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3 ways to succeed at New Year’s resolutions

1
I used to dive headfirst into the deep-end of January resolutions, with enthusiastic zeal!

Following the indulgence, of one too many mince pies and not moving from the comfy sofa, the resolutions held the supreme promise and hope of transformation.

Sugar would be completely banned; a shiny, new gym membership would carve out the dream body, whilst I followed a strict regime detailing calories, steps, measurements and goodness knows what else.

Of course, it always started tremendously well.

On day one, my motivation was sky high and plans were

SelfishMother.com
2
followed to the letter. I was sure that this time, I had finally nailed it. This plan was THE ONE! I had unlocked the magical, secret to change; I’d just never had the right willpower or regime in place before.

Unsurprisingly, the zeal and optimism of day one, or even day seven in January, quickly dissipated, as the month moved on.

January is not a month for extreme, low carb diets or cold chicken salads or early morning gym visits. The dreary, dark days and the persistent cold can quickly sap motivation. Three weeks in, I was feeling ravenously

SelfishMother.com
3
hungry and irritable, like an angry bear deprived of food. I was dreading the early morning alarm clock, signalling my supposed gym visits and the body transformation was no way near fast enough.

By Valentine’s Day, the expectations and aspirations of January 1st had been recklessly abandoned by the wayside; with the need for hot dinners and sustaining comfort food sensibly winning the battle.

This was not accepted on my part, with an understanding self-compassion or wisdom of the non-sustainability of such a punishing regime. Instead, the

SelfishMother.com
4
feeling of doom and failure would set in.

‘I don’t have enough willpower; I never follow through; I’m just not good enough’.

My ’all or nothing’ thinking would lead me into destructive and negative behaviours.

‘I might as well eat everything in sight; there’s no point doing exercise, if I can’t follow through; I might as well self-sabotage to prove how much of a failure I am’.

Thankfully, with the passage of time, I no longer take the same strategy with resolutions.

But what’s changed?

ONE: – Resolutions are no longer

SelfishMother.com
5
fixed in stone, with their achievement marked out, as the holy grail of self-worth. Instead, there are flexible goals in place and part of my longer term development. They are not unique to January alone, but part of the ongoing practice of gently chipping away at enhancing mental wellbeing, relationships; health and happiness. There is no longer a drastic, overhaul that descends on December 31st.

TWO: – I have learned that effective change comes from consistency and baby steps. And isn’t that so boring and underwhelming to hear? How we long for the

SelfishMother.com
6
magical, overnight fix to make it all better! The lose ten pounds in ten day days or transform your relationship in an hour. So rather than the exhausting workout at 5.30am, it’s about adding in that extra walk, but consistently; and instead of transforming my limited social life to friendship-queen status, it’s about making that call to my friend on a Sunday regularly and nurturing those connections.

THREE: -When you’re making change, it helps to have support around you, to stay motivated and inspired.

If you want to dance, enroll in a class

SelfishMother.com
7
with some buddies. Want to stop overeating? Join an online forum, follow some inspiring accounts on Instagram or get some counselling. Other people can be your cheerleaders and spur you on. It can be incredibly hard in isolation.

As we move into 2020, do take from this post, the tips that work for you.

Choose sustainable, achievable mini goals and work on them consistently. Don’t set yourself up with unrealistic resolutions that will be abandoned, well before January comes to a close.

Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself in this

SelfishMother.com
8
process, as self-chastisement is not in the least bit effective for motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SelfishMother.com
Harriet Frew

By

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- 2 Jan 20

I used to dive headfirst into the deep-end of January resolutions, with enthusiastic zeal!

Following the indulgence, of one too many mince pies and not moving from the comfy sofa, the resolutions held the supreme promise and hope of transformation.

Sugar would be completely banned; a shiny, new gym membership would carve out the dream body, whilst I followed a strict regime detailing calories, steps, measurements and goodness knows what else.

Of course, it always started tremendously well.

On day one, my motivation was sky high and plans were followed to the letter. I was sure that this time, I had finally nailed it. This plan was THE ONE! I had unlocked the magical, secret to change; I’d just never had the right willpower or regime in place before.

Unsurprisingly, the zeal and optimism of day one, or even day seven in January, quickly dissipated, as the month moved on.

January is not a month for extreme, low carb diets or cold chicken salads or early morning gym visits. The dreary, dark days and the persistent cold can quickly sap motivation. Three weeks in, I was feeling ravenously hungry and irritable, like an angry bear deprived of food. I was dreading the early morning alarm clock, signalling my supposed gym visits and the body transformation was no way near fast enough.

By Valentine’s Day, the expectations and aspirations of January 1st had been recklessly abandoned by the wayside; with the need for hot dinners and sustaining comfort food sensibly winning the battle.

This was not accepted on my part, with an understanding self-compassion or wisdom of the non-sustainability of such a punishing regime. Instead, the feeling of doom and failure would set in.

‘I don’t have enough willpower; I never follow through; I’m just not good enough’.

My ‘all or nothing’ thinking would lead me into destructive and negative behaviours.

‘I might as well eat everything in sight; there’s no point doing exercise, if I can’t follow through; I might as well self-sabotage to prove how much of a failure I am’.

Thankfully, with the passage of time, I no longer take the same strategy with resolutions.

But what’s changed?

ONE: – Resolutions are no longer fixed in stone, with their achievement marked out, as the holy grail of self-worth. Instead, there are flexible goals in place and part of my longer term development. They are not unique to January alone, but part of the ongoing practice of gently chipping away at enhancing mental wellbeing, relationships; health and happiness. There is no longer a drastic, overhaul that descends on December 31st.

TWO: – I have learned that effective change comes from consistency and baby steps. And isn’t that so boring and underwhelming to hear? How we long for the magical, overnight fix to make it all better! The lose ten pounds in ten day days or transform your relationship in an hour. So rather than the exhausting workout at 5.30am, it’s about adding in that extra walk, but consistently; and instead of transforming my limited social life to friendship-queen status, it’s about making that call to my friend on a Sunday regularly and nurturing those connections.

THREE: -When you’re making change, it helps to have support around you, to stay motivated and inspired.

If you want to dance, enroll in a class with some buddies. Want to stop overeating? Join an online forum, follow some inspiring accounts on Instagram or get some counselling. Other people can be your cheerleaders and spur you on. It can be incredibly hard in isolation.

As we move into 2020, do take from this post, the tips that work for you.

Choose sustainable, achievable mini goals and work on them consistently. Don’t set yourself up with unrealistic resolutions that will be abandoned, well before January comes to a close.

Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself in this process, as self-chastisement is not in the least bit effective for motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harriet Frew

I'm a Mum of three (one daughter and twin sons). I'm a therapist specialsing in eating disorders and body image; working for the Adult Eating Disorder Service at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge and in private practice. I am passionate about supporting people to recover from eating disorders. I like to try my hand at ninja warrior training and parkour, when I have time!

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