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  • Melissa Brunetti

Cracking the New Year's Resolution Code

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Let's face it — not everybody wants you to succeed. There are people out there that don't want to see that, and it's very sad, but it's true. And so, be prepared that your change might cause friction in your relationships.

Hey, guys. Thanks for joining me today for Mind Your Own Karma’s second episode. This is Melissa Brunetti, your host. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and got to spend it with your loved ones, and just had a fantastic time, and I hope 2021 was a happy and healthy year for you and your family as well. And with the New year approaching, 2022, we were talking a little bit last week about New Year's resolutions, and so I thought it would be a good time to talk about how you can be successful in keeping your resolution. And I said in my last episode that I usually don't make a New Year's resolution because... I think it's because I always seem to not follow through. It just got me thinking as to why we don't keep these resolutions? Because it feels like you're really gung ho, and you’re going to do it, so what are the stumbling blocks, and how can we remedy that so that we can reach our goals?


 

I want to start out by asking you all a question. Did you make a goal or a resolution in 2021? And if you did, do you even remember what that resolution was? And secondly, did you achieve your goal? Because I was doing a little bit of research, and I found out that only 8% of the people that make a New Year's resolution actually meet their goal. Only 8%. And only a little over 50% are still on track to meet their goal after the first month. So, the track record of achieving your New Year's resolution goals is not very good. So, why is that so? Of course, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to achieve. What do you want? And the first question that I would say that you would want to ask yourself is, is this something that I want, or is this something that I should do?


If it's something that you should do, your heart might not be in it, and so you are not going to have that drive to achieve the goal like you would if it were something that you want. Make sure that it is something that is important to you. Another thing is to think about is, have you tried to achieve this goal before and failed? You might need to think about why you failed. So, what were the obstacles? Make a list. Figure out what is actually in your control, and list your strengths and weaknesses, the things that might get in your way to achieving that goal. So, do you start something and then procrastinate? Do you forget? Maybe you make an unrealistic goal. Maybe you make too many goals at one time. So, define your goal, check in with yourself, and make sure it's something that you really want, and then look at the obstacles that might come your way. Once you define your obstacles, then you can sit down and think about ways to prevent that from happening, especially if you've tried this goal before and failed. You can look back and see where you failed, and that will give you a better understanding on how to fix it.


 

The next thing is to start making a plan. I would make it as detailed as possible, and I would make it so that it's achievable in small chunks, very small steps. I'm the type of person that I like to make a list and I love to cross the things off that list because I feel like I’m doing so much. I don't care if it's something that's going to take me 5 minutes. I still write it down because I see this huge list, and I keep crossing things off, and it makes me feel good, and it helps me keep going to achieve my goals for that day. If I just wrote down “clean out the junk room,” one thing on my list, that would take me forever. Instead of breaking it down, saying, “Okay, I'm going to clean the closet, and then I'm going to clean under the bed, and then I'm going to pick up all the clothes.” Scratch those things off, and you will feel more successful.


So, maybe you want to start exercising. That’s a big one, right? For a New Year’s resolution, I would say pick a time of day, put it in your calendar so that you don't forget, put a note on your running shoes, your walking shoes, put them out, and just make a small goal. If you're not doing any exercise at all right now, make it a 5-minute walk, and then the next day make it a 6-minute walk, and add a minute every day until you get to whatever your goal is, 30 minutes, an hour. If you go out there and try and say, "I'm going to walk an hour every single day for the rest of 2022,” that's probably not going to happen. You need to make some realistic goals, goals that you can achieve. I mean, even if you get out there for five minutes, that's five minutes of walking. That's not nothing. That is something. And so, start small so that you can see that you are achieving something, and that you're being successful, because that’s going to be huge.


 

Another way to stay on track is to have some accountability. Even if you don't have it with another person, have it with yourself. So, just check in every week. Did I achieve my goal I wrote down? Did I do these things? If you didn't, it doesn't mean you have to stop because you messed up one day or two days. Just start again. It's not a race, it's a journey. And once you reach your goal, that doesn't mean stop, especially if it's exercise or keeping your house clean or whatever it is, because you have to create that habit so that you continue. There is no destination. You have to keep doing the thing that got you to your goal.


Thinking about habit, and the research that I'm doing, the main focus on how you become successful is you have to form a habit. And so how do you do that? Right now your habit might be the alarm goes off at 6:00 AM. I stumble out of bed, I go to get my coffee, and I stumble back into the shower and get ready for work. Where now, you want to get up half hour earlier and take your 5-minute walk. So, how do you create that habit of getting up earlier, and making that your habit, to where you just stumble out of bed and put your walking shoes on and your walking clothes?

