So here we are again. New year. A time for resolutions, fresh beginnings, re-inventions, new habits and, well, let’s face it, setting ourselves up for total failure. But does it have to be that way?
Last year I made a resolution to myself – although I’d rather call it a promise. No booze for one month. Remarkably (for me), I stuck to it. In fact, I even surpassed the original goal, and so far, I haven’t touched a drop since.
So how did I succeed this time, after having failed with countless resolutions in the past?
Four things come to mind.
Firstly, and most importantly, I was ready. Mentally. I really, really wanted it. I’d been faffing around knowing that I wasn’t happy with my drinking habits for far too long, but not doing anything about it, just feeling miserable. It’s something I’d been laying the ground for – in my head – for a long time, so by the time January 2018 came around, I’d finally owned the fact that there was only ever going to be me who could make the change I was so desperate for. I’d already begun to retune my headset and by that point, I actually had little doubt I’d succeed.
After all, it was only for a month.
Which brings me to my second point. I didn’t plan to give up for a whole year, just a month. As Matt Cutts says in his TED talk, ‘If you really want something badly enough, you can do anything for 30 days.’
I did want it badly, so I signed up, for free I might add, with Annie Grace’s online Alcohol Experiment. It made it so much easier. In fact, it made it fun. Every day, she addressed a new topic, with a little interview or video to watch. It changed my perspective and I intensely felt the benefit for those 30 days. It didn’t feel like I was giving up something. It felt like I was gaining so much.
A year is a long time compared with a month. Make a promise for a month. And then see what happens.
Thirdly, I was very clear in my objective. There is no ambiguity in ‘I will not drink alcohol for one month’, whereas, ‘I will drink less alcohol’ is, let’s face it, pretty vague and open to a colourful spectrum of interpretation.
And fourthly, connection and community. In the Alcohol Experiment, there was an online group, with others in similar boats to mine, and certain vessels were bobbing about in choppier waters. I even managed to chuck out the odd life buoy a couple of times with just a few words of support.
This year, I would like to practise yoga on a regular basis, and to really incorporate it as a part of my life. Which all sounds a bit wishy washy. Cue, Yoga with Adriene! And her 30 day ‘Dedicate’ challenge. It has all of the four ingredients I mention above:
- I am ready! I’ve been practising yoga on and off, throughout my life, and boy do I notice a difference when it’s more ‘on’.
- The description’s on the packet: it’s a 30 day challenge.
- The objective couldn’t be clearer. You receive a daily email with a video link. You do the video!
- If you choose to, you can tune in and do it at the same time as Adriene’s community. Imagine, yogis from the entire world, all sun saluting in harmony. It’s a beautiful thought. I can hardly believe this myself, but I’m doing the programme with my partner, in the actual same room as me. I challenged him, rather rashly, in front of mutual friends. He accepted and we’ve now completed seven days together. It’s his first time and it feels quite odd to both of us in a kind of cool way! So, connection, yes. Reconnection, even better?
My rule is just one resolution, or ‘promise’, per year. But rules are made to be broken. Promises are not. I’m very quietly whispering a promise to myself… I’ll start a blog.
Here we go!