At this point in January it is safe to assume that in regards to New Year’s resolutions or goals, people fall into one of four categories:
a) you never made a resolution and don’t believe in them
b) your resolve for your new goal held strong for a week or two but you have since fallen off the wagon so hard you’ve given up
c) you made your resolution and are sticking to it like glue and have no intention of ever looking back
d) you’re like me you’ve been about 80% faithful to the goals and resolutions you set for yourself, but aren’t completely happy with yourself because you don’t fall into category c.
Regardless of what you call it (a resolution or a goal or an intention) most of us take time to reflect on the past year and have a few changes we want to make in the year to come. Even with great resolve and the best intentions, falling short of 100% adherence to our goals/intentions/resolutions is a norm.
What makes the difference in making lasting change is how you respond.
One of the things that finally freed me from the grip of a serious eating disorder was the way I handled failure. Every January for nine years I fell into category b: I’d resolve not to binge and not to purge and my resolve would hold out for a week or two and then I’d cave. The addiction and compulsion would take over and I’d be back where I was on December 31st: a royal mess. The failure overwhelmed me and I’d throw in the towel for the rest of the year, because in my mind I’d ruined all my chances of being free from an eating disorder.
Learning to deal with setbacks and failure in my recovery was pivotal to ultimately finding freedom (that along with professional counseling, a very supportive husband and an unrelenting resolve to get better). I had to learn to see it each decision to change as a stepping stone, a chance to learn, an opportunity to grow. And I had to see falling short of change as part of the process, not failure.
The same goes for our New Year’s resolutions and big goals. Sometimes we can give 100% and we feel totally committed and locked-in to our goal. But other times we can only give 80% or maybe 50%; life gets in the way and our goals take a back seat as other priorities shift into focus. Maybe we loose motivation or our big dreams feel too far away to keep trying? Maybe we try and a door we thought would open, slams in our face? Or we try with everything we have and still come up short.
Whatever it is that causes us to fall short, it is our response to failure and setbacks that ultimately determines our success.
Often times success feels like an all or nothing scenario, but that is the furthest thing from the truth.
Fulfilling your resolutions and reaching your goals is more about maintaining focus despite the ebb and flow of life.
Look at setbacks and failure as part of the process, not the endgame.
So if you feel like you’ve fallen off the resolution wagon, or your resolve to make those dreams a reality has waned don’t give up! Take a good look at your efforts, ask some questions, figure out what needs to change and graciously pick yourself back up, find a friend who will cheer you on though the setbacks and keep going.
Cheering you on!
What resolutions or goals did you set for 2018? Do you feel like you’re still on track? Or have you had to deal with setbacks? What keeps you going?
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