New Years Resolutions That Never Stick
Why is it that we start the New Year with such good intentions, promising ourselves that we will get fitter/lose weight/start to meditate yada yada yada, but by halfway through the year – if you’re lucky enough to have stuck with it that long! – They have all fallen by the wayside and we are back to our old, unhealthy habits? I think the answer is twofold.
A Mindset Shift Is Needed
The first one involves a mindset shift because we tend to forget why we set those intentions in the first place. Ok, so you want to lose weight. But WHY? You need to have a reason that holds value to you personally. Perhaps your doctor has told you that you need to shift some pounds before having an operation. Or maybe you want to be able to run around after your children or grandchildren without wheezing. Perhaps you want to make sure you enter middle age with a good quality of life, or maybe you have a wedding dress to fit into. Whatever it is, don’t be vague.
Find The Feeling
When I am leading workshops based on setting affirmation and intentions, I always say to people – what feeling are you trying to create with your wish? How will owning that new car / taking that trip / getting a promotion/finding love make you feel? Try to really imagine your wish as if it was real. Feel into your body as you create in your mind the perfect day where your intentions have all worked out. Notice the emotions of joy, gratitude and happiness arise.
The Science of Happiness
The science tells us that just getting great stuff – like a car – isn’t what will make us happy. So try to think about what that car will help you do. You can drive your friends to the beach at the weekend. Or you can travel to see your parents more easily. The science definitely tells us that joyful experiences will bring us happiness. So when thinking about your intentions, think of what owning that car, and being at the beach with your friends, will help you feel.
Don’t Go Too Big
The second thing is more practical. Simply put, our intentions are not only too vague but also too grandiose. ‘I want to lose weight’ is too intimidating a prospect. It’s massive and overwhelming. We try for a few weeks, and maybe at first, a good few pounds come off. But then we plateau and we don’t know what to do anymore, we tell ourselves we can’t do it and before we know it, we’ve given up.
My life hack for sticking to intentions is to make them small, manageable, and – to help them become habitual – add them on to something you already do.
So for example. Say you would love to try meditation because you’re constantly being told it’s great for your mental health. But you can’t possibly imagine adding in an hour of just sitting every day into your already super busy schedule. So start small. Promise yourself 5 minutes. Every time you go and make your regular morning coffee, set the kettle to boil and while you wait, just be still for a while. Take a seat at your kitchen island, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the kettle as it slowly brings the water to boil. Too fidgety to sit still? Have the making of the coffee itself become the meditation. Pick your favourite mug, measure out your coffee and milk mindfully, notice the smells, the sounds…become absorbed in the present moment. That is meditation after all.
Little Shifts Make Big Changes
However small, these little changes will soon add up and start to make a difference. And when they do, you will begin to make them a priority in and of themselves. Soon you’ll be making sure that you assign an hour in your day for exercise or twenty minutes before bed to meditate. You’ll have created a healthy habit without even really noticing, and your intentions will still be with you by December.
What one small change are you going to make today? Leave me a comment below…
About The Author
Amy Miller – Founder of Amy Miller Yoga + Wellbeing I am a yoga and well-being guide with 7 years of experience helping people become calm, centred and confident. I work at a busy yoga studio in the Surrey Hills and run women’s circles, workshops and retreats to help people create a spiritual life that brings them health and happiness. Practicing yoga for 25 years has given me an enormous amount of experience working with the body, and guiding people with all levels of experience into a practice that creates a balance of strength and flexibility. I have worked in a variety of settings including at Sweaty Betty, the National Trust, festivals, schools and corporations. I use techniques such as Thai Yoga massage, ritual, self-care, meditation and breathe work in combination for a truly unique experience.