There are thousands of articles and podcasts and videos about New Year’s resolutions. You can find countless lists like “Top 4 (or 5, or 15, or 30) Reasons Resolutions Don’t Work”. You’ll find even more lists of how to keep them! Well, in this episode, I give you ONE. ONE REASON why you aren’t seeing your goals through and ONE sure fire way to make sure you do. This one goes out to all of my Daily Doers, and ANYONE looking to change their life in 2021.
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Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.
Dana: Alright. Alright. Hello and welcome to Words that Move Me, I’m Dana. I’m jazzed you’re here. I am so excited about this episode, although it’s a bit of a tough love type of episode. Um, speaking of love, and speaking of tough, I want to start this episode by saying, I hope that you are finding solid footing wherever you stand. Even if there is uncertainty, when you look out the window, solid footing is what I am asking for today. It’s what I’m wishing you today. And I did a little Pilates earlier, so I stand a pretty good chance at finding solid footing today. All right, let’s dig in. Shall we? Today we are talking about resolutions, including, but not limited to new year’s resolutions. And we’re talking about why they don’t work. And we’re talking about how to make them work. Now, as far as why new year’s resolutions don’t work, you can absolutely undoubtedly 100% find 100,000 articles on the internet about new year’s resolutions. There’s a lot of research about habits and there, there are a lot of really great and some not so great articles about this specific topic. You’ll find lists on lists like top five reasons, top 16 reasons, top 20 reasons why your news resolutions didn’t work or 14 new ways to make sure your resolution works. Listen, I’m going to sum it up with one, one reason your new year’s resolution didn’t work, and one way to make sure that it works.
Now, if you are taking on a new year’s resolution or a doing daily creative challenge, it’s probably because of the way that you feel right now and the way you think you will feel once you have accomplished that thing. You think that something is not working for you now, the way you’re doing things now, and you think that you will feel better when you act a certain different way, new year’s resolutions and other long-term commitments are really all about what you think, the way you feel and the actions you take. Yet, for some reason, the only value in that equation, the think feel act equation. The only value that most people think to adjust is the actions I’m going to work out five days a week. I’m going to stop drinking every night. I’m going to start doing creative daily things. I’m going to start talking to my friends and family more often doing, doing, doing, or stop doing, stop, doing, stop doing. It’s all about behavior. It’s all about actions. Now. It is true that your actions and your inactions become your experience of the world. What you do and don’t do are very important. But if you try to white knuckle grip your way through a year or any extended period of time, to be totally honest, of modified behavior, without modifying your mindset, you will fatigue. Your willpower will run out. Yes, without a strong thought to think you won’t feel capable or worthy or committed to your goal. And you will quit because quitting is easy. It requires far less effort and planning than continuing. And your brain will offer you “quit” as an option every single day, because efficiency is key too. His survival and your brain is all about surviving. You will accept your brain’s offer to quit unless you give yourself a better offer. The one reason that you do not see your resolutions through to the very end is because you aren’t managing your mind. You aren’t changing your thoughts along with trying to change all that behavior.
Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s consider general health for a second. That’s a pretty popular new year’s resolution. Most people want to improve their general health. So let’s say, let’s say the person X is really hating the way their body looks. The holiday season and COVID really took its toll. They’re thinking ‘I hate the way my body feels because all of my clothes are too tight. I don’t like the way I look. I’ve gained so much weight. I hate my body in general, but man, I just, I really don’t even want to look at my body. I need to lose some weight.’ When person X thinks the thought ‘I hate the way my body looks or I hate the way my body feels or I hate my body period.’ They probably feel disgusting or unworthy or ashamed maybe. Let’s stick with disgusting. Just for this example, the general response to feeling disgusting is not to put on a pair of spandex or chop up a salad. No, the response to feeling disgusting is usually to stay in the sweat pants. Actually unbutton that top button, stay on the couch and eat and drink to feel better and beat yourself up for feeling bad because you know, better intellectually. Yeah. That’s what feeling disgusting. Generally leads to and doing those things, right? The staying on the couch, not being active, drinking and eating more to feel better, generally leads to gaining more weight. So can you see how thinking the thought I hate the way my body looks feels disgusting, and when you feel disgusting, you eat more, drink more, are active less. So gain weight is what happens. Now. Let’s say that this person has had it with gaining weight. They are ready to take control and they think, you know what? I’m going to make a resolution. I’m going to cut out the sugar. I’m going to cut out the carbs. I’m going to quit drinking. I’m going to start working out five days a week. Sounds like a good plan, right? Absolutely. Actually. And in time, an action plan like that will 100% change the way somebody’s body looks. But if this person continues to think, “I hate the way my body looks” they will not make it to see that day. The day where the action plan pays off, they will continue to feel disgusting. If they continue to think, I hate the way my body looks and when they feel disgusting and their brain offers them to just take one day off or just have one sip or just one bite. Just one cookie, Oh, just one day, you know what? You can just start next week. You better believe what happens. They take that offer. They take that offer and the cycle continues. Now let’s say that this person decides to change the way they are thinking. And instead of choosing, I hate the way my body looks. They choose something like maybe I care about the way my body works. When I think that thought, when I think I care about the way my body works, I feel responsible. When I think I care about the way my body works. I really do. I feel responsible. And when I feel responsible, I make responsible and reasonable plans. And I keep them. When I feel responsible, I claim my mistakes. I don’t blame anyone else for them. And I certainly don’t beat myself up for them. When I care about the way my body works. When I feel responsible, I experiment and I notice the way it feels when I don’t work out. And I notice the way it feels when I overeat and overdrink, but I also notice how it feels when I overwork or under nourish. And as a result of all of that claiming responsibility, experimenting, not blaming, not beating myself up, sticking to my plan, noticing things about my plan, making tiny micro adjustments as a result, I become a person that cares for my body and my body works well. Yes, it’s that simple. When I think I care about my body and the way it works, the result is that I take care of my body and my body works well. Can you see how choosing a thought like that? A thought like I care about my body and the way it works could carry you through a whole year of healthier living with ease yet choosing to not change the way you’re thinking, but change everything else is a total setup. It’s a total setup.
