NEW YEAR, NEW ME.
The phrase uttered up and down the country on New Years Day amid hellish hangovers, turkey sandwiches and empty chocolate wrappers.
I’m a sucker for it too. Despite the fact that January feels like the longest, coldest, darkest, hardest month to make life changes – I promise myself I’m going to become thinner, fitter, prettier, friendlier, less selfish and more organised. I’m going to find a husband, take up new hobbies, do yoga in the mornings, get to bed earlier and maybe cure cancer whilst I’m at it.
But almost one month down, how many of us are already flagging under the weight of all the expectations we put on ourselves? (You can’t see me but I just put my hand up).
It’s taken a good 2 or 3 years to get to where I am now, I moved out of my parents house 3 years ago and have been living alone ever since. During this time I’ve had my heart broken more than once, in increasingly imaginative ways, and learnt that when no-one’s watching I have the self discipline of child let loose in Disney World.
This has lead to depression, social anxiety, chronic laziness, and the astonishing fact that I now regard a 6 pack of Kinder Buenos as a mere mid morning snack.
I think New Years resolutions are a good thing, however expecting myself to instantly erase or change every bad habit I’ve built over 3 years come January 1st is surely setting myself up for failure.
So in an effort to make change less overwhelming, more achievable, and maybe help someone else struggling with the pressure, I’ve come up with some tips for all of us to make our 2019 goals a little more achievable.
One thing at a time
A great tip given to me by a friend. I’m an all or nothing person, I’ll try to change my entire life and when one thing goes to pot I just give up.
Give yourself a realistic deadline (on average it takes 66 days for a new habit to become automatic) and focus on changing just one or two things, (mine are going to bed earlier and doing yoga in the morning). Then when they become automatic, move on to the next one.
Make the change easier on yourself by not being too strict. If you struggle with motivation and self discipline like me, it would be almost impossible to go from eating almost the entire contents of a supermarket each day to to a sugar free, carb free (and extremely depressing I must add) diet.
A more realistic goal would be to try and eat healthy 80% of the time but still allow yourself the odd treat. Once that becomes easy for you, you can step it up again if you want to.
Just Do It
Easier said than done, I haven’t ‘Just Done It’ in years. However I do know from experience that thinking of doing it is often worse than just doing it. You have no idea how many ‘funny cat video’ black holes I’ve fallen down whilst putting off doing something I don’t particularly want to do, or might possibly fail at.
For someone with anxiety, it’s just so much easier to lay in bed looking at my phone or watch TV, than have to try and deal with the world. However if you can get just snap yourself out of that mode and start the task at hand it’s often much easier than you think it will be.
I’m trying to get into the habit of shouting ‘JUST DO IT’ at myself in my head when I notice I’m being lazy, and in that moment moving from wherever I am before I have time to talk myself out of it.
Be kind to yourself
You will fail, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.
In previous years, the second I failed at something it would be ruined for me. I would often not bother trying again as I was ‘obviously just a shit person who can’t do anything’ (said in a sulky teenage voice). And we’re not talking new hobby here, we’re talking getting in up in time to have a shower before work.
Whatever it is you’re trying to change, be kind to yourself and keep trying. Accept who you are and where you’re at right now. It might take 5 attempts or 500 attempts, but have faith that you will get there in the end, because you’re worth making the change for.
I hope this post had helped someone out there, it certainly helped me writing it as it’s an ‘out of my comfort zone’ thing I’ve been procrastinating on for months!
I’ll end this post with the fact that I know there will always be those people with a will of iron, who can make drastic changes and stick to them just like that. Mostly I’m absolutely in awe of you…..but part of me hates you (just a little bit).