New Year’s Resolutions vs. Lifestyle Rituals by Ana Maria Radu
It has become a well-known custom and tradition for us to want to turn our lives around for the better on January 1 by making new year’s resolutions aimed at successfully meeting lots of goals of self-improvement. These resolutions are usually focused on changing our habits – either breaking bad habits or building new good habits – to reach those goals.
We keep making resolutions year after year, yet they seldom truly last. I have reflected on this matter, both in myself and in my clients, and I have realized that there is a good reason behind this repeated dynamic year after year.
Here are some questions I asked during my reflective insight:
- Does the strategy and the process you laid out towards reaching your new year resolution bring you joy?
- Does it give you a sense of security and safety?
- A sense of strength?
- Does the process celebrate your mind, body, soul and your surrounding environment?
- Do your core desires feel fulfilled?
The problem seems to be that somehow, during the process of execution, these resolutions we set become more militant than enjoyable, giving us a sense of failure, a sense of not being enough, of having to hustle longer and harder by always chasing the metrics of results – and honestly, that’s not something we seem to want to experience or even remotely enjoy, so we just give up! It actually ends up defeating the initial purpose altogether!
So I came up with an alternative: lifestyle rituals.
Lifestyle rituals don’t solely focus on metrics of success. Success is actually more of a “side effect” of rituals! And here’s why:
Rituals can enable us to CELEBRATE ourselves, they involve self-respect, joy, and self-love, while at the same time giving us a sense of predictability, which settles our anxieties as we are building new memories, while healing and growing.
Here are some ways to turn new habits and routines into memorable rituals:
- Act with mindful intention using the mind-body connection
With intention, transform the required tasks into something more meaningful, pleasurable and enjoyable. Involve the five senses in your new activities to create a delightful ambience:
- If for example you want to start a daily prayer or meditation habit, burn a wonderful candle or dispense essential oils whose scents elevate you while you start on this journey
- If you want to stay active like walking or jogging every morning, use music to energize and pump you up or calm you down while practicing your new habit
- If you want to read more books and widen your knowledge, use textures to create a sense of comfort, like placing soft blankets on your reading chair, bringing a soft lighted lamp nearby, and wearing warm fuzzy socks on your feet
- Use beautiful touches in your surrounding environment to keep motivating you, like using a pretty, colorful bowl/plate when you eat your new healthy breakfast, a motivational saying on the cup you now drink your green tea from, a nicely designed glass or bottle you drink your daily intake of filtered water from… Involve your senses so that the new activities are infused with intention and beauty and become indulgent acts of self-care.
- Mindfully build on your daily To-Do List, with a To-Be List and a To-Feel List as well
- On the To-Do list, include general tasks related to work and personal items
- On the To-Be list, include behavioral things you’d like to focus on like to be of service, to be compassionate, to be patient, etc.
- On the To- Feel list, include what core emotions you’d like to feel, such as feeling grateful, or confident, or hopeful, etc.
- What is your WHY?
Why is establishing these new habits and lifestyle important to you? Keep in mind the purpose behind your actions. Having that sense of purpose will fuel you during the difficult times where your consistency and dedication can be trying you.
- If time is an issue, you can still fall in love with celebrating yourself!
Build rituals around your core routines when waking up in the morning, going to bed at night, eating your meals, the commute to work, cleaning your house, etc. I will give you a very simple example. When I clean my house I listen to intriguing audio books to take my mind off the “drudgery” of the cleaning process. I also use beautifully fragranced non-toxic cleaning products that help bring some pleasure to the activity, along with fun colored cleaning cloths and sponges. When I’m done, I always end the chore by lighting a celebratory scented candle and adding fresh flowers to my living room.
Celebrate yourself with enriching lifestyle rituals, and the side effects of it will produce the successful achievement of goals and resolutions that would otherwise feel like a drag to get done and accomplished. Remember, it’s not always the what, but the how as well. Happy New Year!
Ana Maria Radu, Life Coach and Healing Strategist
Address: 5621 Strand Blvd, Suite 210-C, Naples FL
Phone Number: 239-370-7018
Thank you Ana Maria for your thoughtful article around these daily rituals. I loved the idea of a to-feel list