Okay. So it’s simple as that to make sure that you resolve your resolutions, you must manage your mind. You have to plan for the hurdles. You must be prepared for what you will think when your willpower and yes, your excitement run out. You have to decide what you’ll think when your brain offers you to quit. And many of you daily doers that started in 2020 are probably finding yourself right about there right now, tempted with the offerings, the many offerings from your brain to quit. You might be struggling to sustain because you’re running out of willpower. You may be sitting with Rebecca from Episode 54 from our last episode in the pit of despair where your beginner’s luck and enthusiasm have worn way off. And you are now intimidated, self-conscious full of self doubt, and you may not be paying attention to those thoughts up there. You may be avoiding them, or you may be totally overwhelmed by them, but pay attention to them because the way you’re thinking will determine whether or not you get out of that pit of despair or the Valley of despair or whatever you want to call it. So pay attention to what’s going on upstairs, upstairs, your mind, maybe running wild, like a child with a Sharpie pen, scribbling, thoughts all over the walls of your head. Like, ah, I missed a day or two or three. So it over, it’s fine. I’ll just whatever. I’ll start a new challenge next month. I might as well just be done with this one. The child with the Sharpie pen might be offering you things like small bites, just aren’t meaningful. Or this is a waste of my time. I could be doing more important things with my time, or this is hurting me. It’s actually, my body was not built for daily or, um, I’ve already learned what I was trying to learn. So what, I’m just one fourth of the way to my goal. But, um, I’m done. I think I’ve already, I think I, I think I’ve pretty much got it. When you think thoughts like these, you are very likely to take your brains offering to quit. Your brain’s default setting is to survive daily, not to create a creative work daily. It wants to conserve energy. It wants to keep you safe. It does not want you to do something unknown and uncomfortable every single day. So it will certainly offer that you quit. And what will you tell it when it does, if you really believe that small bites aren’t meaningful, if you really believe that you missed the day, so you might as well stop. If you really believe this is a waste of your time and you should be doing more important work than you will absolutely quit when your brain offers that you quit. So here is where the make your resolutions work part happens. Take the pen from that child and find a piece of paper, just dump all of the thoughts that you have about this project in yourself and your ability to do it. Just dump them onto the paper. And when you feel like you’re out, look for more, there are probably more. FULL BLOWN download, like no less than one page. Now, once you’re done read all of those thoughts back to yourself and pretend like your best friend wrote them about their goal, and they’re coming to you for guidance now respond the way that you would to your dear friend with curiosity and compassion. If, if my best friend came to me and told me that they missed one day, so they might as well give up on their goal. You better believe I would not let them out of it that easily, but I also wouldn’t insult them for it. I’d probably approach that with, Oh, of course you missed a day. You are human. You absolutely missed the day and you’ll probably miss more days down the future. But the only way you will guaranteed miss days is if you quit right here, is it possible that you could just keep going? What about the friend that thinks small bites aren’t meaningful? I would ask them, is that really true? Why do you think that? Have you ever been moved by something small that was meaningful probably now to my person that said this is hurting me, I would definitely say, I’m so sorry to hear that. How can I help? What’s going wrong instead of well, you asked for it, you totally deserve that. And you should, by the way, totally stick it out. You said you were going to keep hurting yourself. No, absolutely not. That’s not how I would talk to my best friend. Now, in this conversation with your self and your best friend self, you have found answers to questions like, is that really true? Do you really believe that? How’s that working out for you? What would you rather do about that? You’ve gotten some good answers and you’ve probably found some new thoughts to think about yourself and about your project here is the value of these new, well inspected, more developed adult with a Sharpie pen type thoughts.
