We’re officially into the New Year…
How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?
I read a statistic that says 64% of New Year’s Resolutions will be abandoned by the end of January and I can say from experience that’s probably a pretty true stat.
In the past few years, I’ve been trying to shift my focus from unrealistic resolutions to sustainable goals and intentions for the year to come.
Forbes published an article sharing 6 ways to shift that statistic and making long-lasting changes, rather than failed resolutions.
You can’t set realistic goals without values. Values are our guideposts. They determine what’s most important in our lives and we tend to spend the majority of our time serving them. Values are not “shoulds.” A “should” is something that usually comes from societal pressure — like“I shouldn’t drink more than one glass of wine.” Often these “shoulds” become our goals, not because they’re important to us, but because we create a belief around them (e.g., doing this will make me a better person, or healthier, or liked). But if these behaviors were important, why haven’t we already started to work toward them? Values are neither good nor bad — they just are. And if you’re true to yours, you’ll likely see that you’re already behaving in a way that’s aligned with your true goals.
So, if you truly value the health and well-being of your family. If you value sleep and understand it’s a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. Then, adding sleep training with Tranquil Beginnings to your 2023 goal list will likely be successful. It will work for anyone, but believing in it because you value sleep is key. Not because your best friend thinks you should.
Most goals are not a destination, but a journey of behaviors. Even if you have a measurable goal (which is highly encouraged), sometimes external circumstances influence your ability to meet it. This doesn’t mean that you haven’t made progress. For example, if your resolution is to have your child sleeping through the night by the end of January, but your kiddo catches the flu the first week back at daycare after the holidays, your plans may get delayed. But not because you haven’t been doing your part of learning about sleep, preparing for sleep training, and hiring a great coach! Your efforts aren’t wasted because an unexpected hurdle pops up. Stay the course and if January comes and goes with no more sleep, your dedication and preparation will pay off soon. Also, once you attain your goal, you can’t abandon the behavior change or you may be back to square one. Just ask anyone who has sleep trained their child only to end back in the depths of sleep deprivation after reverting to old ways of eating.
Don’t fall for the easy answer. We’ve been a little deceived - behaviors don’t become automatic habits if we do them consistently for 21 days (but boy would that be awesome!). Replacing one habit with another may work, but it depends highly on the behavior, and just because a goal is SMART, doesn’t mean it’s infallible. The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and sometimes we so readily buy into the technique (or App!), that we’re hard on ourselves when it doesn’t end up being foolproof. Behavior change takes planning, commitment, and usually sacrifice. Pulling your baby into bed for the rest of the night at 3am may be a great way to catch a few more zzzz’s in the short term, but it also may mean many more months, if not years, of you and your child BOTH not getting the sleep you need to be healthy and happy. It sounds easy on paper, but may not work in reality. So when setting a goal, play it out to see what else it impacts and if the ripple effects are sustainable. Otherwise, you may be back to square one, happy with not rocking your baby for 2 hours each night to get them back into their crib, but still stressing about your baby (and you!) not sleeping through the night.
Your environment plays a bigger role than you think. Those around us don’t want us to change because that means that their world also changes. This can be tough if you’ve decided to sleep train your baby, but your husband says it is too expensive or your mother-in-law who watches your baby 3 days/week isn’t on board. Or if you’d like to be home to have dinner with your family before your child’s ideal bedtime, but your colleagues continuously schedule late meetings. Since it’s not always possible to switch to a new environment, if you have a goal that’s in direct conflict with your surroundings, you may need to make extra sacrifices to make it work, or potentially modify your goal. For example, maybe you can help your husband understand more clearly how sleep deprivation is affecting you and your baby by asking him to be “on duty” for a week (because let’s be real, in the vast majority of homes, mom’s take the brunt of the nighttime wakings).Maybe you can arrange to start your sleep plan over a long weekend, so you can get your child started and improve sleep a good bit before they return back to grandma’s house. Or perhaps you compromise to be open to late meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not the other evenings to maximize your time with your child before they go to bed? This can be a tough hurdle, but once you understand the influence your environment has on fulfilling your goals, you’ll be in a better position to develop a creative solution.
This isn’t the time to think big. This may sound odd as we’re used to being told to create BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals), but often this is exactly what backfires. Attempting to make too many big changes simultaneously or in too many areas of our lives (e.g., work, relationships, health, etc.) usually is a recipe for failure. Instead, why not prioritize one goal at a time? Get your child’s sleep on track, AND THEN focus on potty training. Or get teach your child to sleep well AND THEN start working on making it to the gym 3 days/week. I talk with my clients about this all the time. Sleep training is a big goal in and of itself and we want to make the process as easy on you and your child as possible. So don’t overbook yourself while you’re changing sleep habits. Plus, I promise you…..all those other goals will be SO MUCH easier to accomplish once your whole family is getting the sleep they need to thrive.
We measure the wrong things. Are you really content if your 9 month old is sleeping 6 hours straight instead of 3 or are you just anxious about pulling their middle of the night nursing sessions? Is investing in a SNOO for the the next 4 months of your baby’s life going to bring about the happiness you want or is that an easier goal than confronting your fear of change or the unknown of sleep training? These are tough questions that most of us would rather not face. But the fact is, we make thousands of choices each day (over 30,000 actually), and most of these choices are in service to a primary human goal - to increase joy and reduce pain. But is that new gadget, ahem the SNOO really the answer? Will feeding your baby back to sleep because they get back to sleep quicker than if you don’t really make you both happier? For each of us the answer is different. As for me, I’d love to say I’ve moved my body with exercise or yoga every morning before my kids get up, but have zero desire to get out of my warm cozy bed any earlier than I have to (and that’s even with having kids who sleep until 7am, ha!) That probably explains why it’s been on my resolution list more than once without being completed.
If this list resonates with you and solidifies your goal of getting your child to sleep better this year, please reach out. Schedule a complimentary sleep evaluation call with me. It’s 20-30 minutes on Zoom, free, and no obligation to book a service with me. But, we’ll dig into what’s going on for your child’s sleep, I’ll share with you how I help families like yours, and answer all your questions about the process….so that you can be sure that sleeping through the night is not one of those 64% of abandoned resolutions by the end of January.
Schedule your call today!