It’s that time of year when you may be compelled to start fresh, turn over a new leaf, and pledge to become a “better” version of yourself.
But the problem is you’re motivated by the turn of the calendar and when your enthusiasm dwindles, so does your resolve.
Studies show most resolutions are ditched within 12 days—You get off track, give up on your resolution and find yourself back where you started.
Yet, you know change is possible and you’d really like to make it happen.
So you need to know how to get the resolution outcome you want in a way that doesn’t rely on your fluctuating motivation.
The good news is that it’s actually quite simple to reset the way you approach your resolution or goal or any change you want to make so that you get the results you want.
Welcome to Simple Yoga Life, a weekly show about making the wisdom and practices of yoga part of your routine so that you can be more present, calm, and confident every single day with ease. I’m your host, Stephannie Weikert. I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist and creator of the online programs Shift Happens with Yoga + Make Peace with Stress. If you’re seeing this online, sign-up at stephannieweikert.com/show to get weekly guidance about making big, positive changes in your life in small, surprisingly simple steps.
The way to actually get the resolutions result you want is to focus on the behavior necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
Often, resolutions are focused on the result like losing weight, getting organized, being healthier, saving money, managing stress, or whatever your goal is.
While it’s completely understandable to only want to pay attention to the results of your resolution, when you do, you fail to get clear on what it will actually take to get that result, and how to do what’s necessary in a way that’s actually doable.
Let’s look at some examples:
If you want to lose weight, the behavior necessary to make that happen might be to exercise regularly. If getting organized is your resolution, decluttering may be required. If being healthier is your goal, the behavior to get that result may be to eat more vegetables. If you want to save money, you’ll need to make a habit out of tracking your spending. If managing stress is your resolution, the behavior necessary to make that happen might be to meditate every day. So instead of “losing weight” your resolution needs to be “exercising regularly.” Instead of “being healthier” your resolutions needs to be “eating more vegetables.” Instead of “managing stress” your resolution needs to be “meditating every day.”
In yoga, this is called abhyasa with means practice and is about showing up consistently with an attitude of persistent effort.
In addition to needing to understand and focus on the behavior necessary to achieve the outcome you want, there’s another important mental reset that needs to be made so that you can actually get the resolutions result you want.
When you make a resolution or set a goal and only determine the outcome you’re going for, you immediately set yourself up for failure because you’re also establishing, even if subconsciously, that something about you is not good enough, or a problem, or wrong, or broken, and needs to be fixed.
Let me explain.
Everything you do is a reflection of the type of person you think you are.
If you set out to lose weight, get organized, be healthier, save money, or manage your stress focused on a general outcome like this, you’re doing so from the premise that only once you get that result will you be satisfied, happy, successful, or good enough and this underlying judgement and negative identity influences your actions.
It’s true for all of us, when we don’t think we’re good enough, we don’t believe we’re good enough to fulfill our resolutions.
When we’re focused on a perceived problem, we see it as a critical flaw we’re incapable of overcoming to reach the goal.
You may not be aware of this underlying issue, but if you’ve struggled to get results from your resolution or make changes in your life, I promise you it’s there and preventing you from actually getting what you want.
So how do you make this work in your life?
You know you have to reset the way you approach resolutions any time of the year from focusing on the outcome to getting clear about the behavior or process or habit that will shift you toward the outcome.
Obviously, a behavior, or process or habit is something you’ll need to do consistently and to make that happen, there’s one very important but surprisingly simple rule: you have to start small. When we make resolutions, we want to make a big change all at once, but this doesn’t work.
Starting small is the simple and actually doable way to take just a bit of time and space in your life for this behavior or process or habit.
Once it’s established, you can do more but at first, you have to start so small that it’s incredibly simple to do. As Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits, puts it, you have to start so small you can’t say no.
Let’s look at the examples we’ve been talking about:
If you want to lose weight, the behavior necessary to make it happen might be to exercise regularly. Starting small could be walking or running or doing jumping jacks for 3 minutes per day. If getting organized is your resolution, decluttering may be required. Starting small might be to remove one item from your closet or desk or basement every day. If being healthier is your goal, the behavior to get that result may be to eat more vegetables, so adding one serving of vegetables to your daily diet would be a way to start small. If you want to save money, you’ll need to make a habit out of tracking your spending. Start small by just keeping tabs on how much you spend on food. If managing stress is your resolution, the behavior necessary to make that happen might be to meditate, and sitting with your eyes closed and counting 10 breaths is an outstanding way to start small.
Now doing something for only 3 minutes might seem useless to you, but when you’re trying to make a change in your life, starting small so that it’s easy is the most important step.
Establishing your new behavior in a consistent way is how to make it stick in the long term so that you can get the results you actually want.
Once you are consistently doing a small bit of the behaviour necessary to fulfill your resolution, you can increase your time and effort, but even that should be a little bit at a time.
I promise you these small steps add up, but perhaps most importantly, small consistent wins reset your brain from thinking you’re flawed and not good enough until you fix the problem to believing that you can be the type of person who decides to make a positive change and shows up consistently to behave in the way that shifts you toward your goal.
If feeling more present, calm + confident is something you’d like to achieve this year, join my Simple Yoga Challenge. It’s 7 days + 7 small and simple practices that will shift you toward getting the benefits of yoga with ease. Sign up at stephannieweikert.com/simple
So, thank you for watching this episode Simple Yoga Life, I hope I’ve inspired you to begin making the wisdom and practices of yoga a simple part of your routine.
Let me know in the comments below what your desired outcome and required behavior to achieve it is by completing the sentence: I want to be ___, so I will do ___.
And I’m sure you know someone who could benefit from feeling more present, calm, and confident every day, please share this video with them.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so everything you do to make positive changes in your life truly does elevate us all. Thank you.