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How to Avoid the Make-It-Then-Break-It New Year’s Resolution Pattern

by Elise Museles

I have a close friend who I absolutely love, but every year she blurts out exactly the same New Year’s Resolution in exactly the same believable tone. “This is my year to get my act together for myself and my family.  We’re going to finally get healthy.” She means it with all her heart and has the very best intentions.  But before January even ends, her efforts have fallen by the wayside.

It’s like “Groundhog Day”…and unless she changes her approach (or is reading this post), it will predictably happen again and again.

waves wash away 2012

Is this a familiar scenario?  How about your plans for 2012? Are they still in motion? Or did they slowly peter out as the year waned on?

According to a survey done by time management firm FranklinCovey, four out of five people make New Year’s Resolutions that just don’t stick. A third of us won’t even last through February 1st. Yikes!

We have valid and understandable stories we tell ourselves when we break our resolutions – we’re too busy, too stressed, or not really committed. But underneath it all, it’s usually because we aren’t setting ourselves up to succeed.

This year, I encourage you to become part of the minority when it comes to following through with your intentions. Make 2013 a year of goals that aren’t just realistic, lasting and actionable, but that truly mean something to your soul.

Here are a few tips to help you make resolutions that you’ll take through December 2013 and beyond:

Cross “eat better” and “exercise 5 days a week” or “get healthy” or “be present” off your list this year. Too vague. Instead, get specific about how you’re going to take care of your mind, body and spirit. Will you sign up for a dynamic & powerful group coaching program? (Hint hint: If that’s on your list, I’ve got something really juicy waiting in the wings for you.) Start a new fitness routine with a friend who will hold you accountable…and make it fun? Take a cooking class that focuses on getting a healthy meal on the table in the midst of a busy schedule? Make sure there’s more green on your plate at every meal? Break it down into simple action steps.

Know your “why” and find a deeper meaning

Really examine your intentions behind your New Year’s Resolution. Take “eating better” as an example.  Ask yourself: why do you want to change your current habits? To start enjoying your food and connecting with your loved ones over a luscious home-cooked meal? Or is there a disconnect between the way you take care of everyone else and the way you take care of yourself when it comes to healthy eating?  Do you want to finally break up with the scale once you feel confident that you’re doing your very best? If you don’t have clarity around why you’re making a resolution, you’re much less likely to see it through.

Be flexible enough to adapt

Always listen to your intuition, and don’t hesitate to change your game plan if some aspect of it isn’t working for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to transforming your life.  It’s much wiser to refine your path as you go along, than to just quit because you’re not meeting your own expectations.  We said goodbye to that all or nothing attitude a while back.

Look back to look forward

I can remember hearing from the time I was young, “out with the old, in with the new.”  I’m all for a fresh start and new beginnings, but why do we have to think of the past as something to wash away?

Before you make any decisions, review 2012 and see what worked for you, and what didn’t. What sort of shifts did you make? How will you build upon what you’ve already accomplished and meet yourself where you are right now?  Is it realistic to say, ” I’m going to cook 6 nights a week!” when you know your job/kids’ schedules or other demands will keep you away from home? Are you really going to wake up at 5 am to go to a sweaty cycle class with loud music pounding in your ear when you hit the snooze button most mornings? Avoid setting goals that don’t work for your life.

Frame it in the positive to affirm your desire

Avoid a “lack”, “can’t” or “deprivation” point of view, especially when it comes to taking care of yourself. If you resolve to cut out wheat and dairy to help alleviate your digestive issues, don’t get stuck dwelling on the things you won’t be eating anymore. Instead, think about all the wonderfully nourishing new foods you’ll be adding in to give you energy and help you feel better. Delicious smoothies, colorful salads, fragrant soups, and chocolate too. Then imagine yourself with all those nutrients flooding your system, bringing you focus, energy, and pleasure.

Own it! Declare your intentions

Start visualizing and talking about your plans… whether you shout it from the mountaintops, tell your family members, pen it in your journal, or blog about it (my personal fave!). By discussing it, writing it down and sharing it with your people, you create an attachment, making it more “real” for you.

Keep in mind – you don’t really have to wait till January 1st to start. Real change happens whenever you’re ready. Maybe you want to start right NOW.  Go for it when the inspiration hits.

When we set intentions that are truly aligned with our lives and aims, we’re more likely to see them through to the finish line. And when 2014 hits, I hope you can look back at 2013 as the year of the lasting New Year’s Resolution.

Question of the day: How are you going to set changes in motion for the New Year? Share your insights & strategies below.

10 Responses to How to Avoid the Make-It-Then-Break-It New Year’s Resolution Pattern

  1. Timna December 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    I NEVER make resolutions. I really have to stay in the day…one day at a time, as much as possible. Thanks for the words!!!

    • Elise December 21, 2012 at 3:44 am #

      Timna, you’re lucky to have figured out what works for you! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Julie December 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    What inspiring words Elise!! Your insights really help me to think about things in new ways and to put a structure around thoughts which can float around without resolution. I so appreciate all that you do for the K&C community and look forward to each blog that you write. I also have been addicted to the K&C recipes!!! Everyone who I cook for loves them too!!! Thank you so much for offering so many wonderful morsels given with love. Wishing you a healthy, joyful, and peaceful 2013.

    • Elise December 21, 2012 at 3:55 am #

      Thanks for sharing your Kale & Chocolate love:). Your comment reminds me why I do what I do. Wishing you a year filled with health, happiness, and true nourishment. xo

  3. Beth R December 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I agree that a resolution doesn’t have include only giving up things. Incorporating just one thing at a time, such as adding some green to a meal or trying a new spin class is much more fun and easy to accomplish. It’s hard to give up on life long habits that may not be necessarily “good” for you and a lot easier and more exciting to incorporate things into a daily routine in order to improve on overall well being.

    • Elise December 21, 2012 at 3:42 am #

      Beth, I love your approach. Sometimes when you add in new habits/foods then you “crowd out” some of the old ways that may not be serving you well. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  4. Jenny December 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    This is great advice. I feel like as the years go by I make the same mistakes! Thanks for helping me look at this in a new way.

    • Elise December 21, 2012 at 3:40 am #

      Jenny, I am so happy that this post resonated with you and will impact the way you approach your new goals for 2013!


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