Midlife Strategies

How I Stopped Feeling Trapped by My New Year Resolutions

New Year Resolutions often lead us into a trap. How about a new way to begin New Year, asks Kay Newton.

By Kay Newton

Have you fallen into the New Year Resolution (NYR) trap? I have on many occasions. I used to say things like: “On the 1st, I am going to start going to the gym three times a week. I am going to stop drinking red wine totally. I will create an awesome online life-changing course and have 5,000 followers by next week.”

Every time would I fail. Usually within 48 hours of setting the NYR. And then I would feel like a failure for the rest of the year. My self-talk for the next 12 months would go something like this:

“Let’s face it, you are never going to be slim and fit. There’s a birthday coming up next week, just one glass or red wine won’t hurt and if it turns into a bottle, no-one will be counting. Who wants to follow you? You have nothing different to offer than anyone else out there, your course will be a disaster, why waste effort writing it.”

That is, until last year 2017, when I truly did something different. I want to share the secret with you right here. No one needs to suffer the NYR blues again!

I now love the New Year and the new beginnings it brings. For me, the first few weeks in January are all about reflection and very rarely about doing anything new. We are so busy doing things in life, we never really stop to just take time to be familiar with ourselves and celebrate the fact that we are here, right now on earth having this awesome experience, even if it may not feel like it at the time!

With a pen and paper in hand, I remap everything that happened to me the previous year. The highs and lows, the goals set and the achievements made, whether large or small, the people I have met, old friends and new, the sadness and happiness, the tears and the kisses, the familiar places revisited or the new lands explored, the new foods tasted, music listened to.

The list is, in fact, endless, yet the more you write, the more you get a sense of who you are and what makes you tick.

Once you can see the words on paper, the next step is to celebrate each one. Let the emotions run over you, whether good or bad, strong or weak. All is as it needs to be right now. You are perfect in every way, in this very minute, and a celebration is in order.

With your list in hand and a celebration of life achieved, you are then in a fabulous place to begin looking ahead and mapping your future. If you look back at the events from the previous year, you will see that some events were unexpected and you dealt with them as best you could. Others needed planning over time, a step-by-step approach and others were just specific dates in the calendar.

Kay Newton gratitude journal.jpg
Last year was an epic year for me and there is not space enough to elaborate; here are just a few highlights

Following this approach, you can begin to map your days of celebration, holidays, work schedules and kilos to be lost each month.

You cannot, of course, plan for the unexpected events yet you can choose how to deal with them when they arrive. It is not rocket science; it is all about planning and preparation and celebrating each and every win.

For example, my youngest son will graduate from University at the end of July and I cannot wait to be a proud mum. I want to lose 12 more kilos in 2018; this won’t happen on one specific date so I will need a daily/weekly/monthly action plan for the goal to be achieved, from exercise to meal plans. This will include watching my consumption of red wine, yet I know I am not ever going to stop altogether – that is far too unrealistic!

And as for the online course and the 10,000 followers, why not come and join me for the five-day Ditching Mental Baggage Challenge, which starts on January 15th right here.

Kay NewtonKay Newton is a personal development coach of UK origin now based in Zanzibar. She’s a motivational author, speaker, confidante and Tai Chi instructor.

Lead image: Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash. First published in eShe magazine’s January 2018 issue. Read it for free here, or buy the print edition.


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