Your Best Self: The Problem with Typical New Year’s Resolutions
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
You’ve heard it before: new year, new self! The new year’s resolutions generally hammer down the same concepts: get fitter, achieve more, eat healthier… but by the end of January, your gusto has faded, and by the end of February, the train has come to a complete stop. What’s the deal?
For one, these new year resolutions are generally enormous endeavors. They are the lofty dream goals you’ve wanted to accomplish for the past decade and are now putting the pressure on to achieve right here, right now. Although you should not give up on these dreams, it can be useful to take a different approach and shift the attention off of the very loose, general, and generic goals that you haven’t been able to achieve in, well, forever.
Another problem is that the solutions to our problems (the “resolution”) tend to be focused on negative-based results. We punish ourselves and others for not living up to the standard we set and think that by beating ourselves up, we will finally get it done.
Positive Results Snowball
It’s worth noting that negative results can snowball too. When we fail at something right off the bat or fail to see the results we want straight away, it can cause a downwards spiral. When we set lofty goals that aren’t connected with the true essence of what we’re trying to achieve, we can quickly self-sabotage our progress and even regress significantly.
Get Back to the Root (or Essence) Of Your Goals
Peeling back your goals to their essence is one way to make strides in achieving your larger, loftier goals. As we have explored, positive results can snowball very quickly. Breaking down your big goals into smaller goals isn’t always the best way to get them done, but instead getting back to the essence of what you’re trying to achieve (at its core) and then finding many smaller and different ways to achieve it.
For example, your goal might be to lose 20lbs and get in better shape. Spend 15-20 minutes journaling on what that would mean to you, the emotions behind it, and strip it right back. For many, it may be self-acceptance, self-love, feeling good in your body, being able to play more, and keep up with the kids (which at its root is spending quality time with them).
From there, flesh out many different ways you can achieve these things without necessarily losing the weight. Some examples:
- Taking time to journal about gratitude daily
- Going to salsa night on Wednesday with your husband
- Spending more time in nature alone
- Organizing family game nights
- Catching up with a loving and supportive friend more regularly.
By finding supporting ways to embody the essence of your goal, you will be more likely to feel worthy of achieving the weight loss goal. By seeing the many ways to connect with the root cause for wanting to lose weight and making small wins with achievable goals, you help snowball your success.
Turning the Negative into a Positive
Another excellent tool for finding new solutions to old problems is turning to the positive. We often focus so much on the negative, which reinforces our unfavorable position.
Writing things down is a great way to explore your goals and find new, positively oriented solutions that you may have never thought of before. Connecting the dots with the emotions behind the goal can usually help shift the attention of specific goals towards more holistic, positive solutions.
You may find yourself making exciting new solutions to “problems” you’ve had for a very long time.
Financially strained? Focus on ways to earn more income, not spending less.
Marriage is stressed? Focus on apologizing and listening instead of blaming and interrupting.
Kids are acting crazy? Tell them how awesome they are for the next seven days every chance you get, instead of relying on punishment.
Breaking Free From Old Patterns
We tend to stick to blueprints we have been using for a long time, even if they do not yield results. It may seem too simple to be true to swap negative solutions for positive ones, but give it a try.
Many of the blueprints we pick up, in other words, our way of relating to the world, are picked up from childhood. We can live an entire lifetime struggling against ourselves without realizing that the slightest shift in perspective can offer a drastically different result.
One of the most common blueprints we pick up that drives negative-oriented outcome solutions is the idea that the world is out to get us, that we are alone, and that we are unlovable. You may not consciously identify with those beliefs, but they are often driving our subconscious defensiveness and negative war-like way of attacking our problems.
Put down your sword. Try it. For seven days, 14 days, or 30 days: watch how the world shifts when you swap positive solutions instead of negative ones. Encourage good behaviors, apologies, be more gentle with others, but most of all, with yourself.
Put Your Health First
Health is such a fundamental aspect of achieving all our goals. When we don’t get enough sleep, everything suffers. And much like the snowballing effect of positive-oriented outcomes and achieving small wins, health can catapult you in the direction of success or failure, depending on which direction it’s going.
A few reasons our health-related goals can fall by the wayside but a few months into the new year. Some of them (and they’re solutions) include:
- We tend to take our health for granted until we lose it in some fundamental way. When things are going well health-wise, remember the constant return on investment that you get by putting your health first.
- We don’t feel worthy of taking care of ourselves or putting ourselves first. It’s so important to realize that we can only genuinely serve others (loved ones, our family, our kids, our jobs) if our cups are full, first. Many of us have not been raised to truly embody our self-worth, and we tend to help others before ourselves. Remember: we are always teaching others by our actions, and so the most profound way to help another is to lead them by example.
- We feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. Luckily, there are resources and people to help sift through the overwhelming amount of information online. All-natural supplement companies like Revelation Health offer support by health coaches certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) available to answer your questions. Practitioners like Dr. Pompa tirelessly provide free information to help guide you towards better health. Lean on tried and true methods by practitioners who have done the heavy lifting for you.
We take the same failed goals and continue with the same attitudes and methods year after year. If the ways you’ve been using to achieve your goals year and year again are the same, without success: try something new. Swap your negative goals with positive solutions, and reconnect with the essence of why you want to achieve what you want to achieve. Lean on the support of qualified holistic practitioners, and know that indeed you are worthy of living the life of your dreams.
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Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Dr. Daniel Pompa. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Pompa and his associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Dr. Pompa encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.