Hello everyone! I’m pleased to announce that we’ve got our very own guest post here! And who better than my best friend Peter?
New Year’s Resolutions (Reality) Check
How are your resolutions going? Did you know that 80% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t keep them for more than a few days/weeks?
That’s a little scary! When you think about it, though, it kind of makes sense. How many people do you know that on December 31st make lofty goals like “going to the gym” every day? Or “stop eating junk food entirely”?
A few days later, these same people find themselves in the midst of a sugar crash like they’ve never known, and to top it all off, even the simplest of routine activities are impossible because every muscle in their body is ablaze with intense pain from their diligent gym attendance.
For most of us, being this miserable will cause a relapse to old behaviors. This relapse makes us think, “Welp, I failed….oh well.” And that’s where our resolutions die.
Don’t let this happen to you! Of course there’s going to be some pain involved in the change process! You can’t just suddenly start or stop something so significant without experiencing repercussions.
There have actually been a lot of studies done on this very topic of successful change. I don’t want to wax overly loquacious on the subject, but it turns out that there are a few basic steps to change.
Prochaska & DiClemente’s vision of the change cycle
· Pre-contemplation – before you even know you want to change
· Contemplation – when you realize you want to change something
· Preparation – laying the groundwork for successful change
· Action – making the change
· Maintenance – continuing with your new behavior
· Relapse – failing
It’s very interesting to me that “relapse” is considered a part of the change process. After all, it’s natural for us to fail. Whoever said we were perfect?
The most important part of all this is what happens when you relapse.
So you “forget” about your resolution and have a candy bar after the gym. So what? Let’s be honest: it won’t be your last. The key is that you realize you can move forward from this incident, and continue on the road towards change.
Of my own resolutions this year, I’ve been doing pretty well actually. I made two: journal every night before I go to bed, and learn a new word every day.
The first of these has been going just swimmingly! I don’t write much: only about five lines listing the “who, what, when, and where” of the day. Nothing emotional and gushy.
The second has proved a little more difficult. I bought a “Word a Day” Calendar in September when Borders was going out of business. When I bought it, I had the idea of using this as a resolution in the back of my mind, but by the time January 1st rolled around, the calendar (along with my resolution) were buried under four months of clutter on my desk. It wasn’t until Sarah reminded me around January 15th that I even started! And then I almost didn’t start because my first thought was, “Ugh, now I have to go back and learn all those words for the past 15 days….maybe it’s not even worth it.”
Then I realized how ridiculous that is! Even if I skip those first words entirely, I still have 350 days/words to go! (Thank you, Leap Year!)
So I’m doing it!
Today’s word: “funambulism: 1: tightrope walking; 2: a show especially of mental agility.”
Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to remember all these words in a few weeks, but I’m enjoying learning them and about them! It’s something new every day.
Well, I hope my causerie was not overly didactic, and that these words can anneal your efforts through this arduous journey. Best of luck!
Wonderful points, Peter! And I only remembered on the 15th, too!
My new year’s “resolution” (I use the term very lightly, because I also never keep them!) was to take more video. That’s something I’ll definitely make sure I do this week on my snowboarding trip!
So, how about you? What resolutions did you make in January? And have you miraculously managed to keep them, or have you relapsed, too?