Sooooo, you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions and now comes the hard part; making them stick. What many people don’t understand is that resolutions involve change and making it a part of our lives is more than speaking it into existence. There is a cycle of ups and downs, falling off the path and getting up. The problem comes when we fall off and stay down there, convinced it’s too hard to get up and going again.
But here’s a little trick; think like a movie star. Sounds crazy, right? Think of your resolution as a project (the movie) and you are the star. So here are 5 things to remember as you tackle those resolutions.
STEP 1. LIGHTS (Pre-contemplation): A light bulb goes on, and you realize there are some things that need to change. You know all the reasons; maybe you’ve known for a while, but have been in denial. You know you need to start shooting your movie, start making some resolutions. Here are the first obstacles, ambivalence and procrastination. Recognize them, acknowledge them but don’t let them stop you from getting on stage.
STEP 2. CAMERA (Contemplation): The excuses are wearing thin. The “camera”, i.e. attention, is on you. Maybe you’ve seen that office Christmas party video where you embarrassed yourself in front of your boss, and finally realize you need to drink a whole lot less. In other words, the reasons to make change are more confronting, serious or evident to you now. So it’s time to start shooting. The first item on your “rundown” might be naming the resolution or action you want to change then making that important phone call.
STEP 3. ACTION: (well, Action): You have taken steps towards your resolution; you are finally in the very first scene of your movie! No more waiting and contemplating. You have been to the gym or maybe you haven’t smoked cigarettes in three days and are feeling great right? You are well on your way to achieving and sticking to your resolutions! Woo hoo! You can do this. Until….
STEP 4: CUT! (Relapse): Uh- oh…something happened along the way and suddenly the scenes of your movie aren’t coming together AT ALL! There are too many “cuts” and too much criticism about your performance (mainly from you). You can’t take it and give up. The relapse phase tends to be dramatic. It’s over! Fired from your own movie! You run off the set and never come back to shoot the rest of the movie because you failed!!
The problem is YES most people respond to the relapse phase this way. Relapse is seen as failure and is probably the number one reason resolutions fail. But this is a misconception; there is hope folks, because relapse is NOT failure! So what to do?
- Identify relapse as a normal part of the change cycle (as opposed to viewing it as failure) and learn from it. Success in achieving those resolutions, big or small will be greater with this mindset.
- Keep going, dust yourself off, and gather your thoughts. Is something off? You may need a few wardrobe changes in your movie production, or a lunch break for things to start running again!
- The good news is there is no reason you can’t return to any part of the cycle (movie shoot); you can have as many takes as you want take two, three, four even five if you have to. Switch the lights on again, beat ambivalence with a stick, get the camera rolling, do as many great or even not so great takes. The secret is not to give up!
- Realize that committing to change is not easy and be honest with yourself about contributors to your relapse. Maybe you’re simply not ready for this change or the reasons motivating you aren’t the right ones.
STEP 5: WRAP (Success): If you are committed to your resolutions and want success in sticking to them, remember it’s a cycle and you may have to go through it a few times before you finally get there. Don’t give up, keep shooting your movie, even if you do really well, then suck really badly, soon enough there will be no more takes or cuts and “it’s a wrap!”
So get the lights set, make up on and get moving. By understanding and realizing the role of each stage we can all be well on our way to making long-term change. Good luck!
Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? What was it? Is it a new one or one you’ve tried to tackle before? How do you plan to make it stick?
Portia Kambasha is the proud mother of two gorgeous toddler sons and married to an equally gorgeous husband. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychiatric nursing in Newcastle, United Kingdom and worked and traveled in Europe before migrating to Australia in 2008. Searching for sun, sand, and a better family life, she now lives in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. She recently completed a Masters degree in mental health and currently works as a mental health professional in eating disorders, while pursuing an independent career in family therapy. She probably has an unhealthy addiction to caffeine, but shes working on it (did somebody say New Year’s resolution?). Portia loves food, music, art, bold color, interior design, and travel. She should love exercise more than she does..and she will..in the new year..