The New Year has arrived, and with it – an immense focus on change…
“New year, new you!”…
“The time is now!”…
As humans, it’s only natural that we look at a new beginning as a clean slate. A time for looking ahead to the new year before us and wondering what could be.
But all too often, there is an expectation we hold upon ourselves to make these big life-changing resolutions – and the pressure to do that makes us feel that if we don’t start now, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
The truth? New Year’s resolutions will not change your life.
Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work
Why is there such an appeal to create resolutions on the 1st of January anyway?
Well, aside from it being a societal norm, you can blame behavioral science.
The Fresh Start Effect is a finding that suggests individuals are wired to make a change at the start of a new time period – whether that be a Monday, the beginning of a new month, or the infamous first day of the year.
And it makes sense. Who doesn’t like a clean slate?
New beginnings are viewed as opportunities to put space between ourselves and bad habits or past shortcomings. This can act as a “reset button” for life, restoring you with newfound optimism and increased motivation.
For a little while.
Why does this happen?
There are many thoughts and opinions on this, but my theory is simple.
Starting with a “clean slate” and distancing ourselves from mistakes or bad habits we’ve acquired over our lives is not honoring our full selves. It places shame on who we are or who we’ve been, and this cannot create growth.
Real, lasting change can only come with a strong sense of deserving, and this starts with acceptance of where you are and where you’ve been – not just on the first of the year, but each and every day.
So how do you get there? How do you develop that sense of self and actually change your life?
By leaning into the SHiFTⓇ Method.
The Method That Will Change Your Life
If you’re new here, the SHiFTⓇ Method is our trademarked approach to chronic disorganization (heck, it can really be for anyone, not even people with clutter challenges) – helping our clients shift their lives from fragmentation to wholeness. It’s rooted in compassion and it really works in changing lives.
In my book, Making The Shift, I share real stories of clients who started in very difficult circumstances of dysfunction and chronic disorganization, and completely transformed their lives by means of the SHiFTⓇ Method.
Why does it work?
In a nutshell – it’s rooted in compassion (aw yes, I said it again–compassion).
Compassion drives intrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation leads to real-life changes.
Rather than clearing the table to start anew and labeling behaviors as “bad”, we address the small shifts that can be made in various areas of life (social, health, i am deserving, financial, and time) and work on building self-worth, leading to positive change in life.
How It Works
First and foremost, you must meet yourself where you are, and remind yourself that you are always deserving, and always have been, of everything you hope to work toward in your life.
This helps in accepting where you’re starting from and letting go of any shame.
And unlike setting a lofty resolution, you’re able to focus on the small, realistic shifts to make in your everyday life that foster real change.
And the biggest thing? Remember this is a lifestyle – something that is ever-evolving and doesn’t need to start at the beginning of a new year, or next Monday, or the start of a new month. Because there is no “beginning”, there is only “becoming”, and this can take place throughout the entire year.
Let’s take a peek at the 5 aspects of what make up the SHiFTⓇ Method, and the different ways you can change your life in each area.
Social connections are a foundation of healing and a very critical component of optimal well-being. Although relationships can be complicated and staying in touch can feel overwhelming, social connections are a huge support and a very important facet of life.
- Nurture the current relationships you have in your life, even in small ways: give a longer hug…remind a friend how important they are…commit to calling a friend or family member once per week
- Work on a small decluttering project to make space for inviting a friend over to share a meal
- Take some time to write down all of the important people in your life and why you appreciate them, then let them know.
We all know it to be true – health is wealth. Making small intentions toward bettering your physical, mental, and spiritual health is the best investment you can make in yourself.
- Ditch the all-or-nothing mindset: if you start your day off with poor eating choices, end it with a nourishing meal. If you fall behind in your organizing projects, start back up with one small task in one small area, and build up from there.
- When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, commit to 15 minutes of something you enjoy to decompress: go for a walk, curl up with a good book, make yourself some tea – then say this out loud – “I did this for me”.
- Commit to finding one physical activity that you truly find enjoyment in: join a dance class (or dance to your own music at home), take a walk in nature, try a community sport…there are so many different ways to move your body. Find what works for you and commit to making it happen.
3. i am deserving
Studies show that having self-compassion enables you to better engage in healthy, life-changing behaviors. After all, when we feel better, we do better.
- Practice daily affirmations: write them out in a journal or record them somewhere so you can listen to them each day.
- Honor yourself and the small achievements you make each day with a gratitude journal.
- Get comfortable with setbacks – start to accept mistakes and bad days as a normal part of the journey.
Finances are a very common source of distress among the population, but as with anything, focusing on making small changes in areas of your control will compound into something that frees you of that mental burden.
- Assess what non-essential item you spend most of your money on, (for example: coffee) and journal about why you feel the need to purchase it. Is it for comfort? Distraction? Then decide on the things to keep (that truly benefit you or bring you joy), and choose one thing (only 1!) to stop spending on.
- Every time before you purchase something, take some time to journal the feelings behind it.
- Is there any area of the home you spend too much money on (decor, clothes, kitchen, pantry)? Start a project, or hire a professional, to help declutter and organize that space. This helps you to realize the things you have, and start spending less on the things you don’t need.
It’s true what they say – time is our most valuable asset, and poor use of it is one of the biggest underlying causes of stress, not to mention it feeds a scarcity mindset.
- Take time to map out your typical day, from start to finish. Take note of times in the day when you are wasting on tasks that don’t serve you. For example: mindless scrolling on social media, watching too much news, or binge-watching episodes of a show.
- Stop trying to do everything in one day. If you suddenly get the urge to deep clean your entire home, remind yourself that this can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s usually not attainable (cleaning companies clear out 8-10 hours for a deep clean!) Instead, commit to one area, and make a plan for another space on a different day.
- If you’re constantly running late, start scheduling it 15 minutes earlier: If you have a doctor’s appointment at 10 am, put it in your calendar for 9:45.
Remember – You’re Deserving Of Change In Your Life
No matter the way you choose to foster change in your life this year, I hope you can find peace in knowing these things:
- Big changes start with small shifts
- You are whole just as you are
- You are always deserving
So here’s to rooting ourselves in presence, realizing that each day is a day for making a SHiFTⓇ into our best selves.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year”– Ralph Waldo Emerson