Resolving to change

A couple of weeks into 2019, and it’s that time of year when many people are resolutely sticking to their new year changes. But, some might be starting to wobble, and some may have already been left behind or added to the ‘try again next year’ category.

If this seems familiar, then read on.

Firstly, you’re in good company. In fact, more than half of all resolutions will be forgotten within 6 months. These don’t seem like great odds. But, there is hope! There are certain things we can do to make sure our resolutions move with us throughout the year. Today I want to focus on one of the most fundamental things that many people seem to miss: addressing the type of motivation that is best for long-term change.

Firstly, if you can find something you enjoy, do that! Motivation based on love or enjoyment has been called the ‘gold standard’ of motivation, which makes complete sense. If you love doing something, of course you’re going to keep going back to it. For example, if your resolution is to exercise more, don’t feel like you need to sweat it out on the treadmill for hours on end. Instead, broaden your horizons and find something you actually enjoy. Go out in the fresh air, try something you’ve never before or revisit something you used to do as a child.

But, enjoying your resolution might not always be an option. Stopping smoking, for example, if very uncomfortable for many people. If that’s the case, there’s a type of motivation that is just as potent: Doing what really matters to you. And that means working out what you value.

Take a look at the words below:

Values.png

Do any of these stand out to you? These are just a few of the potential values that might mean something to you (I’ve put a some more in the table below). As a rule of thumb, we generally have a few values that are important to us, and then of these some are really important to us. We can call these our core values. Resolutions based on your own values are more likely to stick. Making changes because you value them, as opposed to others, is also great for mental health and wellness.

With this in mind, choose five values from the table below that really mean something to you. Now, does your new year resolution fit in with these values, or does it help you to move towards these values in any way? If not, then perhaps it’s time for a resolution tweak (which is completely allowed and encouraged, even a few weeks into the year!).

Whenever your resolution feels like wobbling a bit (and this will happen, before any habits are formed! More on habits in a later post), think back to why you’re making the change. Maybe it’s to be healthier and have more energy for family, maybe it’s to have a sense of adventure. Whatever it is, come back to this reason regularly. Just this simple step will help you move toward your 2019 goals. Of course, there are many other techniques that help, but we’ll save those for another time.

If you would like help in working through your values, or any other aspect of setting and keeping resolutions, get in touch with us at hello@mensanamovement.com. Also happy to provide references or further reading for anything stated here.