By Nancy S Buck,PhD, RN
Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better — Samuel Beckett
How many times have you started the New Year with an enthusiastic resolution to improve your life? How many New Year’s resolutions closely resemble the one you made last year and the year before that? Some of us may go years, decades even, making the same resolution over and over again. Your desire and resolve for change often represents the same hope, dream and goal.
Are you insane, the definition that doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results means you are insane? Or are you just hopeful, refusing to give up?
What’s going on? Could it be that when you make your resolve and make a plan to move you toward what want you are also moving further away from something else you want equally as much?
For instance, when deciding your New Year’s diet it may mean you’re depriving yourself of foods you enjoy. Before you are able to reach your ideal weight your deprivation from the delicious foods you enjoy leads you astray. You decide to just give up!
Of perhaps your resolve to increase your exercise leads you to plan early rising with vigorous walking or jogging several days a week. Days, weeks and maybe even a month or two pass with great success as you follow your plan. But then one day you wake up to a deep snow storm or torrential rain storm, or freezing cold or heat wave temperatures or a pulled muscle. Staying snuggled deep in your bed for an extra 45 minutes of sleep drives you to simply give up. And too often this one day leads to another and another so you find yourself facing another January 1 still wanting what you wanted last January 1.
The best laid plans for change or even incremental improvement too often end with you throwing in the towel and giving up! After all, how many of you are still following the New Year’s resolution you made last January? How many of you have made the resolution to never make another resolution because you’re tired of feeling like a failure each time you give up?
There is nothing wrong with giving up. It is a perfectly good alternative. However, sooner or later the quality world picture of what you want and still don’t have returns. Giving up feels good initially. But unfortunately, giving up is a short term successful, long tern unsuccessful plan. And giving up interferes with your Mental Health & Happiness.
Here are a couple of adjustments you can make that you might find helpful.
First, instead of giving up, why not take a time out? The resulting actions may be the same, but when you take time out, you are telling yourself you will get back to your plan and program. You could even set a certain period of time for time out. You know you’re not giving up all together, waiting for the next New Year to start again. You are simply taking a time out and will resume again on Monday the 3rd.
Or you could discover your conflicting pictures and needs that pull you in two different directions. With this knowledge you can make a plan where getting one does not mean depriving yourself of the other. Your New Year’s diet will include all foods except sugar. Once a week, with the week being Sunday to Saturday, you will also allow yourself one Hershey’s chocolate kiss. Or, Your new exercise program means jogging 4 days a week, when possible outside. But when not possible inside. If an injury benches you, yoga and stretching will replace your exercise of choice. Each week you will decide the days you get to sleep in, and the days you will get up early to exercise.
Give these suggestions a try. You may find the success you seek. Imagine January 2015, you will be making a brand new, never dreamed of before New Year’s Resolution aiming for another wish and dream!