How to Keep Your Resolutions and Make This the #BESTYEAREVER
January 11, 2023 - Shauna Jurczak
We’re eleven days into 2023. The New Year, full of new hope, new opportunity, and for many, new resolutions. It’s an exciting time. The idea of “New Year, new me!” or hashtags like #bestyearever seem almost romantic, just like a new relationships – thrilling and full of possibilities!
So, what do we do if the romance of our resolution wears off? Here is where I struggle to appreciate the whole concept of setting a New Year’s resolution. If you’ve followed my posts here, or any of my lives on social media, you’ll know I really don’t like resolutions at all. Why? Because far too often, they get thrown by the wayside after the romance of it dies down.
Resolutions are simply a blanket statement
Far too often, when setting resolutions, we announce it like it’s an exciting, bold, or catchy headline. We hop on social media, or into our group chats, and excitedly share, “Got my gym membership! Getting fit for 2023. #newyearnewme!”
Your family and friends congratulate you on your new resolution, and you think here we go, this is going to be awesome! You put on your new gym clothes, ready to crush that fitness journey. Then the honeymoon phase wears off.
A few weeks pass and that motivated #newyearnewme hashtag seems to evaporate. You find reasons to skip the gym. Make excuses for why you stopped working on your fitness goals. And you talk yourself into believing it just wasn’t meant to be, or was a silly resolution in the first place. You downplay it and move on.
Herein lies the problem. You had a great idea. It excited you. And for whatever reason, you set that resolution for a purpose. But a few things were missing:
- A clear connection to your reason, your why, your purpose. Why was that your resolution? What did it mean to you and how was the outcome going to benefit you?
- A Plan of Action (POA). How were you going to accomplish your #newyearnewme resolution? What resources did you have in place or need access to in order to succeed? What timeline did you give yourself? What were you going to do to re-motivate yourself when the motivation seemed to get lost in the hustle and bustle of regular life?
- A commitment to release the things that have been holding you back. Let’s dive deeper into this one.
To move ahead and succeed you have to release.
At the base of it, a resolution is the start of goal setting. It’s a statement of what you want to accomplish. It becomes a true goal when you clearly identify your purpose and connect it to a POA. I’ve blogged and vlogged previously about goal setting and SMART goals, so feel free to check it out.
What I really want to dive into is the exercise of releasing. Challenging yourself to truly let go of the things that stand in your way. Years of poor self talk, ideas, and learned behaviours that have left you living in a fixed mindset and resulted in you placing limits on your own abilities. Those things that, when the going gets tough, convince you that you’re probably going to fail anyway, so you might as well just give up. The thoughts that help you create excuses to stop, instead of reasons to keep going.
Even if you have an amazing idea, a strong connection to your reason or your purpose, and a great POA, if you can’t release those things that hold you back, you will struggle to succeed.
You have to commit to changing that little voice in your head that hold you back. Adjusting your mindset, and possibly even the narrative you share among your peer group. You have to put on your armor, stand tall, and face those negative things that bully you and stand in your way. And you have to release them. Once you do, you’ll have so much space inside of you just waiting to be filled with positive self talk, new goals, and a renewed focus. You’ll even feel lighter along the way (mental weight is heavy!).
What are things to consider releasing?
Sometimes we don’t even realize what’s holding us back. We don’t realize our own thoughts have been sabotaging us for years. We don’t realize how affected we are by our own mindset and interpretation of the world around us. I shared a reel on social media recently that highlighted a few of these things:
- Fear of failure
- Worrying about an outcome before you even get started
- Judgement from others (real or perceived)
- Belief you’re not good enough
- Past resentments
- Negative self talk
- Comparing yourself to others
Depending on your own journey, you may have more, or less, and that is for you to examine and release.
How to release?
Releasing isn’t an overnight activity. It takes time. But if you’re willing to take the time and put in a bit of work, the outcome is beautiful.
