Confessions of a Twenty-Something: How I've Made Changes That Actually Stick
Ahh the first week of a new year is here! Change is in the air. People are flocking to the gyms and drinking their green juices. Journals are seeing more action than they have all year as people write down their goals. And, as always, countless health & wellness items are being purchased around the globe to aid the buyer in their new year's resolution.
It's great... until the dreaded Week 3 hits and all those attempted habits go out the window...
Now, I know I sound pessimistic, but hear me out! I am ALL for letting go of what doesn't serve you and finding fresh habits that lead you towards your best self, but I've seen time and time again how new year's resolutions can actually be more harmful than helpful.
Let me illustrate...
As I got older and learned what new year's resolutions were, I decided that I wanted to take part in the fun too! What was the ultimate goal of this teen? To lose weight of course! I was a competitive dancer that didn't have a dancer build at a time where it was all the rage to be skinny.
So I set off on my resolution... and by set off I mean I wrote down my goal and a couple of misguided action steps to get myself there. On January 1st, I pushed through heaps of resistance and crushed my action steps. This continued on for about two weeks, which is when the difficulty of school and competition season kicked in and I couldn't focus my mind of achieving my goals.
This is the same vicious cycle that so many of us are met with time and time again as we set goals or decide we're creating new habits. We make the goals, create action steps, and find the motivation to crush our action steps for about 2-3 weeks. Then, we're left with ill feelings about ourselves at the end of the year because we didn't accomplish what we set out to do when that motivation was running rampant.
So, you may be wondering, "Kimberly, if you don't make new year's resolutions, how do you ever grow?"
Don't worry my friend, I've got a process that will allow you to create new habits that stick without the stress of new year's resolutions weighing down the process!
1) Ditch the "New Year, New Me" Mindset
Before you even THINK about what you want to accomplish in the new year, it's time to lose the "New Year, New Me" mindset. This train of thought can be absolutely toxic to the habit-forming process because it provides a false sense of motivation.
Yes- you can change at the beginning of the year. However, that change comes from the hard work and consistency YOU put into your goals, not from the clock changing from 11:59 PM on December 31st to 12:00 AM on January 1st.
So, can you use the new year as a jumping point to kickstart your new habits? Absolutely! If that's the timeline that aligns- go for it! However, will the change in year magically give you what you need to succeed in your resolutions? Nope 👎- You're the one that has to put in the work and achieve those resolutions.
Before we go further, I think it's important to stop here and recognize that the new year and having people around you make changes does NOT mean that you need to make changes! If you're satisfied with the way life is going right now and you're on the path that feels most aligned for you, stay there through every season of the year.
2) Take a Deep Dive into Your Best Self
Now that you've broken up with the idea of a new year bringing you super powers to accomplish your goals, it's time to figure out who the *insert new year here* version of you is going to be!
Take time to meditate and/or journal about who this person is. What do they do on a daily basis? What do their routines look like? What's happening in their career, love life, social life, family, etc.? How do they feel?
Really feel into each of these questions, envision that person, and surround yourself with the feelings that future version of you is feeling.
3) Carve a Path to Get There Through Intentions
Now that you've got the future version of you in your mind, it's time to get to them! This is where the planning comes into play (all my Type A friends out there rejoice!)
First, I want you to set intentions. These are the foundation on which all of your habits & daily actions with sit. An intention is similar to a goal, but it is more broad and allows for more flexibility in the way that it's achieved to allow for more flow & flexibility throughout the process. Some of my intentions for this year include...
Focus on growing my biz & brand
Break up with performance-based thinking
Focus on loving myself
From there, work to identify habits, old & new, that support your intentions. This can look like...
Block out 60 minutes of self-care time per week to do something you want to do
Journal about the performance-based thinking thoughts you've had in a day and work to reframe them into something healthier
Do yoga 3x a week
Offer your community a freebie by January 15th
Notice how my actions get more specific at this point? This is because the work still needs to be done. It just doesn't need to be done in an unfocused, rushed way that leaves you feeling exhausted instead of invigorated.
4) Reflect, Reflect, Reflect
This last step is arguably the most important as it's going to be the way you stick to your new routine instead of being one of the 43% of people that ditch their new year's resolutions before February. From time to time, you need to reflect on how you're feeling about your new routine!
This step is absolutely crucial because it allows you to take stock of what each step of your routine is doing for you, what steps aren't serving you, and gives you the opportunity to make adjustments wherever necessary! Making adjustments is the sure-fire way to stick to the intentions you set and get yourself to any goals you set out to achieve because you can find your way there in the most-aligned way possible.
Think of it this way...
In the old school way of thinking, you might set a goal to read 25 new self-help books this year. Maybe you went out and purchased the 10 books you've had on your reading list and set up your reading nook. You get through one book in two weeks, but hit a road block with the second one. Slowly but surely, your moments with your book become less and less frequent until your reading nook becomes abandoned...
Using my method, you might set an intention to gain more knowledge on the personal growth world. You set a goal to read 2-3 books this month, purchase those books, and set up your reading nook. You hit the same roadblock in the second book, but instead of letting this habit get away from you, you reflect and shift your focus from the number of books to the number of pages. You vow to read 10 pages a day and by the end of the year, you've finished 20 self-help books!
I hope this method helps you set your New Year's Intentions and that you become all you want to be in 2023! If you need any help finding your best self and the path to get there, don't hesitate to reach out and I'd be more than happy to help.
For now, download my free habit planner to fast track your habit-setting for a beautiful year ahead ✨