Hello and Happy New Year! How many of you have news feeds full of tips and tricks to stick with your resolutions this year or how to make 2021 your best year ever, despite the pandemic. I know I do! As a business owner and entrepreneur, it’s in my blood to help others make lasting change. Here’s the thing: as time goes by, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into another new year, most people will look back and realize they didn’t get to the resolutions they felt so strongly about at the beginning of 2021. I’m here to be bold and full of truth. Being sugar-coated wouldn’t be authentic to me. If you’re looking for a “ra ra sis boom bah” blogpost, stop scrolling now. If you are in search of a way to improve your 2021, keep reading.
Change your outlook on the New Year. Ready to start a diet, make a business plan, write a book, take your job to the next level, improve your relationships, etc.? Ask yourself: “Why do I need January 1st for this to happen?” A new year is a mindset. It’s something we have created to initiate change. It’s something we started to give ourselves permission to let go, reevaluate, and get serious. But, January 1st would be just as effective as any other day in the 365 days of the year, if we allow it. New Years’ is simply a mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I love to celebrate, have a party, drink a cocktail on New Year’s Eve, watch fireworks and be in the moment too. But I’m talking about the calendar’s entire mentality and society ‘rules’ that we need to trash right now. So why do resolutions fail even on a particular calendar marking like January 1st? The answer is simple. New Year Resolutions turn into obligations, and no one likes an obligation. What is causing the discontent in the first place? Resolutions rarely address this question. Resolutions mean well. Get in shape, lose weight, stop swearing, quit smoking, start meditating, go to bed earlier, etc. But most people don’t dig deeper. They don’t answer the WHY they love a pack a day, why they don’t say no to junk food, why they stay up late, etc. Failing to address the WHY behind the behavior is why people usually fail with resolutions. Making a promise to oneself on January 1st feels good, but the follow-through can be uncomfortable. Discontent and failure follow when follow-through fails.
I can only speak for myself when discussing discontent and how I cope with it, but I know many people will be able to relate. Discontent comes when:
The last one is the most significant cause of discontent, unhappiness, and even anger, negativity, etc. Plans will never go as planned. But for some reason, people (including myself!) think that the unfairness only happens to them. Being able to adapt, cope, and move on is one of the most effective tools you have in your toolbox. Don’t dwell on what did or didn’t happen. Something ‘bad’ will happen. You will go from being on the top of the world to feel like you’re in the lowest of valleys. The key is to not let this feeling catapult you back into your old habits. Don’t run to the cigarettes or cookies you have hiding in the closet. Don’t try to feel adequate with your social media posts & likes. Don’t get your success from other’s failures or opinions. Do you see what I mean about mindset? New Years’ is a mindset. You don’t need to give up anything, but instead, gain a new perspective and watch the change happen with everything you do.
Making resolutions makes us think in some twisted way that we will be happier, magically better, and life will be on a new wavelength when we succeed. Unrealistic expectations of permanent happiness and transformation will lead to discontent, unhappiness, depression, decreased self-worth, shame, guilt, and more significant failures. Aren’t you glad you’re still reading? Rainbows and butterflies can be chased but never bottled forever. So how can you decrease the discontent from your life and have more fulfilling joyful moments? When you see yourself going down a discontentment rabbit hole, stop in your tracks, admit it’s happening, and work on the reality instead of the twisted thoughts and feelings you’re likely experiencing. You’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. You are never going to be perfect. But if you know in your heart something isn’t right or need to change, you’re probably right. Don’t be a slave to your past, or your feelings, or your slip-ups. You don’t need a 10-second countdown and fireworks to initiate a life-change.
I speak from experience on this one. I was once overweight, I had many unhealthy habits, and I even was a work-a-holic with very little life balance. One day I decided to change my mindset. So, take it from me, you can be a new you on the 1st, a Monday, in the middle of June, or at 4 pm on holiday. All you need to do to change your mindset is:
From your job to your diet, to mental health, to a family member causing drama. The housing situation, the employment, the relationship, that sense of meaningless. Strive to know the difference between when something is entirely out of your control and when things have just spiraled more than you’d like to admit. Once you take a small step in changing a habit or behavior (mindset), things will feel better, and you’ll be able to gain perspective again. Compounding small changes over time will result in mindset shifts.
2. “Moderation” is a lie.
There is no such thing as moderation. Moderation is a lie you tell yourself to make yourself feel better. “One drink a day” will almost always lead to more. A hidden stash of candies will practically always get raided in a moment of weakness, “I’ll workout later/tomorrow” will almost always lead to skipping multiple days/weeks. “I’ll only swear around adults” leads to the slip-up around the kid’s birthday party. I could go on and on. Don’t fool yourself. Stay away from the temptations. Don’t let them in.
3. Figure out what makes you tick.
What brings you joy? Is it a bike ride with the family you only get to do once a month? Is it drawing, reading, listening to music? It doesn’t need to be big to bring joy. Work the things that bring you joy into your DAILY life. Don’t wait for the weekend to have fun. Make joy a priority. When you do, those things that bring discontent tend to disappear. Don’t believe me? Try it!
4. Commit to being committed.
There are going to be days and weeks that feel impossible. Just remember that you can rise above whatever is going on. Some things will be out of your control, but your attitude is never out of your control. How do you react when things don’t go to plan? What do you say to yourself when you mindlessly eat the entire bag of Doritos in one sitting? Who do you surround yourself with within moments of tragedy? You know who and what you need. Stay committed to your mindset, and no matter what, you will have joy. Don’t commit to mindset if you have a sense of obligation. Instead, listen to that little voice in your head that often tells you what is best. If you know in your heart there’s a habit that isn’t healthy for you, and you feel ready to address WHY you are doing it, you’ll soon see the mindset change follows. Take this opportunity to reflect upon yourself, your attitude, outlook, hopes, and fears. Every day, wake up and choose to follow through with your healthy mindset. Choose joy in the hardest of times. Be grateful when things seem difficult. Just start. Mindset follows.
Thanks for reading the first blog post of 2021 on my blog! I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.