And since you've made it to 2021 it's worth asking, what on Earth are you going to do with yourself? No, really. What are you going to do? After all, there is no right or wrong answer and, truth be told, you don't have to do a single thing differently.
For some of you, that's almost a slap in the face. The new year is all about resolutions and becoming the YOU that you've had tucked away for all the previous years of your life. It's about finally breaking out, sweating more, speaking up, and buckling down. The stroke of midnight is straight Cinderella magic that has been bubbling to the surface your entire life.
3..2..1... Happy New You!
But wait - it's the same you!
New Year. Same You.
And that's where resolutions go to die.
But what if there is a better way to do January? (and February, March, April, May...) What if instead of resolutions, we focus instead on routines? By definition, a resolution is something that you are determined to do. You are resolved. You make a firm decision until at least January 19th when 80% of people have lost the motivation to make the changes they swore to only two and a half weeks before.
But not you and not this year.
This is YOUR year!
In the process of reaching the goals we have, there has to be some sort of reward. Say, for example, you want to lose the previously mentioned fifteen pounds and your reward is looking good for your post-social distancing vacation to Cancun in May. You have your tickets and decided to make losing the weight your New Year's resolution. You can picture yourself on the beach with your sugar boo and you're looking amazing. On January 1st all the way up until January 15th you're doing a really good job of working out three days a week, staying away from carbs, and drinking water. Sure, it's hard but that cute little swimsuit is worth it. Or it's worth it until you decide to celebrate your good beginning with birthday cake and a couple of days off. After all, you've earned it!
And then you realize you've eaten cake, had a few glasses of wine, and you're kind of tired when it's time to get up and around. Ya know, you actually look pretty amazing for your age and who cares what you look like anyway. It's all good.
Does that sound familiar? I know it does to me.
Or maybe it's something more like this. You've spent your entire life feeling sick to your stomach, exhausted, and trapped by fear. You want to go out with friends, get into college, or stop worrying about every scary situation your anxiety can whip up - and it is REALLY good at creating scary stories. Isn't it? You'd do anything to feel confident, in control, and able to control your anxiety so it doesn't control you.
This year, instead of the list of things you "should" do or "need to" do, I challenge you to dig into what you want to do. I challenge you to look for the voice that tells you something is too big, too scary, or too impossible and own it because that little voice is precisely what is going to keep you going when you're up against all of the other noise that life throws at you.
The snooze button.
The scary stories and feeling of panic.
The scary stories and feelings of panic or kick anxiety. As a matter of fact, it might actually fall in line easier if you follow a daily routine, and here's why.
Creating a solid routine, beginning with only one change that leads to success, creates a new habit loop. To really achieve a goal and make a change permanent (everything from losing weight to exercising to becoming less anxious) you have to develop a new habit following the path below.
We begin with a cue. Something has to *ding* your brain and remind it to do the new thing, whatever that is from choosing a healthy option or mindfulness over panic.
After the cue reminds you of what you want, you need to have a replacement routine set and in place! This can't be a fly by the seat of your pants decision, you need to have a hard and fast, no backing out response. Maybe your response is to do 5-5-7 breathing or maybe it is to get a drink of water. Whatever that response is, it has to lead to a natural and immediate reward such as more energy or less anxiety.