The research is a little conflicting on how many times you have to do something before it becomes a habit. I saw anywhere from three to seven times up to 30 times. For me, I don't think three to seven would work. I think 30 sounds more attainable for me to create a habit. So, I'm sure everybody is different, but just getting into the routine, and at first setting up those ways that are going to make you achieve and be successful, those are things that you're going to have to figure out that work for you, whether it be a little note, like I said, or setting out the clothes, or setting an alarm, putting it in your calendar. Those things would help me, so you have to figure out the ways that are going to help you.


And celebrate the little wins. I mean, if you get up and walk your minute for a whole week in a row or whatever the goal was, celebrate that. I mean, dang, that's a pretty good achievement, especially when you know the statistics, and they’re not good. But you're doing it. And think about how it feels to achieve just these small little goals that are getting you to the larger goal, whatever it is. How does that make you feel? Because it always makes me feel really great. Stop and notice how it makes you feel. Be in the moment, and be present with that feeling, because that feeling is like a drug, and you're going to want it again and again. Getting up that 30 minutes early is not fun, but how did you feel when you achieved the 30 minutes, and how did that make you feel? And then you just want to feel that again.


 

Another stumbling block that just came to mind with this whole exercise scenario. Before you even start, just know you're going to be sore, and this is not going to feel good right away. You know that. And so, just be prepared, and just say it out loud ahead of time. “Tomorrow I'm going to be sore.” But by next week, if I keep doing this, I'm going to start feeling better and healthier and more energetic. So, just out loud, up front, name those obstacles so that you already have called it out there. And that's why it's so important to celebrate that you even just got out there and did it. Because right away it's not going to be fun, but you have to give yourself some kind of payoff in the beginning to give yourself that encouragement to just keep going.


Remember when we were kids and our teacher would have the little boards with our names, and you'd get a little gold star every day for doing something, and how great that felt? And if you didn't do it that one day, you see that blank square there with no star, how horrible that felt? Maybe make a chart. Do that for yourself so that you can see the achievement right there, and that you want that gold star every day, and you don't want to see that blank square. However dumb that sounds. It would work for me. If it works for you, just do it. Another stumbling block is, are you comfortable with the story at the end when you achieve the goal? Because maybe your goal is, “I want to be in a relationship.” But you have this contradictory message that, “Well, then I'm going to have a loss of freedom.” So you've got to identify any contradictory messages and see if you're self sabotaging in any way.

If you want to work out because you want to lose weight, but you don't want to give up that cheeseburger every couple days, those are contradictory messages, and those are things that are going to be stumbling blocks for you because you're not going to see a goal achieved. Sometimes our comfort zone is so comfortable that getting out of it, even if you're miserable, sounds even more miserable. Actually doing something sounds worse than staying in the pit. But like I said, identifying these things ahead of time, I feel, is the key to overcoming them if you call them out before it happens. And just know this might happen. I might eat a cheeseburger, but I'm going to do better. I want to be in a relationship, but I like to watch a lot of sports. Okay, then make sure you find somebody who also likes to watch a lot of sports, and then there won't be a problem. So, just kind of identifying those things, and calling them out, and then problem solving.


 

Another obstacle that I think a lot of people don't think about is when you start working on yourself and making yourself better, sometimes that makes other people uncomfortable, and they don't like that. So, say if you are in a relationship, and you want to start getting up off the couch, and you want to start exercising and doing things, well, your partner might not want to do that. They want to have those cheeseburgers with you. And so, they might not like the change in you because they're not ready to make that change with you. And then they feel like they're losing that person that they know and are comfortable with.


And let's face it, not everybody wants you to succeed. There are people out there that don't want to see that, and it's very sad, but it's true. And so be prepared that your change might cause friction in your relationships. It might cause jealousy or insecurity. Your friends might not like it if you stop going out every Thursday night and eating cheeseburgers with them. You don't want to do that anymore, so you might become a downer. You're not going to drink as much, and so there goes all the fun, right? That's where some of those contradictions might come into play and might sabotage what you’re wanting to do.


So, again, just knowing that ahead of time, and maybe figuring out, or even thinking about, this might happen and how am I going to handle that? Am I going to be okay with it? Am I possibly going to have to let people go, or have a different type of relationship with these people, by doing what I need to do for myself? Any change can be hard, even if it's something positive. I used to have someone in my life that when I started to lose weight, they would bring me chocolate, and they knew I was on a diet. But, "Here, I brought you this gift.” And it's just like, “Yeah, but you're sabotaging me.” And it all stemmed from their insecurity. And instead of wanting the best for me, they were sabotaging me and sabotaging the goals that I had for myself, and that's not somebody that I wanted in my life.