These thoughts will help you keep going, or they will let you know for certain that quitting is okay, these new thoughts, this new awareness and understanding of yourself and your project might even redefine what quitting is to you in terms of this project or in terms of terms altogether. Yes. Hearing me correctly. I am not necessarily saying that you should continue your resolution or your daily creative challenge. I’m actually saying that you should address your thoughts about your project. Not ignore them. You should address them with curiosity and compassion. I’m saying that you should like your reasons for quitting, just like you should like your reasons for continuing. Yeah. Let’s play this game.
Some of my favorite reasons for continuing are. I chose this for some reason, that one makes me giggle. I look at myself in what I’m doing. And I’m like, wow, I really chose this. This was my choice. And once I start giggling and enjoying my ability to make decisions, I usually typically go all in. Even if it’s on something completely silly and absurd, I chose this. How about this one for a reason to continue, The suffering part is optional. Yes. You don’t have to suffer. How about this one? Hard work feels better at the end, then quitting feels in the middle. I know that one’s kind of confusing. I use it for myself because I know what I’m saying. I don’t know if you know what I’m saying. I’ll say it one more time. Hard work feels better at the end than quitting feels in the middle. That’s when it really keeps me going. Another one is I can quit at any time. Truly. I can literally quit anytime, but what I want the most is growth or change or to show myself what I can do or to see this challenge from the other side, fill in the blank, but I can quit anytime I want. But what I want the most is blank. Okay? Here’s another one I love. The world longs for what I have to offer. Now, guys, I know that might not be true. The world might be like, shut up Wilson, zip it. But when I believe the world longs for what I have to offer and I actually share at very least with myself, what I have to offer.
Okay, here it is my favorite. My anchor thought, which by the way, is becoming a words that move me, pop socket. As we speak, Merch alert coming soon. Here it is. “I am built for this.” When I think the thought I am built for this, you better believe I continue. Now, these thoughts might work for you. They might not. I encourage you to find your own. What are your anchor thoughts? What are the thoughts that keep your ship steady? When the skies and the seas start getting stormy, Take a second Or better yet. Take several minutes. This might be a homework assignment. Matter of fact. All right. So we’ve talked about some of my favorite reasons to continue some of my thoughts that keep me going now, let’s talk about some of my favorite reasons to quit.
In fact, probably the only reasons in my eyes to quit. Number one, this isn’t safe. I am, or others are being harmed, damaged, or otherwise threatened. And I am a person who looks after my wellbeing. Safety first. No, thank you. The end, I quit. And I liked my reason. I like being a person that protects myself and others. So if something is not safe, if I sense that I or other people are being harmed or damaged or in danger, I absolutely will quit. And I absolutely will like my reason for it. Another one is I’m not being challenged and that’s a tricky one. See, I am a person who seeks growth and learning. So I will go wherever I need to go to find it. But this one’s tricky because it is very possible to find more challenge within the project or within the job or within the place that you’re thinking of leaving very possible to find or create that challenge and that opportunity to learn without quitting, but simply by changing the terms. For example, I am absolutely still going to do every single day, but I’m only giving myself 30 minutes to do it. See what I did there. Now the third one is kind of slippery when I think I have given my absolute best to this project. I love this project and I know that this relationship is complete, then I feel totally okay. Quitting the question there is, how do you know that the relationship is complete? Well, that’s up for you to decide you the individual. And you’ll be able to tell if you’re lying to yourself or not. So when it comes to doing daily, which by the way I want to point out is no small task. Although it might be about small bites, be sure that you have a strong reason for doing it. Decide why you are beginning. Then decide how you will measure your progress. Then decide what you’ll think in the, in the moments when you want to quit and finally decide how you will know when your project is complete and do that all at the beginning, make a plan. The doing daily diary is an interactive PDF that I created. It is on my website, theDanawilson.com/shop and it is an excellent way to organize all of those thoughts. Why are you beginning? How will you measure your progress? When will, you know, you’re completed and more, I highly highly recommended. I also recommend that you go easy on yourself. You choose the terms of your challenge of your resolution, and you can choose to change them. You can decide for example, that you get one mental health screen-free day per month, and that’s just built into the plan. You can decide that you get three, you can decide that you’ll extend your end date, but give yourself weekends off. You can decide that for every day you miss you’ll go two days longer. You can decide all sorts of things. There really is a lot of flexibility. And by the way, as I talk about flexibility, are your feelings about doing daily changing? When you think about how loose this very rigid concept might actually be, are your feelings about the project changing if they are it’s because your thinking is changing. And that is the first and most essential step to changing your life. So find those