Today is my first blog back after a fantastic break with family and friends. I had plenty of rest, discovered new things and had many fun times (and walks with Marlon!). This brought with it a complete change in rhythm with lazy mornings and leisurely afternoons! Consequently though, I am now completely out of any 'blog writing habit’.
This also means that writing this is somewhat like ‘hard work’ to get going again.
Chatting to a few of you who mentioned similar struggles in the “getting going again” after a break reminded me that this is the time we all have the potential to think the worst, and give up completely.
Whether we are getting back to previous routines, getting going with a new year healthy living plan, or even starting again once we’ve blown all the new year resolutions on day two!… it takes perseverance to make any meaningful lasting changes. It requires “Grit” = hard work, determination and resilience.
If this time last year (or last week!) we swore off chocolate, vowed to be an active gym member for life, or promised to get to bed by 10pm and somehow haven’t, we may be tempted just to give up completely.
So here’s some helpful truth….
The happy, healthy, ‘life to the full’, we might dream of doesn’t simply appear by making a new years resolution to stop chocolate for a few weeks!
We are creatures of habit and these habits are subconsciously ingrained.
Just as we didn’t wake up and suddenly develop all of our habits in one go, we can’t expect to have them suddenly disappear once we decide to make a change.
All habits accumulate consequences over time - both the good and the bad ones!
So instead of focusing on ‘failure’ - what we haven’t, can't or didn’t do - we could instead ask ourselves more helpful and positive questions.
Questions like what we did do? what does this now make possible? And what did we learn when everything didn't quite go to plan. It can also be helpful to remember that the first steps are usually the hardest, and we’ve probably already succeeded with those at least once.
These questions remind us to focus on success rather than just look around at everyone else and feel rubbish about ourselves for “failing”.
Even if our success isn't that obvious right now, or our momentum has been lost, this time will still be different than all the others, because now we know that we can succeed at starting - and that includes starting again!
Ever wondered why we spiral so quickly to reverting back to old habits? It’s because when we feel like we've failed we feel condemned - And feeling condemned can cause us to revert to those comfort habits in an artificial attempt to help us feel better even more than usual.
In my case today I’m talking about my blogging habit - and how easy it would be to give up because I’m out of a routine - but I could just as easily be referring to going to the gym, having a quiet time, avoiding the chocolate digestives or drinking 6-8 glasses of water!
The principle is the same. Our habits are cumulative - both in starting and stopping them. And we need to celebrate each and every time we succeed to keep us going in a world where it's easier to hang up our boots, or collapse on the sofa.
The truth is that this will be my 27th consistent and consecutive weekly post - thats more than 6 months worth! That is something I would be encouraging anyone to celebrate!
So although this blog might not be the best post ever written, it is written. And because you are reading it, you get to celebrate with me too - and that inspires me even more to keep writing! So thank you! :)
Today as celebrate together, we can recognise that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.
I guess that's what resolutions are all about. At the beginning of the new year we sort of give ourselves ‘special New Year permission’ to try something again, or try something new.
So my takeaway question for you today is how much more effective do you think it might be if instead of making ‘New Year’ resolutions, we make a new month or new week or even new day resolutions?
That is we don't wait for a new calendar year to give us permission to once again resolve to ‘get healthy’ (the number one google search for new year resolutions!), but instead resolve to start as soon as possible after we stop - what ever the reason.
This is what being intentional in all about. It's about developing habits to try again and only ever give up ‘giving up’.
Yes stop to take a break - that is usually healthy and wise, and I know today I’m already more appreciative of a routine! And remember, success is getting back on the horse, wagon or to the gym one more time than you fall off.
Health and happiness is a way of life, not a destination.
But the other essential thing to remember about health, is how important ‘little’ and ‘often’ is…
it is much easier to maintain than regain good health, and we don't often appreciate it until we no longer have it!
All good reasons to be more intentional about our health!
So if you made and kept to your new years resolutions already, keep pressing on, well done and give yourself a huge pat on the back - we are celebrating with you!
And if you made resolutions that, let's say haven't gone quite to plan, what not ask yourself..
What was my stumbling block? Am I really going to wait another year before starting this again? And give yourself a huge pat on back for starting in the first place - we’re celebrating with you too!
Or if like me you've had a break over Christmas, and find yourself needing to raise the energy levels to get going again, try remembering why what you're doing is important, what it might be like to succeed or fail at creating a new habit, and both ‘starting again’ and each and every subsequent step along the way is success!
Thankfully, even though starting this post may have seemed a little daunting, I started and now it is written! Yay!
Thanks for reading it.. Now get going yourself! ;)
Thanks to those who have already got back to our New Year Resolution poll - I’m leaving it up for another week
So you still have time to let us know what you are being intentional about and we can include it in future posts and webinars!
Interestingly - over 75% of the new year resolutions submitted so far have a direct correlation to our physical health and wellbeing - i.e. Food and fitness. It's still good to remember that even those that on the surface don’t seem to be obviously linked to health - such as; speak less - listen more, more laughter, pursue simplicity, etc.. all impact some aspect of our health, wellbeing, relationships and peace of mind.