Thinking of setting New Years Resolutions? Most people I meet these days can’t be bothered.
But for those of us who get irritated with ourselves, and just can’t wait for that fresh start on January 1st – we set intentions with HIGH hopes.
If you’re like me, we start out with great intentions, big dreams, lots of enthusiasm and energy…..but then it’s hard to keep that energy up, and eventually things kind of fizzle out, we stop caring and life just carries on as normal, and by the time we get to April, we’re saying things to each other like; “I can’t believe it’s Easter already! Where’s this year going? Wow this year is flying by!”
Or is that just me?
This year my husband and I set two New Years Resolutions, which was weird, we usually don’t bother with them – because of what I already told you about how I’m not that good at keeping them! The past has shown me, it’s just not worth it.
Anyway, our resolutions were simple this year; 1. Quit coffee for a year. 2. Quit alcohol for a year.
Oh, and no decaf either ….. I know.
According to a few comments I got, this year I was going to be “no fun at all”. It’s been a super interesting experiment – on so many levels. People ask me all the time “Why would you do that?” And I guess the main reason is; because we wanted to, we wanted to see what it would be like to not have those 2 things in our life.
On a side note – I often have people tell me “I quit alcohol and / or coffee, I felt amazing, I lost weight, saved money, had so much more energy, I slept better, I exercised more……but then I just started the habit again”, I’m always fascinated by humans. Why do we do stuff that makes us feel worse?
The reason we decided to do both coffee and alcohol was because I said alcohol would be hard to quit – but coffee would be easy, and my husband said alcohol would be easy – but coffee would be much harder, so we decided to quit both – it seemed fair.
So this year I’ve gone from a woman who LOVES wine, looks forward to a glass of bubbles with her girlfriends, and can’t wait till Friday’s come / or it’s hot / or I’m cooking / or a friend pops in / or book club – so I can open a bottle and hang out – to a woman who doesn’t drink a drop. I wasn’t a big drinker (2 glasses in a sitting was my max), and I’m not into clubbing. But, I would never say no to a glass of wine or gin, I felt like it was a special treat. I looked forward to it the way my kids look forward to ice cream.
When I first stopped drinking – I hated it. I wished I had a glass in my hand when everyone else did, and I definitely felt like I was missing out. I missed the feeling of being a fancy adult, I missed the taste, I missed the feeling of sharing a treat with my husband or friends, I missed the feeling of being part of the group that wine created, and I missed the relaxing feeling that I thought wine gave me. But as time went on, I noticed how much better I felt not drinking, emotionally and physically. The way I thought about not drinking changed, from; “I’m missing out if I don’t have a drink”, to; “I prefer not drinking”.
We didn’t mean to set these resolutions for ourselves, one day during the holidays, we just started talking about what it would be like to not have coffee and alcohol in our lives, and got curious about what that experience would mean for us.
We did it on a bit of a whim really.
But I think it stuck for a few reasons……
- We were in it together so I felt like I wasn’t alone
- I knew my husband would never quit or cheat – so I didn’t want to be a quitter or cheater either
- We told all our friends and family – so there was another accountability factor
- Also coffee and Alcohol are pretty clear cut things, you either drink it or you don’t – sugar is in so many things that it takes more mental effort,
Should we set more reso’s in the future?
This year has totally shown us what’s possible, it’s given me a feeling of inner strength and to be honest I feel so much better not drinking, even when everyone else is – something I never would have imagined to be true, it got me wondering, what else might I be opened up to if I dramatically changed something about the way I live. Who might I become?
Now I know some of you women out there might be thinking oh I stopped both those things for 9 months while I was pregnant – or maybe even longer if you did it throughout your breastfeeding days…..?
And let me say a little something about that.
When I quit coffee and alcohol during pregnancy – I resented it. I longed for those things all the time. I was pissed off when I didn’t get to enjoy a glass of champagne on New Years. I couldn’t wait to be back on my fix. I was on a count down. I kept telling myself “not long now”
And I think that mindset of “I’m missing out” made me grouchy and frustrated. I didn’t see myself as a making a choice. I saw that my husbands life hadn’t changed, and already I was being asked to sacrifice things I loved. I hated it.
The reason this year worked so well, was because I entered the year with the perspective of curiosity….. “I wonder what a year without alcohol and coffee would feel like, I wonder how my mental health will be affected, I wonder what our bank balance will look like, I wonder how I’ll act without those things in my life, I wonder how it will affect my menstrual cycle, hormonal health and over all health….”
It was an experiment – not something I was forcing myself to do.
I think when we try to force ourselves into things – even if it’s for our own good – there can be a feeling of resistance, or irritation, which can lead us to want to rebel or act out. Like a teenager who’s told “you can’t go” and ends up stomping her foot, and climbing out her window!
This experiment has totally changed my perspective of New Years reso’s and the way I’d make them in the future……
Rather than saying something like,
This year I……
- won’t eat cake
- will exercise 3 times a week
- won’t yell at my kids
- will be more organised
I’d change it to something more like,
I wonder what it would be like …….
- to say no to cake this year
- to exercise 3 times a week
- if I didn’t yell at my kids
- if I organised my week ahead, on a Sunday night
Honestly,I’d highly recommend doing and experiment like this to other people because if you do nothing new, if you don’t change the way you think, or act, you’re pretty much going to be reliving the years you’ve already lived.
Sure you might get a new car, or go somewhere different on holiday. You might get a new job, or move house. But the you, that shows up to those experiences will be the same you you were this year.
There’s nothing wrong with that you. My guess is you’re pretty awesome as it is, but doing something that’s different in your day to day life, changing your habits, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions and the perception you have of yourself, how you see yourself and interact with the world – that’ll change you, grow you, open you up to new opportunities, ideas, experiences, and relationships.
You’ll be richer for it.
You’ll thank yourself for it.
And if nothing else you’ll have some good stories to tell about the year you ……….
So what would challenge you? What experiment would you like to run in 2019? What would you like to create? What would you really like to change?
This year I’ve decided to facilitate a Facebook page for anyone who wants to run an experiment in their life, committing to doing or not doing something, because it’s so much easier when we have a partner in crime, and feel accountable to something or someone else.
hmmmmmm what will this year be about?
🌺This year Kate will be working with a limited number of clients, if you’d like to meet Kate, and experience her coaching – get in touch with her, as she offers a free session to all women who are interested in, or considering coaching.
To get in touch with Kate- email: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website: www.kateapanui.com
🌺Facebook group – What would it be like if…….?
This is a closed group – though anyone is welcome to join.