New Year’s Resolutions 2.0: Five Reasons Why February is the New January

Fill a mason jar with 30 things you appreciate about yourself and read one card each morning for a month – this is a great way to start a NEW month!

I was recently at the Sundance film festival in Utah with some girlfriends. We spent our days watching movies – inspiring and depressing; drinking red wine; eating pizza; and popping into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a spontaneous candied apple covered in caramel and snickers bars. (Yes, the apple was delicious.  No, I haven’t had a fried snickers bar but imagine it’s a close second.)  After about 24 hours, we started feeling a little gross.  We all began talking about getting back on the healthy-diet-wagon once the trip was over.

Isn’t that so often the case?  We tell ourselves “once I get back from …” or “after my big presentation at work is over,” THEN I’ll start to: eat healthy, workout, be nicer, <enter resolution here>.  When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many people give up entirely and think to themselves “Well, I missed the boat on starting fresh in January so why bother?”

We came up with a solution that I want to share with you today.  February is the new January.  Yes, that’s right.  We’re starting a new trend called New Year’s Resolutions 2.0, and the underlying principle is that February is the NEW January when it comes to New Years resolutions!!  Here’s why:

1) If you haven’t really gotten started on your resolutions yet, you’re still ahead of the game!

2) The gyms will actually have MUCH more space because those eager new members, who signed up in January in a holiday-induced state of guilt, have started to peter out.

3) There’s too much pressure in January to do everything all at once.  February is more relaxed.  People who start resolutions in February understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  We’re in it for the long haul.

4) February is the month of love, why not begin loving yourself in addition to others?

5) If you were one of those eager beavers in January, but you’ve since slipped up, February is the second chance we all secretly hope for but didn’t think we deserve.  As it turns out, if you’re looking for lasting results, what’s even more important than commitment is RE-COMMITMENT.  Re-commitment is what happens when you slip up, pick yourself up and then get back on track.  Re-commitment is when you decide that you REALLY want this thing you resolved to do/have/be.

So now that you’re sufficiently convinced that February is the perfect time to start with a clean slate, here are three tips to make your February 2.0 Resolutions really count!

3 Surprising Tips to Effective New Year’s Resolutions 2.0

1) Create a self-appreciation jar.  Many of us make resolutions, slip up, and then beat ourselves up.  This pattern actually makes us more likely to continue unhealthy behavior.  Instead, start appreciating yourself for all of your progress with a self-appreciation jar.  Buy a pack of index cards and a mason jar.  I recommend the colored variety pack of index cards with blue, yellow and pink.  Take 28 cards and write one wonderful thing about yourself on each.  If it’s hard to think of 28 nice things to say about yourself, try thinking of what you would say to a friend.  It’s also perfectly acceptable to write “trivial” things like “I appreciate myself for doing the laundry.”  Fold each card in half and place them all in the mason jar.  Then put the mason jar on your nightstand or in a prominent place in your home.  Each day for the next month, pick out ONE card in the morning and read it.  Make that your mantra for the day.  Any time you feel down or want to grab that donut, think of your self-appreciation statement for the day, and repeat it to yourself.  There are studies connecting self-compassion with increased willpower to resist sweets, get to the gym, finish that project at work, etc.

2) Lower your standards.  It’s better to set a resolution for something you will actually do than to set a bar so high you never reach it and constantly beat yourself up about it.  Be realistic.  Maybe you decide to commit to walking for twenty minutes three times a week rather than going to the gym six days a week, which you won’t actually do.  Every time you commit to doing something that you fail to do, you lower your self-confidence.  You will feel better about yourself by making resolutions that feel borderline too easy, but that you actually follow through on.  And who knows, maybe you’ll feel so good that you will run the extra mile anyway….  If you do, then you’ve exceeded your goal for the day!

3) Avoid “What the hell?” and cut yourself some slack.  There is actually a scientific term called the “What the hell effect” that happens when people eat a bit of something “bad” like a donut and then end up finishing the entire box.  It turns out that when we indulge a little, and treat ourselves badly about it, our minds go into this what-the-hell zone where we figure, “well, what the hell?”  That’s how that one tiny sliver we’re just tasting turns into eating the entire pie.  People who do research on these things say that you can mitigate the “What the hell” effect by telling yourself “I’m only human, everyone slips up now and again” anytime you backtrack.  So, next time you do something that isn’t aligned with your 2.0 Resolutions, simply tell yourself “It’s ok.  I’m only human”.  It also helps to tell yourself “Today is a NEW day.”  Allow yourself to let go of the past and start fresh, make a new commitment and stick to it.  Remember these are your 2.0 Resolutions and it’s all about giving yourself a second chance!

 
Have fun!  And remember, February is the new January when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, and you deserve to start fresh.
Vanessa Loder
Founder & CEO Akoya Power, LLC 
www.akoyapower.com

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