We are 10 days into this new year, new decade, and some of you may already be over the whole “fresh start” idea. About this time every year I start hearing people talk about feelings of lost hope. It doesn’t take the entire month for that initial enthusiasm to wear off and for us to realize that nothing magical happened at midnight. The world did not suddenly decide to bend to our will, and we are stuck with the same difficulties we had on December 31st.
The new year, and holidays in general, really put a lot of pressure on people. We love the idea of a clean slate–some place we can work from scratch without distraction. In December, we see the holidays as a finish line, and most of the time it does feel that way. “If I can just get through this week at work, then I’m on vacation for the holidays.” “If I can just get through Christmas with my family, then it’s relaxation station.” “I will celebrate and enjoy myself when fill in the blank is done.” We hustle, bustle and we fight our way through the holiday madness. This explains why December 31st is likely to leave us feeling deserving of a finisher’s medal and our trophy–a glass of champagne.
If the new decade hasn’t been all you had hoped for, fear not, change is afoot. The thing about resolutions is they are simply choices we have elevated to important commitments and stamped “I resolve” on. We come up with a list of changes we want to see in our lives and then pinky swear that “this is the year it all changes.” Good people I tell you, stop it. Just. Stop. It. Put the list away, erase each and every bullet point, and close out the Pinterest board. Change is not a list or a vision board (though I do love those). Change is not something we can do all at once, nor can we do it overnight. I know you know this, logically, but emotionally, not so much.
Our logical brain knows a lot of things that make zero sense to our emotional brain. Our feelings are the driving force behind our expectations, decisions, and ultimately our actions. January 1st is so exciting because our emotional brain thinks everything is going to be different now. It’s expecting greatness! It has been told daily for weeks that “New Year = New You” and so it compiles a list of everything it wants changed with the thought that these changes will equate to happiness. Logical brain is off to the side going, “Hey man, dropping 20 lbs isn’t that easy. It’s not going to happen quickly, or maybe at all. If it was easy, we would have done it already.” While our emotional brain is too keyed up to care, replying, “I know, but this year is different. We are NEW now! Don’t be a pessimist! This is our year!” And so we keep making lists, sort of like the mental lists we make when there’s a big lotto jackpot and we imagine all we would do with $300 billion.
This year let’s try something different. Make no lists. Don’t sit down and decide on all the changes you want for yourself over the next 12 months. Instead, pick one thing. Maybe it’s the thing that has bothered you the most over this last year like not being able to park your car in the garage. Then, choose a small area to work on to accomplish that one thing. Pack up one box to take to the donation center. Unclutter one square foot of that cram packed garage, then celebrate that. Unclutter one more, and celebrate that. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you’re parking a full sized automobile in that bad boy.
Sometimes, it’s all of the changes that keep us from changing. If the garage is but one item on a sizable list, you are unlikely to ever complete it. There are simply too many things vying for your attention, not to mention all of the normal day to day stuff you have to do even though it’s a “new year” with a “fresh start.” The truth is, we are not starting from scratch with a clean slate just because we flipped a calendar page.
Maybe you have something more important than household organization on your list. Something like “Get Healthy.” Maybe there’s a pressing feeling that if you don’t complete this item things will likely get pretty bad for you. Maybe this goal is life or death. No pressure, right?
Just like with the great garage clean-out of 2020, the first thing we do is cut everything down to one thing. Don’t start exercising and eating well all at once. Don’t decide to go from the couch to the race track. Pick just one thing. Maybe it’s walking 30 mins a day 2 days a week. Great! Maybe it’s cutting 100 calories a day. Perfect! Maybe it’s just going and getting your physical. Awesome! Because “getting healthy” sounds like a giant pain in the ass. I mean the term itself is so vague, which measure do we even use to know if we are successful?! Walking 30 minutes twice a week? I can easily measure that, and I’m likely to be successful because it’s not a giant pain in the ass. Cut one hundred calories? That’s one soda or glass of wine. That’s doable and measurable.
In short, it’s a New Year with the same Fabulous You, who is going to evolve one tiny bit at a time, one quick minute at a time, each day for 365 days.
Quick side note: This doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Grab a friend or a family member and let them cheer you on. For more concentrated support, give us a call and let us help guide and encourage you as you move towards your ultimate goals! Helping others make profound, life long change is our mission at Noyau!!