Chances are by now you know that most New Year’s Resolutions aren’t worth the cost of that fancy journal you wrote them in. Some estimates put the failure rate at over 80%. Despite such shockingly crappy outcomes, many of us continue to sign up for January gym memberships, weight loss and smoking cessation programs, and, dare I say it, online mindfulness courses. I get it. I totally do. It’s a new year! A fresh start! A chance to shed our old skin and problematic habits and finally become the best versions of ourselves!
Researchers have identified a variety of reasons why it’s so hard to give up Facebook and eat more salads, as well as a ton of strategies for overcoming those barriers. Unfortunately, many of the December Do and Don’t Lists miss the big one, the game changer, and I’m not talking about the latest habit tracking app. I’m talking about self-compassion.
Dropping a resolution altogether just because you missed a day or two at the gym is kind of like dropping out of school because you didn’t get an A+ in geometry.
The thing is, you’re probably going to fall off the wagon. It’s ok. It really is. That’s what it means to be human, and for all of our awesomeness (we are, after all, the creative force behind nachos and Star Wars), we’re not perfect. None of us are. But dropping a resolution altogether just because you missed a day or two at the gym is kind of like dropping out of school because you didn’t get an A+ in geometry. That would be ridiculous, so maybe try something else instead.
Cut yourself some slack.
Go easy on yourself when you miss a meeting or meditation session. Remember that you’re in good company, that behavior change is hard, and most importantly, perfection can suck it. This sort of compassionate response to our own missteps doesn’t come easily to many of us, but it’s a helpful approach for getting back on track with resolutions.
Here’s a little SLACKronym (Ha! See what I did there?) to make it easier to bring kindness into the picture when you’ve fallen off the resolution wagon, or need a productive place to start.
My SLACKronym (along with a handy dandy infographic is up on Mindful.org, so head on over to read the whole article.