Well, more like concrete, reasonable steps that can be measured, or so states Ray Williams in his post, “Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail,” which I read on the Psychology Today website (Originally published on Wired for Success.) Among the plethora of articles I found online, Williams covered 3 of my January touchtones: baby steps, mindfulness, and changing neural pathways. Williams, the author of Breaking Bad Habits, would have us focus on one, not several, resolutions. The resolution must be realistic and specific and we shouldn’t wait for New Years if we’re looking to make a lifestyle change. Aim for small steps and have an accountability buddy--and celebrate milestones! Okay, I’m already feeling overwhelmed just listing these, but there’s more. Focus on behavior (we’re trying to change neural pathways here!), and on the present. And be mindful. Really, just read the article.
Williams also introduced me to the term “False Hope Syndrome,” which lead me to read the ever-so-depressing treatise by Peter Herman and Janet Polivy on the subject.
So, back to my expectations. Apparently, I fail because I am not reasonable in my goals. False hopes are buoyed on the tide of lofty (read impossible) dreams.
Here, I would like to point out that my husband, the level-headed engineer--who would not find any of the above tips even the least bit daunting--has never in his life set a New Year’s resolution.
My point is that those of us who are drawn to the thought that in one magical night we can, in a sense, review and renew ourselves, by setting a New Year’s resolution in the first place aren’t exactly the audience these articles seem to address. Moderation! Accountability! Keep a chart!
But we’re the ones reading them.
So now I must take a breath and break down what I’ve read, put it into language I understand.
Those are my baby steps.
This is my year of change. I hope you join me.
Please feel free to comment below.