 

So, another way that helps you achieve your goal is to attach a small change to something that’s already a habit. So, let’s say you are already walking 30 minutes, but you want to walk an hour. And so, you start chunking on a minute, like I was saying earlier, here and there. You can't make this huge goal and say, “I’m going to pay off all my bills.” No. Sit down, write down, “I’m going to attack this bill first. I already have to pay it, so I’m already in the habit of paying that bill, and I’m going to tack on an extra $25 a month, an extra $100 a month.” And then, write it down. “If I do that, then I will have this bill paid off by this date, and then I’m going to go to this bill, and then I’m going to take that $100 and put it on the next bill…” and then just keep going. So, you’re already in the habit of doing something, and so you’re just tacking on a little extra to achieve a goal, and it makes it easier because you’re already doing it and you don’t have to make that habit from scratch. Trying to create a habit from scratch is a little more challenging than something that’s already automatic and just adding something on.


Another great way to give you a little payoff is to really imagine and feel, what it would be like to attain the goal? What would it be like to pay off all my bills and have an extra $300 a month in my pocket? How would it feel if I lost 20 pounds and was so much healthier and maybe could get off some medications? So, just really feel how it would feel to attain the goal and imagine it. Be kind to yourself during this process. It's so easy to be able to see the things that are wrong, or that we’ve done wrong, or where we stumble, but be kind to yourself and name the things that you’re doing right.

 

About two years ago I decided that I wanted to lose some weight, and I decided to do it in small increments, just everyday small decisions, like in what I ate, and how much I ate, and tried not to eat fries, and this and that. But it’s not that I don’t ever have a fry. I like fries, so sometimes I want it. And so, I make sure I don’t eat a ton, but I’m kind to myself. It took two years, and I’ve probably lost 25 to 30 pounds, and I’m keeping it off because I’m doing it slowly. There’s months when I don’t lose anything. There’s months that I’ve gained a couple pounds. But in the long run, because it’s a marathon and not a race, it’s just every day making those decisions. And yes, maybe one day I ate three desserts, or whatever, but I’m not going to do that again tomorrow. But I’m not going to deprive myself, either. So, I am kind to myself, and I do allow for those things.


And it makes it so much more attainable to do it in those small little chunks, and be able to keep it off because the process was slow and gradual, and not one day saying, “I’m going to go to the gym every day, and I’m going to only eat salads, and I'm never eating another hamburger ever again.” You can't be that strict with yourself on any kind of change. You're going to mess up. You're not going to be perfect, and that's okay, because it doesn’t mean that you're back at square one again. Yeah, maybe you took two steps back, but you will get right back where you were, and then you'll take a couple forward. And if you just know that ahead of time, I think it helps your mind to know that there are going to be a few setbacks, probably, and you might not even know what those are yet, but they’re going to happen.


And so, you just take them as they come, and you deal with them, and you're better for it. You live, you learn, and you move forward. And I think people jump in and it's kind of an all-or-nothing, especially with New Year's resolutions. And even if you had a practice that you were doing a few times a week, and then you didn’t even do it for a couple weeks, and you’re like, “Oh, dang, I really slipped.” But that’s okay. Just keep doing it. It’ll work itself out. You’ve got to create that habit, and so just keep trying. If it’s really something that you want, then it should be easy to get back up on the horse and keep going.


You're worth it. Your goals are worth it. And just keep that positive talk in your head to yourself, because you might not hear it anywhere else, and you're all that counts anyway. If you're doing it for you, you shouldn't be doing it for anybody else, so that's the important thing. If it's for you, and not something that you think you should be doing, that it’s something that you really want, then you should be able to attain it. Just make sure that your goals are realistic and not too general. Be very specific. That way it's easy to self-evaluate and figure out if you're on the right track of achieving the goals.


 

Another thing to do and realize is that your motivation is going to be high in the beginning, but you're going to hit dips and valleys, and you're going to have to renew that motivation. Because in the beginning. It's going to be easy to fight any discomfort or temptation that might be coming your way, but eventually that temptation is going to come. You're going to try and quit smoking, and that nicotine withdrawal is going to kick in. The first day or two, you're like, “I'm going to do this,” and then that nicotine withdrawal kicks in and you're like, “Dang, that's kicking my butt.” And so, you're going to have to just know that that motivation is going to wane, and that you're going to have to renew the motivation.


Remind yourself why you're doing this. Remind yourself how it's going to feel when you stop smoking. So, just find that inspiration. Maybe talk to somebody, and just check in with yourself and remember why you're doing what you're doing. And again, just being prepared that these things are going to happen. You will have these dips. It's normal, it's okay, and you can overcome it. But being prepared, if possible, for those dips, and knowing ahead of time that they're going to come, is a huge win.


