I thought hard about my 2022 goals and the specific steps I would take to reach them.
I reminded myself of the reward awaiting me at the other end of my disciplined effort.
I kept going… encouraged and excited, right on track.
Until one day, or one week, I realized “Wait, what happened? I was doing so well!”
Recognition turned to frustration, and I found myself at a crossroads between determination and defeat.
This experience hit me hard as ’21 morphed into ’22. Between the holidays, our anniversary, my birthday, and a long-awaited trip to reconnect with my family at Christmas, my healthy habits went by the wayside. I wasn’t happy with my state of mind or the state of my waistline. I wanted to get back on track and eventually found a way forward, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
It didn’t start by staring down at the scale, or on my yoga mat or in my walking shoes. It started with just-in-time wisdom words from mindfulness teacher Cheryl Jones who suggested adopting a mindset of working “with ourselves and not on ourselves.” I know that sounds catchy, but that small prepositional shift is huge. It means:
shifting the habit of self-criticism and judgment and instead, leaning into self-kindness.
I realized I had fallen into the habit of berating myself, so the reminder helped me to reset and to monitor my self-talk. Then I decided to treat myself as I would a close friend who was struggling with her resolutions. Instead of giving myself a pep talk, I allowed myself to feel disappointed. That simple action led to more self-acceptance…which in turn led to appreciation for my effort, and renewed determination. That shift was seismic. It allowed me to embrace myself all over again and to begin anew. I did the following:
Revisited My Why
I thought again about why my goal mattered to me and how it served me. I confirmed that I wanted this.
Reset My Resolutions
As tempted as I was to throw myself in, full throttle, I knew that first I needed to reel things in. It wasn’t realistic to think I would jump from two days a week of planned workouts to four. I scaled it back.
Yes, I bought those crazy-ass yoga pants I’ve been lusting after. Besides, they were additional motivation to get moving again!
Other Tips for Getting Back on Track
Since the art and science of keeping resolutions isn’t a one size fits all, here are a few other tips to consider:
Go back and look at your goal
By breaking it down or pulling it back a bit, it may be more achievable. Then, once you start to experience the momentum of small successes, consider gradually adding back on.
Create new habits
This might be scheduling specific times and days for specific actions that support your goal. If yours is de-cluttering, maybe you designate March for clearing out closets, April for reorganizing the basement, and so on. By putting these activities on your calendar – perhaps in small chunks of time – they become scheduled commitments. Or how about shifting your online searches so that they support your goal? Instead of clicking on those shopping or foodie sites, look for online yoga or even Marie Kondo!
Own your goal regardless of what someone else is doing
Many of us have accountability partners such as a workout buddy or a walking partner. This is great because it provides both support and a challenge to keep your commitments. But what happens if that partner bugs out on you? In my case, I have found that my yoga partner and I may bug out at different times. And yet, we each seem to make up the missed time on the mat on our own. Just remember that your goal is yours alone. You own it regardless of what that partner may be doing with hers.