Hello! I’m baaaack! It’s good to see you looking so tanned and rested. You look so well — the break has clearly been super-good for you.
What I want you to articulate is how you are feeling right now. What three words would you use to describe your emotional state over the summer break? Relaxed. Engaged. Excited, maybe. Or connected, calm, joyful? See if you can name three prevalent emotions. We’ll circle back to them in a minute.
The thing with the luxurious long summer break (I know, some of you still have weeks to go yet. Weeks!) is that we sink into it and feel so good that we forget how life rolls the rest of the year. You know, when there is traffic. And rain. Pick-ups. Email. And so we set our resolutions for the New Year from this magical holiday place of connection, peace, calm and fun.
“It’ll be easy!” we say. “This year is the year I go walking before work every day/join the gym and actually go to it/lose 10kg. This. Is. The. Year!” And we really mean it. And we really feel it. These resolutions feel like they are in the bag. We have such confidence in ourselves because we are projecting forwards from our place of connection, calm and fun. Everything feels doable from that energetic place.
It’s a delicious place to be. Hell, we even convince ourselves we will not just join and go to the gym, but we will like it when we get there! We will become one of those people. The ones in front of the mirror. It’s on. And then real life starts again and the resolutions start stopping.
Why? Because what with the traffic, and drop-offs, and the email and whatnot, we shift out of the calm, connected and fun state when we made the resolution, to being stressed, frustrated and harried (or similar) when it’s time to put the resolution into practice. So much harder to keep that intention going when we are in a completely different emotional state than when we committed to it.
What’s the secret? Well life is life, there is always going to be traffic, drop-offs and email. Opting out is unlikely to be an option. So it’s deciding to get yourself back into the emotional state of when you MADE the resolutions in order to actually carry them out. Figuring out how to bring connected, calm and joyful to working out, rather than stressed, frustrated and harried.
That might look like sorting workout clothes the night before so you are calm and organised (and maybe treating yourself to some cute new ones — go on, I give you full permission), or making a fixed date with your sister to meet on Tuesdays for Pilates so you look forward to the connection and joy that the interaction brings.
Or it might be managing your thought processes around it to bring calm and connection. “I should go workout, I said I would,” is a demotivating energy of push unlikely to succeed long term. Choosing instead to think “Regular exercise is something I gift to myself in 2017, and I love having that precious time just for me” will connect you to the emotional state in which you made it, and get you there with consistency.
One of the main reasons so many resolutions fail is because they don’t take feelings into account. Feelings are ultimately the only reason why we do anything! Ignore them in goal-setting at your peril. For success, bottle that glorious holiday feeling you have right now so you can tap into it through the year to drive the change you seek.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing