It took me a long time to finally give up on New Years resolutions.
At best, they lasted for a month, but only if applied with lashings of self discipline, self hatred and the fact that I had usually announced to the world what it was that I was going to give up for the New Year!
Shame and embarrassment whilst a powerful motivator is only a temporary thing.
First comes the excuses, then the lies then the “its been a few months, lets just hope everyone has forgotten what I said I was doing” prayers began.
This was usually followed by feelings of failure, guilt and another dollop of self hatred just to top things off!
If you want to make powerful, positive changes to your life starting today, here are three mistakes that you need to stop making right now if you want any chance of success:
1. Don’t start a new diet!
You know that dieting doesn’t work. At best, you will get temporary weight loss and feel good for a while. At worst, you will give up after a few weeks as dieting is not sustainable, feeling like a failure, feeling deprived, ashamed, miserable and hating yourself and your body twice as much!
Don’t do it to yourself.
What to do instead?
Make a commitment to yourself to only eat when you feel physically hungry. So often we eat by the clock or because we are told things like “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Trust your body. If it needs to eat, it will let you know.
Once you know you are hungry, think about what you want to eat. Then sit down and enjoy your food without distractions.
No books, magazines, television, computer or work. You will be surprised at how much less you eat and how much more you enjoy it!
This is the beginning of mindfulness around food and eating and the start of rebuilding trust in your body, your appetite and eating.
If you only eat when you are physically hungry you will eat less and by cutting out all the food you ate out of boredom, loneliness, or habit, you will release weight.
2. Don’t start a radical exercise program!
Putting a lot of money down into a new gym membership in the hopes that spending money will motivate you to go and exercise is doomed to disaster!
You may start off using good old willpower and self discipline and feel virtuous and sweaty for a while but, just like the diet, the excuses will begin to creep in and you will again feel like a failure and even worse, have the gym membership payment on your credit card each month.
What to do instead?
Work out what sort of exercise you either like to do or that is simple enough that you can commit to regularly.
Walking is cheap and relatively easy. It has the added benefit of getting you outside, with the wind and the sun and even the rain and studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes of walking each day will improve your health and reduce your stress levels.
Who doesn’t want that?
When was the last time you put on some music and danced just for the joy of it? Perhaps you have always wanted to learn to dance, so why not make this the year you learn?
If the thought of exercising every day is enough to bring up resistance and have you reaching for your excuses, exercise in a way you enjoy every second day.
That way, you always have an “out” and can enjoy the days you don’t exercise guilt free!
3. Don’t “Cold Turkey” ANYTHING!
Don’t resolve to give up cigarettes, or chocolate or alcohol by deciding to just QUIT and rely on only willpower and self discipline to help you!
WARNING! WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON! THIS WILL BE A DISASTER!
Yes, we all know some special person who “just quit” and never went back.
They are the exception.
There was also probably a whole lot of other things that they had done or that happened to lead them to making that decision and being able to make it stick.
Listen to me very carefully now because the next sentence is so important:
You created your habits, even your most self destructive ones, to help you.
The smoking has a purpose, the drinking has a purpose, the overeating and addiction has a purpose.
It calms you.
It comforts you.
It numbs you.
It distracts you.
It gives you mental and physical “time out” from your daily routine.
If it did not have an important function and purpose in your life, you could easily just let it go.
What to do instead?
Start to be mindful of why you are doing what you are doing.
Is it blocking you from feeling something you don’t want to feel?
Does it give you what feels like a valid excuse to sit down and take a break or to get out of the office for a moment?
Giving up addictions usually needs support. When we can’t see the forest for the trees we need someone to give us some clarity and focus and insight.
If you want to make this year your best year ever, give up an addiction, love yourself and your life even more, then take the best step of your life and contact me.
My Counselling, hypnotherapy and Heal Your Life Coaching® will get you where you want to be and Counselling and Coaching are available on Skype!
Have a wonderful 2013!