Resolution frustration is a thing. Let me explain: almost through January and it’s likely you will fit into one of three groups:
1. Feeling happy that you are on target with your resolutions;
2. Feeling frustrated at the lack of progress (that’s resolution frustration right there);
3. You never made any resolutions, perhaps because of the frustration of previous failures.
Fair enough, but what if you really want to change something in your life and you can’t?
The Definition of Insanity?
It was Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and wanting a different result.
If you are struggling, it is likely because you are still making the same choices and doing the same habits as you were before. That doesn’t help you create change.
You may have some great excuses: it wasn’t the right time; life got in the way; you changed your mind; etc. Changing your mind is usually code for ‘it was too difficult’. Perhaps this is a sign that you have prioritised ease over progress. But excuses keep you stuck. You might blame others for making it difficult for you. But blame keeps you stuck too.
It takes work to make changes and it takes focus too. But through this effort you can achieve results and in time it will become easy and there is little that is more enjoyable than a sense of achievement.
There is a way to get unstuck, and that is to take responsibility. And response-ability. The ability to choose your response in any given situation. No matter whether external factors can be blamed. Because you can control you. You can’t control external factors though you may be able to influence them. But you can only control you. It’s an inconvenient truth. It is so much more comfortable to blame others, be the innocent party in all of this. But we usually have some contribution to whatever problem we face and not taking responsibility and being response-able simply keeps you stuck.
A Poem on How to Avoid Resolution Frustration
This is beautifully illustrated in the following poem, An Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson, reflecting on our habits, responsibility and habit of laying blame:
This poem is such a beautiful and simple reflection of how we can behave in the world. We repeat the same mistakes without looking at what we can do about them because it seems easier to lay blame elsewhere. Taking responsility can feel hard, even if we know something isn’t entirely our fault or our responsibiity. But blame is a damaging habit because it robs us of learning and growth which is such an important aspect of living a fulfilled and happy life. It makes us a victim. But once we see that we don’t have to be the victim of circumstance, we have more choice and change is possible. It helps to focus on progress, not perfection.
If you want more help with your resolutions, you might find this article helpful.
In the meantime, remember that in every decision you make you are moving towards or away from your goals and the life you want to live, or the person you want to be. To make the most of this insight, make sure you respond to a situation with behaviours which will get you there. Your old habit was to give in to the moment reactively but this will find yourself in the same place next January, wondering where the year went and suffering from resolution frustration once more.
If, after using these principles, you are still stuck, you may have secondary gains happening: the benefits to the unwanted behaviour that are unconscious. If you think this may be true for you, having expert help can shift it for you. Please contact me 0345 130 0854 if you feel this is right for you.
© Tricia Woolfrey 2020