Four Ways Not To Quit Your 2015 Resolutions
It happens every year. We come out of the gates January 1st (okay, maybe 2nd) with rigor and passion. We're focused and motivated. Whether to exercise more, meditate, write that book, we Resolutionaries are ready and in full action.
And then week four comes along. The week resolutions go to die.
It’s not even just with the New Year wave. Every 40 Days to Personal Revolution or cleanse or yoga pose—any transformative program I’ve done—there’s always a point. The point when it gets harder and I want to quit. My mind gets louder and very convincing: “Well, you had a good run. It’d be okay to stop now.” Or, “It’s okay to skip meditating today, you can just do it tomorrow.” And tomorrow turns into never.
I used to look at these moments as a sign of my inherent weakness. But they’re not. They’re a sign that the work is working. Reassurance that I’m onto something.
Instead, let's look at dreaded Week 4 as an opportunity to reflect on the process. To look at ourselves frequently and honestly and make necessary adjustments. Behold: four tools to make your new pathway a successful one.
1. Ask yourself: Is this something I really and truly want? I’ve totally made goals/resolutions because they sounded good, but not because I truly wanted them. One year, I said I’d start running. I
hate intensely dislike running. And, I saw running as something that would make me more valuable, so making the commitment stroked my ego. When my running career ended after a few days (shocker), I felt worthless. Really though: I didn’t want it in the first place. And that’s okay! I gave up the goal and added in something else. Four weeks into a creating a new pattern is a great time to pause and refine
2. Stop beating yourself up. I felt the urge to write, “Easier said than done” just now, but no. It’s easily done too. You just stop beating yourself up. You may have to stop every five seconds—and that’s the part that seems exhausting—but it’s pretty simple. Just stop. We cruise through the first few weeks of new patterns because our egos tell us “Look at you! You’re better than everyone else for meditating every day.” The second things get challenging, that voice shifts in the crafty way it does and tells us “You suck!” for having a hard time. Call B.S. Choose to see difficulty as a sign that you’re up to something big. Stop letting your inner critic say what’s up and you’re sure to succeed.
3. Talk to someone. Anyone. Sometimes, it just takes saying, “Hey, I’m having a really hard time with this right now” to an outsider. Then I’m not sitting in “Ugh, this is sooo hard” anymore. I’ve created distance between me and hard by inviting in support. Support is key to success.
4. Take it one day at a time. “If I don’t start having less anxiety and more inner peace by week three of meditation, that’s it!” I don’t know where I got the idea in my head that “by [insert date] I should get what I want,” but, by believing it to be true, I’ve set myself up to abandon ship no matter what. One thing we’re in control of is our actions. What we’re not always in control of is the timeline of when we’ll get it. One day at a time, one minute at a time, one breath at a time. When we take more than that on, we experience overwhelm and shut down. When we simplify, we’re unstoppable.
Whatever resolution/goal/intentions you committed to this year, don’t quit now. You’re just getting started.
Jessica Kenny is a writer who teaches yoga or yoga teacher who writes, depending on the day. For a long time she did neither and was not very happy. She is a Certified Baptiste Teacher in San Francisco and contributes articles to many online and print publications. You can keep up with Jess and her ginger self on her website and Instagram.