You’re on the way to the big New Year’s Eve event at your friend’s place or public gathering and the anticipation is giving you those little jolts of pleasure and pre-party nerves…all good of course!
Catching up with friends, family, work colleagues or even meeting someone new and interesting, is all part of the New Year’s Eve ritual for many people.
Throw in some good food, champagne, fireworks or even the odd out of date Emergency Flare, and you’re bound to have a good night!
That’s how it goes…right? But what about some of the things that your friends, and even strangers, say to each other over the course of the night…or specifically just before the midnight countdown?
You know, those big fat audacious statements that you’ve said or heard before.
Ones like, “I’m not eating chocolate or junk food again”. Or “I’m going to lose 20 kg in weight and get into that size 12, I saw at the boutique the other day”.
You may even declare “I’m quitting the smokes, alcohol, and cutting up my credit card”. It could even be spending more time with the family and less time at work.
Have you ever heard about the “shoulds”?
You know “I should do this” or “I shouldn’t do that”?
So what happens with all these “shoulds”? Well, often they just stay like that. Most people have all the good intentions in the world, especially after a glass or two of the bubbly stuff.
Proclaiming with almost religious fervour, that there “should” is going to happen…starting tomorrow! Tomorrow comes and the realisation of you acting on your “should” becomes overwhelming, and just too damn hard.
So what do you usually do?
- Beat yourself up with the entire negative self talk – how you’re hopeless, you can’t carry anything through, you’re no good, blah, blah, blah. Feels great doesn’t it? Really gets your confidence right up there!
- Or you just say, “Well…it was a stupid idea anyway”, and just keep carrying on with those behaviours and choices you hate anyway!
Mmmm, that works…not!
What if there was a way to make those “shoulds” into “shalls”?
For example, instead of saying “I should lose the spare tire around my stomach” or “I’m dropping 3 dress sizes in the next month”, you made it a realistic goal?
Wouldn’t it be better to say “I shall tighten my belt by one or two notches” or “drop one dress size” over the next 6-12 months?
These things just don’t happen overnight. Small incremental successes work well in maintaining our motivation to stay on track and reach our targets.
“Small incremental successes work well in maintaining our motivation”
So get rid of that “I must do this right now” mentality!
For example, if your alcohol consumption is excessive, and is affecting your world, then making a commitment to reduce the amount, frequency and alcohol content will often work for most people.
You could say, “I shall have one glass of wine at night with dinner”, as opposed to your usual 3-4 glasses. You may need to vary this depending on your circumstances of course…
The “Giving Up Should” will dissipate, as you are actually working on this change effectively.
What about “I should spend more time with my family instead of always being at work”?
How would it be if you said, “I shall spend more time with my kids/partner instead of watching mindless sitcoms or whatever on TV…?
It’s about balancing what needs to happen now to get what you ultimately want.
So this New Year’s Eve, as you make your way to that big event all suited or frocked up in your finest, take a moment to reflect on your desired New Year’s Resolution.
Make it a realistic plan for small steady incremental successes and praise yourself for those small wins. You’re going to have some setbacks, guaranteed, but those can be turned into momentum to continue.
So at midnight when the champagne corks pop, revel in the knowledge that your “should” will turn into a New Years Resolution “shall do”!
Chuck out the “all or nothing mindset” – remember, slow and steady wins the race!