What are you telling yourself about yourself? It may be what keeps you from reaching your goals for the New Year. Here's what you need to know about how to make a New Year's resolution that works.
It's New Years time! Pop the bubbly, make my favorite Slow Cooker Mojo Pulled Pork, drop the ball, and kiss someone you love. (Imagine me throwing confetti as I say all this.)
I love New Year's Eve!!
Once you wake up on January 1st, and clean up that confetti, you might become one of the 45% of Americans who make a New Year's resolution. Anyone?
I think it's partly human nature that calls us to evaluate our life at the turn of a new year. In our fast paced lives, how often do you really pause and evaluate your lifestyle?
Yeah, me too.
I do like the fact that new years resolutions happen. If it weren't for this time of year, many people would NEVER evaluate their life! Evaluation and honesty about your situation is crucial to achieving goals like health, happiness, and mindfulness. So I'm not here to bash New Year's resolutions. Nope.
Not gonna do it.
What I am going to challenge, however, is the brain in your head and the messages it tells you about the those things you want to change.
What do I mean? Let me explain.
I've been reading a book called The Power of Story by Dr. Jim Loehr from the Human Performance Institute, where I am now a Nutrition Coach (read more about that in my December to Remember Recap). This book is awesome and navigates you through the stories you tell yourself about your life. Some are good stories, some are bad stories. Most are based in some truth. I think this concept really hits home in the idea of New Year's resolutions.
All of us believe stories about ourselves that influence, and sometimes dictate, our actions and choices. Rarely do we stop and evaluate whether these stories are helping us become who we really want to be. Almost never do we work to change bad stories in good stories.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Every year as an adult you have set a New Year's resolution to exercise more and lose weight. Every year, by February, the busyness of your life takes over and your resolution becomes nonexistence, once again. The story you now tell yourself is that your life is too complicated and busy to exercise and improve your health. It will have to wait till life slows down, or your kids grow up, you retire, or whatever.
Instead of finding small steps to work toward improving your situation, your story wins and you do...nothing. Another year passes and you are still in the same health boat, or things have gotten even worse.
Apply this idea to whatever area of your life needs some improving. Can you think of a scenario in your life where this happens to you? The story you tell yourself about yourself is paralyzing? I know I can.
Here's some things I tell myself that I don't like: I don't like to read. I can't concentrate for long periods of time. I will never be a fast runner.
Take a minute to write down a story you tell yourself about yourself that isn't working for you anymore.
So what do we do about these stories we're telling that lead to a version of ourselves we don't like?
Write a different story.
And by write, I mean literally write it down. (Or buy The Power of Story and it will walk you through this whole process.)
Let's go back to the example. Instead, you can tell yourself:
I can make time for exercise because my health is important. If I do not take care of myself, I will not be able to take care of my family, be the best worker I can be, or enjoy things in my life that are important to me. I want to see my grandchildren grow up and I cannot do that if I am sick. I will find ways that I can include fitness into my daily routine.
That is a story to get excited about. There's some gusto behind it.
Now it's your turn. Rewrite your story with details, choices, and truth that does lead you to who you want to be in 2016. Don't BS yourself with pie in the sky crap. Keep it specific and small by only focusing on one main idea. Pull out a journal and hand write something (no typing) that excites you. Rewrite it until you capture something good.
Once you've got it, read it daily. Remind yourself, teach yourself this different story. It will become what you believe about yourself.
Seriously guys: Do this exercise! Do it as many times as you need to. It will become more natural and you will become better at identifying bad stories you tell yourself.
I'm doing this with you too. This concept is a bit new to me, although I've been doing a very small portion of this with my nutrition counseling clients for a while. It's blowing my mind to rewrite the stories I tell myself and choose something different.
I've just touched the surface here with storytelling, and it's certainly not my original idea. I highly suggest getting The Power of Story so that you can dig into this in full force. It's an easy read but will help you think through all the details.
What do you think? Have you ever thought about your resolutions in light of the stories you tell yourself?
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I'm here to support you through 2016 to write some new, better stories about yourself.
To writing, and believing, better stories about ourselves,