging moments. If the people around you doubt your vision, chances are you will, too.
PLAN OUT SMALL ACTIONS – figure out each little action you need to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be in one month or six months. Build a ladder of steps for progress, and make sure each rung of that ladder is achievable and realistic. If the steps are too big, they will never be attainable.
TAKE ACTION CONSISTENTLY – start climbing that ladder you have built NOW and keep going. When you falter (and you might), reset and restart right away. Don’t wait for Monday. You will just reinforce the old habit again, making it even stronger. If you want to make changes, commitment to action, no matter how small it seems, is of the utmost importance.
REFRAME YOUR SELF TALK – be kind and supportive to yourself. Instead of thinking in terms of “should” and “must”, remind yourself that you have already started to make the changes within by mentally embracing your new perspective. Be your own friend, instead of your own critic, and the physical actions will be more likely to follow.
Kim Silverthorn B.A., R.P.C., M.P.C.C., C.T. is a registered MPCC through the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association and a registered CT through the Association of Clinical Therapists of Alberta. She is the owner of/therapist with Tacit Knowledge, a local counselling agency in Beaumont. She has been providing therapeutic support and professional development training for more than 30 years.
See more from Kim at https://www.tacitknows.com/. If you have a question that you would like Dear Tacit to answer relating to any mental health issue, please feel free to email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is a psycho-educational support and is not designed to be a substitute for counselling.