Step 1 is connecting honestly with yourself and the thoughts or ideas that have been standing in your way. This can suck. Bluntly put, connecting to your negative thoughts can make you feel vulnerable, silly, and all-in-all, it just sucks! It requires you to be brutally honest with yourself, your past failures, and the role you play in your future success. It requires you to step up and be accountable. All of that can be difficult, frustrating eve, so be kind and gentle with yourself.
Take a day or two to journal your thoughts. When you’ve failed or given up in the past, or even worse, not even started to begin with, what did you tell yourself? What were you afraid of? What excuses or justifications did you give? How did they make you feel?
Sit on those thoughts for a bit. Let them simmer so you can come to terms with them, better understand them, and accept them.
Step 2 is taking those thoughts and determining why you need to let them go. How will releasing them benefit you? Write it down. Give each one a personality, a story, bring it to existence. For example, take “I like failing” and really evolve the narrative around it:
I’ve held back on my goals because I fear failure. I’m afraid to fail because if I do, my friends and family will think I'm not good enough. I don’t want to look like a loser or let other people down. I let this fear take over, and when I do, I become convinced failure will be my only outcome, which makes me give up. So I end up failing anyway. Then when I give up, I’m left feeling disappointed in myself and I begin to believe I don’t deserve the outcome I desired. Instead, I fall back into the same old routine, and convince myself my big goals and aspirations are just wild dreams and not meant for me. But I want them to be meant for me. I want to take chances and accomplish my big goals, and do big things. I do deserve it. I don’t want to feel disappointed because I never tried. I want to feel proud of myself and my journey.
You can even dig deeper and search your past for real life experiences that connect to this negative thought and try to examine how you may have done things differently – and if you did, how the outcome would have changed you for the better.
Write your own break up letter
This is actually Step 3 but I feel like it deserves its own headline because this is where the magic happens. We’ve all heard the line “It’s not you, it’s me”. We use it to sugarcoat break ups. But in this case, It’s 100% not you. Your breakup letter is your chance to identify your releases and call them out on all the crap they’ve put your through. Call them out for holding you back, making you feel bad, and preventing you from being your best self.
Go ahead, be mean to them. Use profanity. Punctuate with hundreds of angry exclamation marks. Let it out, so you can let them go.
To conclude your letter, explain why you deserve better. Why you deserve the space in your mind, in your day, and in your future, to fill with something good. Tell those negative thoughts and ideas where to shove it, and let them know you are enough, you do deserve better, and you’re going to prove it.
From there, there are a few things you can do with your letter.
If you like both the emotional and physical idea of release, you can burn your letter at a bonfire or soak it in water and watch the ink on the page dissolve. There is something to be said about that physical release of the letter to really solidify your breakup with the negatives. It can feel freeing and complete.
You can also file the letter away so you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Put in away so in 5 years you can look back on it appreciate your growth and accomplishments.
You can even throw it in the garbage (we may or may not have an ex whose stuff we threw out when the break up happened, and it felt great). Either way. you get to decide how you release it. The most important thing is that it’s out of your mind, in turn setting you free to move forward for the better.
Commit to the release.
Don't let that negative relationship back in. This is a difficult one, but you can do it! This is what makes it long term. It's so easy to let the negative thoughts creep back in, just like a "Was walking past our favorite spot. Made me think of you" text from an old ex who you never wanted back in your life. You stare at that text thinking What am I supposed to say? The thing is, you get to choose how to respond. You can let them in, or keep moving forward. The same goes when your releases try to creep back in.
It's fair to say those thoughts will try to come back in regularly. It's ok. We have to untrain our mind from thinking that way. Hear them, then remind yourself of your value. Remind yourself how they make you feel and why you released them in the first place. Remember how much better you are and how committed you are to your new open mindset, with no limits.
Yes, it will take work. You may even start a journal - an fill it up - with entries talking yourself down from the negative precipice. The point is being conscious and aware of it, confident in your ability to over come it, and remembering how valuable you are in your journey from release to success.
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Regardless of your resolution – drink more water, read a more books, lose 10 pounds, open a business – when you have a plan, a clear understanding of your reason, and the commitment to release the things that stand in your way (and you truly release them), you will be unstoppable. Trust yourself, believe in yourself, and go forward making this your #bestyearever