anchor thoughts, decide why when you begin and remember why all throughout I began by doing daily challenge, because I wanted to become a person who ships. I wanted to change my relationship with social media. That’s why I began. Why are you beginning your daily challenge if you’re taking one on or, or why are you deciding to become a new you in the new year, then decide on what keeps you going. If your initial, why doesn’t last, the whole term of your project that you’ve got to give yourself something else. This is where I stumbled upon. I am built for this, right? I didn’t believe that thought at the beginning of my project, but I found it throughout and I still believe it now. Then of course, decide how you will know when your project is complete. Is it a number of days? Is it a thought that once you believe you will know, okay, this is, this is the end. This is my last step. It’s entirely up to you, but I do encourage that. You make a decision. How will you know you have accomplished your goal. Oh, and one more thing when you find yourself holding two very contrasting thoughts at one time, for example, I love doing daily, but I don’t have time for this, or I love doing daily, but I should probably be focusing my attention on getting a real job or another one that I hear actually, quite often, I am so proud of this thing, but it’s like totally stupid. It’s not even a big deal. It’s just stupid little thing. When you find yourself holding those two contrasting thoughts at once, pull out your Sharpie pen and paper, and probably a magnifying glass so that you can look really, really closely at what is going on upstairs, dump all of your thoughts and be your own friend. You’ll likely find that you are forcing yourself into one or another of those two thoughts when you don’t actually believe either of them, you might actually find a third option, a thing that you actually believe, and you don’t have to believe either of the other two.
All right, my friends, that is what I have for you today. And invitation to manage your mind, the key to keeping your resolutions and a friendly reminder that both continuing and quitting are both much more enjoyable when you like your reasons. And speaking of liking stuff, segue, here come wins. I am celebrating a big one. Um, Oh man, I can’t even remember how long ago it was now. November question Mark. Uh, back in November of 2020, I got to work with one of my favorite humans, Liza Koshy on a commercial for her new collaboration with Fabletics. This project presented such a delicious challenge. The project was really unique. A because Liza is unique and she is a star and she’s just simply the greatest, but B. because the direction of the spot was to feature dancers, dancing backwards, but also played backwards. In other words, the video is moving in, reverse.
The dancers are dancing in reverse. So yes, if you understand double negatives, the dancing looks like it’s moving forward, but the world around the dancers is moving backwards. You guys mind bender? I’m celebrating that project, even though it happened a while back because it is finally out there in the world for all to see I’ll absolutely be linking to it in the show notes. I’m super proud of the research and development process. I’m really proud of the team, the new friends that I made along the way, super shout out to Kent Boyd Malia Baker. Um, Avery Zerr dropped in on a session of backward dance. I got backwards dance down with so many of my friends. Thank you all for the, for the fun and assistance in the R and D process. Huge shout out to Liza for being such a trooper. Not only learning choreography, but learning to dance it backwards while speaking backwards. Okay. So go ahead. Have fun with that. Um, and big, big love to my four dancers. I had a tremendous time working with all four of you. Amari Marshall, your incredible Jaden Barba you are a Ray of sunshine, Alyson Van. After how many years are our paths crossing again. So special and Miki Michelle, you are a gem. Thank you all. And of course the Fabletics team for being a bright spot in my 2020, granted that bar was set pretty low, but still I am celebrating that gig as a win. And so glad to see this project out there in the world. Oh, NPS, the product is awesome. And I’m not a person that wears a lot of leggings, but I would wear these leggings. All right. That is my, when everybody now it’s your turn. What is going well, Hit me.
Amazing. Congratulations. I’m so glad that you’re winning. Please do keep it up. Keep that chin up. Keep on pushing. Keep on swimming. Keep on keeping on speaking of keeping on man. Oh, the segues are a gift today. Upcoming episodes are big, really big. We’re going to be taking deep dive on commitment, which is important. Now that you have this episode as a launch pad and I have some very, very special guests lined up. So if you aren’t already please subscribe. You do not want to miss a single episode of season two. And speaking of missing things, if you are listening to this on the day of its release, you have two days to pre-register for the words that move me community membership, which officially launches on February 1st, but you can register to be a part of the community membership at any time. Um, however, if you register before January 15th, you get a free words that move me shoe bag to keep your funky things in a funky place. And you get an invite to our virtual mixer. And if you invest in the whole year up front, you get a free 45 minute one-on-one with me. So go, go, go, go visit theDanawilson.com/workwithme and click words that move me community to learn more and join. All right, theDanawilson.com/workwithme Words that move me community subscribe 45 minute one on one shoe bag. I think we’ve covered it. All right, everyone go on out there into the world. Think solid thoughts. Get your solid footing. You’ve got this. I’ve got you. Let’s go Keep it funky. Yeah, I’ll stick to that.