Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work And How You Can Master Yourself PERMANENTLY
I know it’s a little on the late side since January has well and truly kicked off, but Happy New Year to you all!
And how are those New Year resolutions going? Still going strong, or starting to feel the burn? Perhaps you’ve already given up.
If the latter sounds like you then worry not ,because today I want to talk about why New Year New Me doesn’t work, and why you can still win big this year while being yourself.
For many, New Years is like starting a fresh new notebook or journal. You know the feeling: crisp fresh pages that you’re definitely going to keep neat and fill all the pages this time. But ten weeks later, it’s full of scribbles and you’re already looking at new ones.
That’s what New Yew Year’s resolutions can be like and this is why so many people are what I call one month wonders.
It’s the same every year; the clock strikes midnight and everyone cheers, pops the champagne and vows to be a better person.
‘From this moment on, I’m cutting sugar and losing weight!’
‘I’m going to find a new job’,
‘I’m going to be more organised’,
‘I’m going to stop smoking’’
‘I’m going to start going to the gym’,
‘I’m going to be a better parent/partner’,
‘I’m going to get a nicer partner’
Half a week goes by. Then one. You’re on fire! You’re totally going to smash your goals. You can already feel yourself becoming the person you’re meant to be, that you’ve always dreamed of.
Then week two comes and you start to feel the burn. It’s hard. Really hard. And you’ve already skipped a few days at the gym, and are falling behind schedule.
Life is hard, so you go out and treat yourself to the biggest, creamiest slice of cake you can find, accompanied by the sweetest, most luxurious hot chocolate. Bliss.
‘Oh well, failed already,’ you think. But no matter, everyone else has as well. I’ll try again once the warmer weather comes.’
Thus, the pattern continues year after year. The resolutions remain the same, and the list is a little longer than before. Why isn’t anything changing? You try, but life just keeps getting in the way.
That’s because New Year New Me doesn’t work like that.
Despite what marketing would have you believe, you’re still you, and growth takes place over a long period of time. Change must come from within if you want to see a significant difference in your reality.
A new you isn’t something that comes about like a change in the weather. It’s like planting a tree, maintaining it, and watching it grow. It takes time and dedication. And you must be willing to fail and learn from it as a part of the process.
Society and social media would have you believe that you must be perfect, and that you can be perfect if only you’d buy this health drink, and this notebook. But the opposite is true.
Without failure you cannot win.
This may feel shocking and a little uncomfortable to take on, but failure is a great thing. Not only do you learn what works and what doesn’t, it means you’re taking action, which is more than most people do.
There isn’t a single successful person who has got where they have or where they did without consistent failure.
Take Thomas Edison, for example. He didn’t see failure as his enemy, despite a thousand failed attempts at creating the lightbulb.When a reporter asked how it felt to have failed that many times, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
The reason so many people fail and don’t get back up is because they lack grit, don’t have a powerful enough reason for change to take place, and see failure as a terrible, unacceptable thing.
Also, getting fired up just because everyone else is doing it.
Everyone else is going to the gym and going on diets. Everyone else has a plan. Everyone else is going to be better and you’re going to be left in the dark.
But if you’re one of those people who say ‘Right, it’s New Year, I’m going to be more assertive and look after myself more’, you’re not serious enough.
That’s right. You’re not truly ready to commit.
Because people who wait until the New Year to make changes always wait for the planets to align before they start. They wait until everyone else is doing the same thing, then burn out at around the same time.
If you’re dead serious about becoming a new you and winning throughout the year, the best time to start is always NOW.
You’ve probably read that on a hundred other posts and in dozens of books. You might even be sick of seeing it. That’s because it’s true.
It doesn’t matter if it’s New Year or the end of summer, if you’re twenty-five or seventy. If you really want things to change, you’ll put in the time and dedication from the moment you decide what you want.
As author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn said ‘If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse’.
I used to be a master of excuses and spinning stories as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t. It meant I could sound and feel temporarily awesome without putting in the work.
If I was meant to be successful, success would come to me. Maybe I’d even win big on the lottery.
I grew up with everyone around me telling me that life is hard, that money is hard to come by, that I should be grateful for what I have and not do anything stupid, aka, go outside my comfort zone and look for another way in life.
I was told that people who have money or who were successful had either cheated the system or won big.
And I believed it all.
As a result, I looked in awe at successful people and thought they were born that way. If someone was in a higher position that me at work I looked at them almost like celebrities. I put them on a pedestal and looked at them starry-eyed whilst seeing myself as important as pond scum.
