Forget New Year’s Resolutions, And Try This Instead
You’re probably reflecting on the past year and what you hope to accomplish in the 12 months ahead. Most of us ultimately strive for greater self-improvement, myself included.
Wanting more for yourself is a form of self-love that has been proven to boost overall health. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, save money, or by finally completing projects you’ve been putting off, there’s one issue with your resolutions that will inevitably make most people fail: change is hard.
Did you know that over half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but just 8% follow-through and accomplish their goals?
I’ve seen this time and time again in private practice when it comes to dieting for weight loss. I would always try and promote something greater for my clients than just ‘weight loss’ alone because change is difficult for most people, even Type A personalities known for their excessive ambition, competitiveness, and drive.
Creating a gratitude list was the first application I would give to clients to help achieve goals successfully for the long term. I was introduced to this concept by a sports psychologist who helped our USA Swimming club team with two necessary exercises. The first was to practice self-love by looking at yourself in the mirror, directly into your eyes and literally saying ‘I love the person I am’ (this is not as easy as you think). The second was to create a gratitude list. Both of those combinations helped us understand why we put our bodies through elite training programs–sometimes lasting 5 hours a day. It had to be greater than just achieving a faster time.
Years later, I found that you do not have to be an elite athlete to practice this proven method. In fact, the approach can be managed holistically throughout the year for best results. The strategy is quite different than just making a list of items to be thankful for. In fact, each item attaches to a greater feeling or purpose.
Create a list of things you’re grateful for and draw three lines that point to a feeling of gratitude. For example, I’m thankful for our dog Apollo. As you’ll see in the image above, Apollo provides me with love, stress reduction, and physical fitness through daily trail walks or runs. Another feeling of gratitude I have is for the local market that provides us with healthy produce, sustainable fish options while promoting local products. Just those two items fill my body and mind with good vibes for reaping the benefits of strategic goals or ‘resolutions’, which are quite different (and more challenging) if you don’t have a solid reason behind your objectives. So the goal for me is to remain consistent with Apollo because of the love and stress reduction he provides me, and that flows into the local market by wanting to shop for foods that support a healthy lifestyle.
The Panda Planner is also a useful tool that combines schedule and tasks for the day with 3 daily items you’re grateful for and excited about.