Yes, that's right! Success Guaranteed. Stick with me to the end of the blog! The gain is in the process!
Welcome to 2024! Congratulations on reaching this new chapter of life. As we embark on this shared journey, let's make every moment count. While some didn't make it past 2023, we've been given the opportunity to thrive in 2024. The average life expectancy is around 83 years, translating to approximately 30,000 days. It's time to face our mortality positively and embrace the philosophy of "memento mori" – remember you will die. This perspective encourages us to live each day to the fullest, as tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Living with the awareness of our mortality fuels a life filled with purpose and passion. As we delve into the new year, let's explore why New Year's resolutions often fail and how we can succeed in transformative goals.
New Year's Resolutions: The Challenge and Solutions
According to a study by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their New Year's resolutions, highlighting a need for effective strategies. Success in resolutions is influenced by individual efforts, support systems, goal-setting strategies, and the nature of the resolutions. Setting realistic and specific goals, creating a plan, and seeking support enhance the likelihood of success.
How to Succeed in Your New Year Resolution
1. Trigger: Take Stock of Your Current Situation
- Assess your happiness, goals, talents, and potential areas for growth. Identify areas of stagnation, whether in your career, relationships, or personal development. Confront fear and push boundaries. This step is crucial.
Don't look at the habit; look for the reason why you struggle in that aspect of your life. When you find the reason why, it's game over – you win! It's like being asked to tame a beast; the first thing any serious person will do is study the beast. Studying the beast is identifying the why.
Caution: We are not talking self-criticism here. If you practice self-criticism, you're practicing becoming really good at doing something that is bad for you! Every time you exercise your brain neurons that lead to self-criticism, they are stopping exercising the self-love ones, which leads to a parallel downward spiral of becoming really bad at something that is good for you!
2. Decide on a Specific Area for Improvement
- Choose a transformative goal that resonates with your desire for change. Be fed up with the old to embrace the new identity you seek. When you decide that the person you were in that area doesn't serve you anymore, commit to the change. Commit to the process. And do not disappoint yourself. When we make promises that we do not keep, we are letting the most important person (that's us) down and telling ourselves that we can't be taken seriously or, worse still, "I am a loser." Your brain will learn whatever you spend your time practicing! But practice can make you miserable if what you are repeatedly practicing is your own unhappiness!
3. Choose a Cornerstone Habit
- Start with a foundational habit, such as getting up early, going to bed early, eating healthy, or adopting intermittent fasting. I have found that early rising is my absolute foundation habit. At times I don't feel like it, but I count, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and move! It always works! It has been said that the difference between the rich and poor (in Western society) is when they get up. While the rest of us are asleep, they are gaining hours by early rising.
4. Start Now!
- It's the elephant in the room! This step often starts with emotion. An emotion that is not allowed to be felt, expressed, and shared tends to reside inside us and grow into a little monster. We have to get to the point where we open up to ourselves. Often we don't open up to others because we don't open up to ourselves. We deny the existence of an emotion and so deny the need for change. This can then lead to analysis paralysis and procrastination.
- Procrastination delays progress. There's no better time than now to initiate change and take control of your destiny. Do it the Nike way, "just do it." Time and repeated use are the only ways to reshape your brain and consequently, your habits and behaviour.
5. Make a Contract with Yourself
- Commit to working with and becoming the best version of yourself. Establish boundaries and decide on non-negotiables. For example, I'm a vegan; when I transformed to a plant-based lifestyle in 2006, anything that had a "face or a mother" was my non-negotiable. I became plant-based overnight; it wasn't even a new year resolution, so I can't brag about it. But, I was fed up with the person I was becoming, unhealthy, addicted to chocolate, Pizza Hut, and the rest. So I decided to change that overnight. Looking back, it worked so well because I was fed up with the person that I was.
But to work every day, without fail for all these years, it meant that I had to form firm boundaries. At the start, the smell of meat cooking or on the barbecue was an impossible attraction; right now, the smell of meat cooking is repulsive. It's the tale of 2 wolves. The wolf you feed is the wolf that gets stronger.
6. Celebrate Small Gains
- Acknowledge and reward small victories. Celebrate positive changes, such as improved energy levels and overall well-being. Yes! At the end of each day, reflect on your gains and remember to be kind to yourself if you didn't quite make your goal that day.
7. Create a Success Wall
- Build a visual representation of your achievements. Decorate your wall or board with weekly successes. This practice fosters an attitude of gratitude and positivity. I have my success wall up as we speak! I'm going to keep building it, every week, but not only build it, I must commit to renovating it from time to time. I have to actively look for new victories and wins to renovate my wall successfully! Try it with me! I can't wait!
SCAR Acronym for Success
- S - Start Small: Begin with a manageable routine, gradually expanding as you become more habituated.
- C - Be Consistent: Make your resolution a part of your routine, reinforcing habits through repetition. Neurons (brain cells) that fire together, grow together! The more they fire, the easier it gets!
- A - Use Triggers: Associate your resolution with daily cues. Build on an existing routine. For example, to commit to drinking enough water, I figured that I have to start the day with a good amount of water. So I keep two 750mls of hot/warm water (based on the season) by my bedside. So when I wake up, while I'm meditating and reading uplifting passages from the book of Psalms, or a story in Matthew, I drink the water. After the water, I step out, get dressed, and get out of the house for early morning yard work and exercise, then promptly return after 2 hours of yard work, shower and get dressed for work. My morning routine is the same every single day; I have no day off (apart from Saturdays), which generally, is my day of rest from all physical work.
- R - Reward Yourself: Acknowledge and celebrate victories, both big and small. Congratulate yourself, pep talk yourself! Become your own best cheerleader! Remember to always be kind to yourself!
Congratulation! You made it this far! Your Path to Wellness Begins Now!
Empower yourself with the knowledge that change is possible. As we explore transformative habits like intermittent fasting in future blogs, remember that the journey to wellness starts now. Identify your cues, start with small, manageable steps, celebrate your achievements, and watch your health, resilience, and control flourish in 2024. Cheers to an empowered and transformative year ahead! Make the mundane exciting!
By Yours Truly
Dr Purity Carr, GP & Menopause Doctor
Harvey, Western Australia