Next year I will… all New Year’s resolutions start with lofty goals of all the things you want to achieve and when January comes around you start off strong but by February those resolutions have been stored away like last year’s Christmas decorations. It leads to the question why. It’s not that you don’t want to make these changes or consider them important it’s just that as you ease into this new year you become busy and get discouraged that you can change. So how do you get around this?
Evaluate your resolutions before you begin and set realistic goals – The best way to fail at your resolutions involve setting goals that are unrealistic and unachievable. Yes, we are our harshest critics but now is the time to be fair to ourselves and this involves being reasonable with your expectations of yourself. If you want to achieve your resolutions you need to evaluate whether they are even achievable (e.g. cooking more at home – achievable, being the next Beyonce in 3 months when you can’t sing – unachievable), then setting realistic expectations for the resolutions you’ve kept. Now everyone’s definition of reasonable is different but┬áin this case, you need to take into account your starting point and the tools you have at your disposal when giving yourself a timeframe to achieve your resolution.
If you fail to plan then plan to fail is probably the truest quote in the world when it comes to sticking to your plans. Before you can achieve whatever it is you want to do you need to make a plan and that plan includes creating to-do lists and carving out a chunk of time each week to set towards your goal. Finding time is often the hardest part of sticking to your plans but if you cut back on other activities or multi-task where you can then you can always add a little time to your week.
Set weekly or monthly resolutions
Break up your really big resolutions into smaller, more manageable mini-resolutions. Not only will this make it easier to achieve but it’s easier to track how your progress is going and easier to recover from setbacks. So instead of saying you want to lose 60 pounds next year or save $10,000, try saying you want to lose 5-6 pounds a month or save $900 a month, these mini goals are easier to achieve than a huge, more daunting goal.
Don’t be discouraged/ Allow wiggle room for setbacks
People often say the first month or two is the hardest and while it’s true that it takes 21 days to form a habit and things do get easier as you see the progress, it is possible to have setbacks in the middle or near the end of your plan. Accept that setbacks do happen, so leave room for them in your plan, make adjustments where needed and don’t let a setback stop you. Keep pushing forward and you’ll be further than you were when you started.
Use a buddy system
While some people are private, finding a shared community who is working towards achieving a similar goal as yours can be amazing for your sense of perseverance. These people will act as your cheerleaders, motivational coaches, therapists and accountability partners as you work towards your dreams and best of all you will get to do the same for them.
Set milestones for your journey and as you beat them, celebrate that success. It can be small like giving yourself a day off or big like a mini vacation but celebrate your wins and remember progress, however small, shows that you’ve reached further than you did when you started.
These steps aren’t going to guarantee you’ll see your resolutions through but they will help you get further along the pathway to change.
Happy a happy and enjoyable┬ánew year!