Why New Years Resolutions don't work for some people.
So, when Jan 2013 hit, I suffered one almighty massive burnout. Woke up one day, couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t drive, couldn’t function. Following amazing support from my family, friends and my Overgate employers, I jumped off life’s merry-go-round, took six weeks off work, found professional help and started to think about life differently. At the time I lived alone in a weeny rented bungalow in Holmfirth. With only the two horses in the field at the bottom of my garden to talk to, I wiled away the hours reading everything I could that would help me understand what had made me arrive at this truly dreadful time in my life. My lovely psychologist Nick said “Marica, you’ve had a complete mental breakdown, but remember this, you’re not broken and need fixing, you’re just wounded and need healing” Well I’m pleased to say I healed, I learned, I re-energised and I emotionally grew. I was lucky. So, prior to all this, it was always my ‘thing’ to attempt NYResolutions. Usually weight or fitness related. I was brilliant at setting them and I achieved loads in week one. Yet by week three I was flagging and realised I’d set unrealistic goals I didn’t have the willpower to maintain.
Now some folk enjoy this challenging pursuit. Not I for sure! It’s great to have ambitions but each time you don’t achieve them you feel a failure. That’s not a good feeling..... That ‘here we go again’ phrase going round in our heads making us feel like s**t. It had to stop!
So, following my breakdown, I gave up making NYResolutions and mentally developed my own LIFE PLAN instead. I adopted a new way of thinking that helped govern the life choices I made. I became less focused on ‘success’ and more in-tune with what brought me fulfilment.
This new thought process enabled me :-
To become less of a people-pleaser
To become more focused and caring in what I choose to put into my body
To be more mindful of the hours I’m sat on my arse instead of moving and getting the old heart pumping
It stopped me being fanatical about achieving loads in 24 hours instead of accomplishing tasks at a steadier pace
It gave me the strength to ‘cull’ the people that dragged me down
I returned to the amateur stage to once again do something that filled my heart with happiness
I learnt to accept my thinning hair and bought more false pieces to cover up the bald bits instead of spending £hundreds on trichologists to find out why I’d suddenly lost my sumptuous mane during menopause
In fact I made loads of much better life choices than I had done previously. It all served to enable me to do things bit by bit, so the 1st of January had no magical meaning in my world anymore.
If I wanted to cut down after pigging out over Xmas, I’d start cutting down on 28th Dec if I’d no social occasions to attend. Even with Christmas cake left in the tin, and half-eaten Thornton’s Continentals, I’d still start my ‘cutting down’ regime because ‘there’s no time like the present.’ I’d bag all the tit-bits and hide away in the cupboard till the family came round. Similarly if I’d January eating-fests to attend I’d relax my eating without flinching and enjoy the bun fight, safe in the knowledge that I’d be back on it tomorrow!
So that became my LIFE PLAN , my guiding principle in moments where I need to make a decision, big or small: Do what feels good and what’s best for your body and mental wellbeing!
Now I know this sounds simple, and really it isn’t, it’s actually quite sophisticated, and can be challenging to put into practice; after all, sometimes what feels good is at odds with what’s easy. But it is worth it! It also requires that I regularly check in with myself to determine whether what I thought felt good this morning or two weeks ago still feels good to me right now.
It’s a dynamic process, a conversation between body and mind and not simply your dictatorial mind telling your weary, pliant body what to do.
Obviously your LIFE PLAN doesn’t have to be like mine,but if you’re a recovering over-eater, people-pleaser, smoker, chocoholic or couch potato, I recommend it.
So as a starter, try and stop thinking in terms of goals and outcomes, and focus instead on the feelings and the process.
Don’t just ask yourself where you want to be, but focus on how you want to feel while you’re getting there.
As for me and ‘my blood pressure’ with my GP’s words ringing round in my head about the benefits of losing a stone or two, I shan’t be sat here thinking ‘I NEED to lose 28lbs..., I shall just concentrate on treating my body kindly with the consideration it deserves after serving me well for 59 years, and the lbs will come off, albeit more slowly.
When you remove expectations, pressure and self-shaming, you’ll find yourself naturally choosing the options that are good for you.
Sorry this has been a long read my friends. Still here? Well done you!
I’m guessing you might want a LIFE PLAN of your own then?
All the best of luck and Happy 2019 to you all.