When I discovered and started following minimalism, everything changed for me because getting rid of my hoard forced me to confront the reasons I was clinging on.
I’ve also read tonnes of amazing self-help books and done every exercise in them, applying them best I can every day of my life.
That doesn’t mean that I never slip up because I do, plenty of times. But it’s important to keep going. Remember what I said about failure?
Over time my confidence has sky-rocketed, I’ve completed the first course towards a new career as a counsellor, and I started this blog. I also entered my first writing competition despite being so terrified that my heart was pounding before I hit publish.
My mindset has completely altered from what it once was and my old beliefs have long gone out with the trash.
But it took a lot of hard work and perseverance. I had to carve out time for personal reflection and self-growth exercises, to toss out my past in bin liners and boxes, and it had to be more important than sitting with a game controller in hand, daydreaming about a new me.
Change didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time, and I’ll never have completely reached my full potential because growth never stops.
In the words of entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Hal Elrod, ‘You are where you are because of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be.”
To be successful you have to make the choice to carry on long after everyone around you has quit.
It’s easy to enter the New Year saying ‘Hell yeah, watch out world, here comes the new me!’and dive in brimming with motivation, especially while everyone else is doing the same thing.
It’s why it’s always so hard to find a parking spot at gyms in January, why book shops start selling all the motivational self-help books, and why health food and fitness equipment adverts can suddenly be found everywhere.
But simply buying an exercise bike and going at it when you feel like it isn’t going to make you fit.
Buying a nicer laptop or a shiny new notebook isn’t going to make you a well-known author.
Ditching one bad relationship isn’t going to stop you from attracting more of the same if you still harbour subconscious negative beliefs about your self-worth.
Vowing to be better with money isn’t going to make you any richer.
What will get you results is riding that bike regularly, churning out words daily, altering your inner beliefs so that you will no longer put up with mediocre circumstances. Not giving up when you fail, no matter how many times.
What you do must become so routine that it feels the new norm, including the way you think about yourself.
Grit and habit aside, you must also be very specific. If you’re vague and say things like ‘I will be better with money’, you’ll be scratching your head come March and blowing cobwebs out of your wallet.
You need a detailed plan which includes specifics. For example ‘I will not go under £200 in my bank account every month. I will do this by eating out only once a month, and making lunches at home four days a week’.
You must become like the Terminator. Your why must be so strong that it can’t be reasoned with or bargained with, and you must be relentless even when everyone else is back to screwing around.
Let me give you an example of this from my own experience.
When I first decided I was going to change my path and become a counsellor, I encountered a lot of resistance from others; mainly because it had come to me in a dream and it felt so right and I felt so excited that I started excitedly ranting to my husband about it.
Then I jumped out of bed and started looking up courses and thinking of ways to pay for it, even though I was completely broke.
Not surprisingly, my family thought I had lost my mind.
But I felt so intensely that this was the path I was meant to follow, that I didn’t stop. I went on the search for days, researching the career, talking to people, and searching for courses even when it seemed there were none in my area.
I didn’t care how long it took me or if I had to travel for miles on train. My husband was about tearing his hair out at this point trying to talk and shout sense into me (before he started supporting me when he saw just how deadly serious I was).
Long story short, a course appeared in my area as if by magic and in a very short time I applied for and was accepted onto it. In true Law of Attraction style, I ended up with the exact amount of money needed to pay for it and have now completed my course and applied for the next one.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I didn’t care what anyone else said to me, what the universe threw at me, or what my current situation was.
That’s how dedicated you need to be if you want to change your life.
Yes you’ll have challenges thrown your way. The universe loves to do that.
Many people see them as impossible hurdles and a sure sign that they aren’t meant to succeed.
Don’t believe it for a moment! See these things for what they really are – a test to see how serious you are. Find a way to barrage through the obstacle and you’ll get to where you want in no time.
This brings me to my final point of staying focused.
Whatever you do, don’t compare yourself to others and look at what they’re doing unless it’s for educational or inspirational purposes.
It’s not a competition and you won’t be lying in the same grave as them when you’re gone.
You’re living YOUR life, crafting YOUR own reality. You can only do this by following YOUR own path in life.
If you’re constantly looking over at someone else’s path, you’re going to bump into trees, get lost and not even see the massive pile of gold you passed ten miles back.
You’ll also probably start noticing how many more weeds are on your path than theirs, not realising they had to hack their way through a jungle at the start.
So stop dreaming and start living, TODAY!
With that, I leave you with one more quote I love by Jim Rohn:
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”