New Year’s resolutions have gotten to the point of being laughable, haven’t they? It’s no secret that most of them don’t stick anyway, so why do you bother?
If you’re like many people, you don’t make the effort anymore. Maybe you even give yourself an excuse, telling yourself something like you are on an ongoing journey of self-improvement, so you don’t need to limit your resolutions to New Year’s.
Face it: You often have trouble sticking with a change in your routine. Even when you know it will benefit you, even when you are motivated and committed, your resolutions for self-betterment often fall flat whether they happen on New Year’s or right before bikini season.
Here’s what you’re doing right:
- You have the best intentions for the future.
- You’re motivated; you’re committed.
- You use techniques like visualization and goal-setting.
- You enlist support and accountability from your friends.
- You journal about your resolutions regularly.
So why aren’t you succeeding?
Here’s what you’re doing wrong:
There’s just one thing that’s sabotaging your attempts at a resolution:
You’re looking to the future instead of looking at the present.
You can have everything set up to succeed, but adding things to your plate isn’t going to be successful if you don’t know what’s on your plate to begin with.
All our lives, we’re told that planning for the future is important.
Delay gratification. Save your money for tomorrow; don’t spend it now. Raise your children to be productive members of society. Set up a budget for future spending.
Forward thinkers may use planning for the future to design how they spend time in the now. However, if you want to design your future, you must have a keen awareness of how you spend time in the now.
In my work with life coaching clients, I find that people spend about 99% of the time planning how they’re going to improve their lives and less than 1% of the time looking at how their lives are right now.
Awareness is 99% of Planning.
Have you ever planned a budget? You add up your bills, you add up your income, and you forecast how you’ll spend your money next month. You allocate funds to different categories, and you sit back, satisfied with yourself and excited about your newfound financial stability.
Then next month comes. You end up spending way too much on groceries. Plus, you go out to eat a few more times than you had budgeted for. All of a sudden, you’re buying a pair of boots on a credit card and giving up budgeting. Budgeting must be for people who are more organized and have more willpower than you.
What was missing in your budget? Awareness.
If you had spent a few months simply watching how you spend money now, you’d be in a better position to change your habits in the future.
This happens with every shift in routine or mindset that comes with New Year’s resolutions:
You want to exercise more, but you haven’t taken stock of how you’re making use of your time (and how you’re moving—or not moving—your body) in the now.
You want to make time for more self-care, but you haven’t created awareness of the ways in which you already practice—or don’t practice—self-care in the now.
You want to stop yelling at your kids, but you haven’t made an effort to notice what triggers you to yell at them in the now.
Awareness is everything. If you don’t know what’s going on, you simply can’t change it.
No matter how much you try.
You Have No Idea What You’re Doing.
Most people have a slight sense of awareness, and it’s all wrong. When have you ever taken time to really dig into your life as it is now, without planning for how you’d like it to be? Take away the visionary work and the future planning, and what you have is the pure, unadulterated present.
And that’s often scary to look at.
You probably have an idea about your life as it is now:
- You know that you probably spend too much money on groceries.
- You know that you waste too much time on social media instead of on self-care.
- You know that you yell at your kids too much.
But you haven’t stopped to really look at it. How much money, time and energy are you wasting? Looking at that in an analytical way can be frightening. Did you really just go the whole day yesterday without a gentle word to your child?
See what I mean? If the answer is yes, you are probably ignoring it.
Make Your Resolutions Stick This Year.
This year, instead of making a few resolutions that you’re never going to keep, how about making the one that’s going to stick? You can’t really fail at awareness.
Make this the year of awareness, and you’ll create a foundation on which every future resolution can be based successfully.