Do you have few things you want to change this year? Get in shape, be a better parent, partner, employee, boss. Save some money?
Most New Year’s Resolutions fail. I probably didn’t have to tell you that. How many of your items from last year are still on your list this year? Some of them? All of them? There are lots of reasons. And lots of motivational videos on YouTube you can watch. What I’d like to share is one shift in thinking that helped me to start to reach goals, instead of getting super frustrated with myself and quitting.
The biggest shift in my mind was to stop putting a short/unrealistic time limit on goals. Instead of giving myself three weeks to lose 10 pounds or 30 days to be a better mom, I give myself 6 months or a year to accomplish my goals. For some things I give myself even longer. I keep going for as long as it takes to get there. This is not the same as saying ‘Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.’ No, this is me working regularly at my goals, but taking the stress of a date that is too unreachable, off of it.
This longer time frame keeps me in reality. If you want to lose 20 lbs and give yourself 2 months, you are likely to fail. NOT because you aren’t trying. NOT because you lack will power. NOT because you are a weak and terrible person. But because you set yourself up to fail by being unrealistic. It’s the same as saying I want to drive to Chicago in 20 minutes. Unless you live that close, this idea is crazy and you wouldn’t feel dumb if you failed. You would know it’s not possible and give yourself more time. You’d look up the directions on your phone, and set a realistic goal- hopefully you give yourself pit stops to pee as well. If you live 15 hours from Chicago, and you give yourself 17 hours to get there, you’ll succeed!!
So why are we a little insane about our goals? Well, you could blame greedy people who just want to sell a program or shakes. It’s a conspiracy! Or you could understand humans tend to be a little insane about goals.
We take a fantasy of being size 6 or losing 15 lbs in 10 days, and squash it together with lies about being self disciplined. “This time I’m only eating ice cubes and carrots!” What could go wrong? We also add a dash of cruelty to our innocent and magnificent bodies. “I don’t care how long it’s been since you’ve eaten! It’s January 5th and we’re going to do this! 500 calories a day is reasonable!”
We do the same thing with all our goals. We want to be the best mom and feel horrible if we yell at our kids. We want to love our spouse well, but fail. So we give up.
So you quit in 2 months, or more likely, 3 days. It’s really not quitting. It’s reality hitting you in the face. You’ve driven 20 minutes and you are NOT in Chicago.
What if you had just stuck with it for 4 more months- 16 more weeks. 120 more days? You would have made it. Instead you go 365 more days until next January, to start this process of failure all over again. And what if you allow yourself to fail along the way? To keep going until you get it, not beat yourself up when you revert back to old behaviors and habits?
When you give yourself time, you can celebrate along the way. You can fail and know you are still on your way. Not beat yourself up. And kindness motivates. Being mean to yourself doesn’t.
So be kind! Be realistic. Set some goals and give yourself time to reach them. You got this! And if you’ve already given up on any goals from January 1st, start again! You are worth it!
If you are finding yourself struggling with emotional pain, anxiety, or feeling stuck, check out www.cyrinatalbott.com.