CONGRATULATIONS! You made it! Career Girls, you ought to be throwing a party and patting yourself on the back…you survived the first week of 2013!
…but did your resolutions?
We all know just how daunting New Year’s resolutions can be — after years of watching yourself and other people struggle through significant life changes, many times failing after a few weeks or months, it can drive even the most dedicated of us to reconsider whether we want to set ourselves up for a potential shaming. Sometimes the intense pressure we put on ourselves to alter our lives dramatically beginning at midnight on January 1 (or…after you wake up from your NYE party sometime in the morning…afternoon…) is setting our zeal up to fizzle out. But fear not! For those of you who have made resolutions in 2013, I have put together a little self-evaluation for you to figure out how to stay on track, or get back in the game:
- First of all, how did you do? Sometimes it helps to evaluate yourself week-by-week, instead of monthly or quarterly. Are you trying to quit smoking or start juicing your diet? Maybe you are trying to hit the gym three times a week or cut back on your soda/sugar intake. Either way, how many days did you succeed this week?
- Okay, okay…maybe it didn’t go as well as planned. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. The more you pile yourself on with guilt and shame, the less likely you will believe that you can succeed at this next week. Remember that this is the first week of the rest of your new life, and it will be one of the hardest in the process of change. When you are making big changes to your habits or lifestyles, they will come with time, and most of all, from patience with yourself.
- Or did it go as awesomely as you hoped it would? Good for you! Make sure you really pat yourself on the back when you have successful weeks like this. These little rewards come in a lot of forms: buying yourself a little something, giving yourself an extra hour of ‘me time,’ a nice dinner, etc. Depending on your resolution and what you are trying to accomplish, set up a reward system for yourself when you’ve done something successful. Motivation toward that smaller reward, and then the greater reward of following through on your resolution, is often needed to keep you focused and driven toward changing your lifestyle!
- Either way, how are you documenting your progress? It is critical to your success that you are able to document your journey to a new you. When I quit smoking the first time, I started putting into a jar all the money I saved by not buying cigarettes, so I could see the financial effect of it. Maybe you need to get yourself a calendar and put a big gold star on each day that you work out/eat well/don’t smoke/do something productive and good for your life (or the lives of others!) Or perhaps start a blog or journal or keep daily Facebook updates documenting your progress! Either way, you need to be able to look at this evidence during the hard times to show yourself 1) just how far you’ve come and 2) how successful and awesome you really are. I live in Colorado, where the views from the peak of the mountain are great…but often not nearly as great as the sweat and adrenaline it took you to get there. Adopt this same attitude for your resolutions!
- Oh yeah…where is your support group? This is critical. You need to have a group of people around you encouraging you and keeping you honest and moving toward your goal. Maybe your friends will tell you to get up off your ass and on that treadmill — better yet, maybe they’ll go with you! Have them collect a dollar from you every time you use that profanity you didn’t want to, or every day you don’t do what you said you wanted to this year. It’s important to find people who are supportive of your goals.
- And who the heck are you supporting? It’s nice to be able to support someone else in their goals as well. I understand how difficult it is for seasoned gym-goers to walk into a newly crowded facility in January, and how easy it is to get cynical about those people – suppress it. Judgment doesn’t get us anywhere; we are all trying to better ourselves in some way. Whatever your way of self-improvement is this year, it can’t hurt to support someone else in their own quest for self-improvement. Shoot, it might even strengthen your dedication to your own resolutions when you are a part of someone else’s success!
Relax. It’s only the first week. There is work to be done, yes, but don’t let it all live and die on the last seven days. Take these tips and apply them to the next 51 weeks…and then let us know about your progress!