I may be one of the only people who did NOT start their New Year’s Resolutions today. For many, many reasons and based on some very poignant past experiences, I have learned that this first Monday of the New Year might possibly be the WORST day of the year to start a new routine IF the end goal is success. If you find yourself faithfully meeting your New Year’s goals each year, then this post might not be for you-
BUT, if you are like the scads of people who start January with a long list of “new” with full intention to ‘stick to it’ and then find yourself fizzling out after a few months, or a even few weeks, then you might want to give yourself a break and read on.
I have three main reasons why I, not only avoid starting New Year’s Resolutions the first week of January, but I do not even WRITE New Year’s goals until the second FULL week of January.
Reset and Restore:
The last six weeks of the year are always full of family, friends, hustle, and bustle- more so than the first 46 weeks of each year. No matter how hard I try to keep on top of EVERYTHING, I simply cannot add all the holiday ‘to-do’s’ and keep up on the daily grind.
My exercise habits get cut back, my eating habits change, my sleep habits deteriorate, and my personal study time is nearly eliminated. All of the hustle and bustle energy changes again once Christmas hits my home. As schools release the kids for vacation and my college kids come home for the holiday, we either leave town on travel or we go into ‘stay-cation’ mode- every day filled with museums, movies, bowling… any kind of activity to enjoy some much needed family fun time!
We go to bed late and sleep in long past our regular wake up time; we eat out and we anxiously look for new adventures, often ones that include food and treats!
The Holidays are fun and exciting, and often provide a much needed break from our regular routine, but holiday mode is NOT sustainable long term- as I’m sure many of you might agree.
The problem with trying to establish New Year’s Resolutions while you are in holiday mode is that nothing is normal; of course we want to eat better, exercise more, be more organized, take more time for ourselves, and enjoy the simple things in life- we’ve abandoned all of that to fit in the fun and frolic of the holiday season!
We are in party mode, not living life mode- and like a really long party, we need to take time to come off the high we’ve created and come back to reality.
My kids went back to school today and I will spend the next week catching up on all the chores and tasks that I didn’t get done while they were home. I will do laundry, clean my fridge, go to the grocery store, and do a million other things to “catch up” on the two weeks we had off of our routine. Don’t get me wrong, I WILL return to the gym and eat more veggies than chocolate, but until I have restored a little of my regular flow, I will NOT try to establish a NEW focus.
Setting a good base:
While I am restoring my life flow, I will refocus my attention; I will spend time in study, I will ponder my goals, and I will take time to really think about what matters most to me. In the end, it might be weight loss, it might be creating a new diet, and it might be to simplify my life a little- but I cannot know what matters most while I feel like everything is still a little, or a lot, out of control.
I have found that, like a good tower built out of Lego’s, I can reach a little higher if I take time to secure and stabilize my foundation.
One main reasons that many people falter when it comes to their New Year’s goals is that they hit the ground running so hard that they set a pace that is NOT sustainable. Have you ever been to a gym during the first week of January? Classes and treadmills are filled to the brim. Compared to March, when numbers steps and elliptical machines are more than abundant. This is not because the gym bought more equipment and added more teachers, it is because the New Year’s-ers have dropped out of the game!
Unlike any other year, I will spend a little time this week gathering a few nuggets of wisdom from 2015; reflecting on the biggest blessings that have come out of some amazing challenges and opportunities. 2015 was unlike anything I have ever experienced and I want to bring all of the strength and knowledge that I gained into 2016, while leaving behind peacefully any loss or wounds that are meant to remain in the past. Gathering little nuggets, like flecks of gold, is important to me- my journal and I will spend many early morning hours together this week, I am quite certain of that.
Asking myself “Why”
If we do not have a good “why” behind our goals, it is very easy to let challenge and obstacle stand in the way of success. A good WHY is our way of solidifying our resolve to succeed and firmly set up for the successes we desire; knowing the “Why” gives value and meaning to our goals!
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you feel the need to take time to go to the gym?
Why do you want to slow down and enjoy the moment?
Why do you want to look for a new direction in your career?
What is the deep down reason you are looking for change? In looking at the “Why”, you may find that there is a better, more sustainable road to where you are trying to go.
Consider a road trip taken by two families travelling from sea to shining sea, from Sacramento to Ocean City, Maryland; each has family to visit and three weeks to make the journey-
One family loves the beach and determines that they want to see as many small coastal towns as possible along their journey,
While the second family determines that they should look at some the college towns along US Route 50 in preparation for their triplets graduating from high school-
Both are travelling towards the same destination, but their journeys and experiences will be vastly different because of their WHY! I learned a valuable lesson about what happens to New Year’s Resolutions when I take time to find the WHY a few years ago and I’ll never again skip this step!
Another great benefit to understanding your WHY is the ability this offers you to recognize your small successes along the journey! Many New Year’s Resolutions are intended to be lifestyle changes, otherwise they’d be called New Month’s Resolutions or New Day’s Goals! But we don’t get from point A to point B without a lot of micro-goals being hit along the way. Know you WHY, Celebrate your victories!
And my BONUS reason that I will wait until next week to consider my New Year…
Consider the WHO:
I am concerned as much about WHO I will become in my New Year as I am about what I will DO with my new year, and with 100% authenticity, I am pretty hard on myself that last week of December. I am tired, I feel crowded, and I feel really overwhelmed with everything that I didn’t do with my 12 months! This is the WORST time to decide how to move forward- when I feel crappy about the past. I need a little time to reset my mind, my heart, and my soul-
In the end, if my journey doesn’t create a better wife, mother, neighbor, friend, or self- it really doesn’t matter what size my pants are or how often I make it to the gym!
Along those same lines, if my journey does not allow my husband, my children, my siblings, or my friends to become THEIR best selves, then I fell a little short of my true potential. Though I cannot make change for anyone else, I can be certain to support and sustain those I love most!
I am super excited about this NEW YEAR! In all honesty, I am really ready to get started, and if I didn’t know myself, I would be ready to get started now. But, I’ll spend my week resetting and restoring- setting up my foundation and finding my why and my who- ready to kick it into gear next week.