It’s a few weeks into 2016, and I know that while many of us hit the ground running on our commitments (I prefer 'commitments' over 'resolutions') for the New Year — perhaps as soon as the clock struck midnight — some of us at this point may be slowing our pace. We may have been tripped up a couple of times by unexpected events, or our normal regular routine isn’t accommodating the changes we so eagerly introduced. I’ll admit that my post-holiday recovery time was a little longer than anticipated, and my sprint out the gate of 2016 was more of a shuffle.
It’s not uncommon to see a drop off in gym attendance, new arts and craft projects to go unfinished, and freshly tidied rooms to slowly begin to clutter once more. The excitement of “New Year, New Start” wears off and we gradually revert to our old routines. It’s frustrating, but cheer up, there’s hope!
First understand a universal truth: Change is challenging! If it were easy we’d do it all the time and wouldn’t wait for the beginning of a new year. Personally, I’m a creature of comfort — naps are my jam. Change requires some if not a painful amount of discomfort, especially if it addresses long-practiced behaviors. These habits won’t be undone overnight, and it’s more likely that changes will occur in fits and starts rather than one smooth transition. Napoleon Hill wrote that most failures are just temporary defeats. We can have thousands of temporary defeats, which help us learn, adapt and eventually succeed. If the change is something you truly wish to make, then accept with compassion backslides and temporary defeats, without throwing in the towel (and definitely don’t throw that towel on that pile of other towels).
You may also want to revisit WHY you committed to making the changes you thought of at the time. Look a little deeper: did you commit to yoga three times a week because you wanted to be more active? Live longer? Look good in yoga pants? The best intentions start with values, which can guide you to the right action that is best for you and you alone. What do you value? If you committed to yoga because you value a healthy mind, body and spirit, but the actual practice doesn’t quite engage you, maybe your commitment to health looks like a walk in the woods, dancing samba Friday nights, or all of the above, including some yoga. An easy way to decide is to scan your memory for things you’ve done and enjoyed that you would like to do more (remember, ‘would’, not ‘should’). Then do it.
Fear is often excitement with the brakes on. It’s just energy. Fear can be instructive and directive. It’s a guide that’ll show you exactly where you have to go.
Finally, recognize the role that fear plays, because it can be a significant factor in why new behaviors don’t stick. I spoke about fear in a podcast interview last year and freely admit to the continued struggle. This year I committed to making greater strides in my business and based on prior experience I know to expect a mental labyrinth of fears to address in the process. I attended a workshop aimed at dealing with this issue and learned that just as fear is a belief, so is confidence, and we have the power to choose one over the other. Learn to analyze and understand what the fear is, find the underlying negative self-belief (usually completely false) and flip it to build confidence instead. Another great piece of advice that stuck with me from the workshop led by Melissa Camilleri and hosted by Inspire Midtown, a Lean In Circle: “Where your attention goes, grows.” If nothing else, place your attention on thoughts that empower you and help you move forward.
Best wishes for a committed 2016!