So it’s that time of year again. We reflect on the year that is about to pass. What did we accomplish? Better yet, what goals did we have going into the year that we didn’t accomplish? I want to lose 10 pounds. I want to go to church more. I want to be a better person. Have I done any of this?
We recite the familiar vow – I will do better next year. Next year will be different for sure! We make the whole list of resolutions again. Some old ones we’re yet to keep and some new ones we would like to keep. But how can we put an end to the pattern of making New Year’s resolutions but never following through?
Tip #1 – Make your goals something you really want
- Remember: it’s not about what other people tell you you should change or what you feel you should change based on society’s views. It’s about you! Your own goals, dreams and desires for our life.
Tip #2 – Limit your list to a number you can handle
- Make 2 or 3 meaningful resolutions instead of 9 or10 “cheap” ones. This helps you focus on what you really want to achieve in the coming year. More focus = greater likelihood of success.
Tip #3 – Be specific
- Many times, the worst thing about resolutions is that they are far too general. If your resolution is to lose weight, don’t just leave it at that. Set a specific target, then break down that target into smaller, more manageable bits. For example, if you are trying to lose 50 pounds in the upcoming year, that’s approximately 4 pounds per month. This specificity is key to accomplishing your resolutions.
Tip #4 – Start Small
- This is very important. If we continue with our weight loss example (let’s face it, it’s the most commonly made resolution) we may choose to say “I wanna excercise everyday”. But really and truly, there’s no harm in starting small. For example try 3 days to start and maybe gradually move to seven. Whatever the resolution, start small and ease yourself into it. “Go big or go home” doesn’t apply to every situation.
Tip #5 – Be realistic
- Make sure your goal is actually attainable before you decide to pursue it…
Tip #6 – Check In
- When January 1st rolls around and we make those resolutions, by March we generally forget what they are due to many factors. So, what you can do is take a few days at specific intervals throughout the year and reassess your progress. How close are you to achieving your aims? What can you do in the coming months to work towards your goals?
Tip #7 – Do not give into failure/Don’t beat yourself up
- Failure is inevitable. When striving towards a goal, no matter the type you may fall at some point along the way. However, it is crucial that this just be a blip and not a complete obstacle that causes you to come to a halt in the pursuit of your goals. The important thing is to learn from each blip and make sure you keep going. Also, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone has various ups and downs and what is important is how you handle them. Sometimes, slipping is part of the process. Take it one day at a time.
Tip #8 – Measure/Track your progress
- Another natural occurrence when trying to accomplish a resolution is that we tend to remember where we fell short and not where we succeeded. Make a note of each success no matter how small it seems. This will keep your motivation levels up and keep that drive to accomplish the resolution high.
Tip #9 – Change one behaviour at a time
- It is much easier to learn a habit than to lose one. Because of this, it is important that if your resolution is to break a cycle of something (maybe the constant cycle of failed resolutions) change one behaviour at a time that contributes to the pattern you wish to break.
Tip #10 – Talk about it/Ask for Support
- Have a support buddy – someone you can turn to when you want to discuss your goal and someone who can give you a kick up the backside when you need it the most. Having someone to not only discuss the struggles with but to celebrate those moments of success and breakthrough can make all the difference. If you and the support buddy share the same resolution(s), that is even better.
Tip #11 – Make a plan
- Stop waiting until Ole Years to Make Resolutions. Make a plan before December 31st. When you make this plan, outline all that you will need to do to fight off any obstacles and temptations that may arise during the pursuit of your specific goal. Also, figure out exactly what you want and the steps you want to take to achieve it.
Tip #12 – Reward yourself
- Reward those moments of success you achieve (as long as your reward doesn’t conflict with the very resolution you are trying to accomplish!).
Tip #13 – Stick to it/Keep Trying
- According to the experts, it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and 6 months for it to become part of your personality. This proves that progress and change is not an overnight sensation. Be patient because it will take time. Keep re-committing to your goals and resolutions.
Tip #14 – Be prepared to change some habits
- This is another major reason that we fail at keeping resolutions. We say we want to change but is that what we really want? Generally, we tend not to change those habits that reinforce what we desire to change. Sometimes, you may need to sacrifice that extra hour of down time and do something that takes you closer to your goal.
Tip #15 – Write down the resolution and visualize it frequently
- Write down your resolutions and keep them in a place where you are sure to see them constantly. This serves as a constant reminder of your resolutions and it keeps them fresh in your mind. Doing this makes it harder to lose track of the resolutions.