I think a lot of times when we set out with these big goals, we don't think about the pitfalls ahead of time because we're just so motivated and just want to get started and we're ready to do this, and we don't think of what might happen. And just being prepared for the what-ifs will help you be successful. And if you’ve discovered that you're not being as successful as you'd like to be in your goals, just be flexible and maybe reevaluate things. Maybe there’s a better way. If you come up with a roadblock, you need to stop and think about how you're going to maneuver around that, and that's okay. It's all in the learning process, and everybody is different, so you could start out, “I’ve read this book and I’m going to do it this way,” maybe that’s not the way for you. So, it’s okay to pivot and go in a different direction. As long as you're getting to the goal, that’s fine. Maybe you need to be flexible with what the end goal was. Maybe you were like, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds.” Well, maybe 50 pounds is not going to be attainable, or maybe it was going to make you too thin or unhealthy. So, sometimes a re-evaluation of the end goal is necessary.


It doesn’t mean failure. It just means, “I made a necessary U-turn, but I'm not quitting.” Maybe keep a resolution journal where you journal your struggles and your triumphs, and why you’re working toward your goal, so that when you have these down in the valley moments, you can go back and read and refer back to why you’re doing this in the first place, and get re-motivated. If you relapse to the bad habit, just don’t see it as a failure, just see it as a learning process. I know for me, when I made these resolutions, I always felt like my first failure was the end, and I had to be perfect in it, or I just wasn’t going to do it. And that’s just not realistic at all.


 

So, in closing, I just know that a lot of people see the new year as an opportunity to reflect on your life, and look at where you can make improvements, and improve the quality of your life, and that is a good motivation for a lot of people. So, I’m really hoping that I gave you some food for thought today, and hopefully helped maybe tell you a couple things that you hadn’t thought about before that maybe will help you be more successful for this next New Year’s resolution.

But just remember, you don’t have to start on January 1st and wait until January 1st again. You can start on June 15th if you want to. New Year’s is just a time to reflect, and I think it’s just a reminder that there’s always a new beginning. But you can make that beginning at any time. Just remember to have a realistic goal, and a plan to execute the goal, and have measurable milestones, be ready for any setbacks, and have a plan for those setbacks.


 

And last but not least, have a positive mindset, and just be kind to yourself, and allow for mistakes and the setbacks and the pivots, the U-turns, dips, all those things. Just know they’re going to happen. It’s normal. It’s okay. And just keep going.

So, lastly, let’s talk about some New Year’s resolution ideas that are achievable, and maybe ones that you have not thought about before that are not on the top ten.

So, let’s start with building a better budget. Now, I know money is usually a thing, and paying off your bills. But actually building a budget, and maybe not buying that Starbucks every day, and putting that towards a bill. How about trying out a new recipe every week, just once a week, a new recipe? How about prioritizing your health and making sure that you get all your health screenings for the year? Those of us that are of a certain age and have to get all of those things, make yourself a priority and get those things done.


How about committing to being a volunteer somewhere, and helping out where you can? Maybe giving yourself some positive affirmations every day? Make yourself some affirmation cards or write them on little pieces of paper and draw one out every day and see what you get. Another one that would be great is, learn a language. Learn a new language. How about learning to delegate, and delegate some of those things to other people? Allow for help. That is one that I need to adopt. Maybe your resolution could be to make your bed every day. That would not be my resolution, but maybe it’s something that you would like to do.


How about making an effort to hand out more compliments to people? That would be a good one. Try and make people’s day. I mean, one small compliment could make a person feel really good. How about trying to go for a walk, or go to the park, and leaving your phone at home? People have that phone glued to their hand at all times. It’s crazy. It’s ridiculous. I work in the healthcare field, and people bring that phone to all kinds of exams. I’m like, “Just put the phone down.” Another good one, saying goodbye to toxic people in your life. That’s a good one. And last but not least, how about picking up a hobby, something that you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you wanted to do some cake decorating, or maybe you wanted to learn how to paint. Do something for you for self care.


 

Those are just a few ideas for you that’s something different and new that you could incorporate into your New Year’s resolution. I am hoping to incorporate some into mine. There were some good ones in there. I am hoping for a wonderful 2022 for all of you happy healthy people. Please keep tuning in. I am going to be doing a lot of challenges for you all, a lot of self-reflection, a lot of shadow work, a lot of becoming more authentic, a lot of being brave in your choices in life, and living your life out loud and not being apologetic. And most of all, a lot of being happy. And we are going to work on how we do that and how we discover that.

Next week I’m starting out the new year with the subject of being stuck in life and the hows, whys, and wheres, and how to get un-sticky. So, I hope that you join me next week. Have a great week. I hope I gave you a couple of things to think about today. And as always, take what you need, and leave what you don’t, and always remember to mind your own karma. See you next time.


You can also find my Instagram and Facebook links below if you would like to follow me there as well.




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