It's the classic thing is it? Set yourself some brilliant resolutions, then get to the second week of January and find yourself falling back into old habits.
Often we set New Year's resolutions based on what is trending at the time - meditate daily? Practice mindfulness? Go gluten-free?
First off, let's start by saying that you by no means have to set a New Year's resolution. I know many people who feel that either there is too much pressure around the New Year, or that they don't need an arbitrary time of year to set themselves goals.
I completely agree that you do not need to wait for New Years or feel panicked because it's New Years and everyone else is setting goals.
These tips can be used at any time of year, with any goals or resolutions!
1. Big Enough Reason Why
This year, take some time to think about what you really want. Goals work best when they are personal to us, and when our reason why is big enough.
If you are coming up lots of with excuses, then perhaps your reason why is not big enough.
It is also okay to change your goal half way through the year, or even after a few days. Things in life change and you shouldn't beat yourself up if your goals change too.
2. Concrete and Measurable
When setting a goal, it is important to make it as specific as possible. Rather than setting yourself the goal of 'working out more', set yourself the goal of 'going to the gym twice a week' or 'running 10 k each week'. This gives you a specific goal to work towards each week.
For a goal to be effective, you need to have a measurable amount ('twice a week' or '10 k' in the above examples), and a time frame ('per week' in the examples above).
3. Change your Routine
Give yourself a helping hand by changing your routine or your environment to accommodate new habits.
If your New Year's Resolution is to walk more, put your walking boots near the front door, not in the back of the cupboard. If your resolution is to read more, set yourself up with a lamp and a bookshelf near your bed or favourite sofa.
4. Choose positively
In choosing goals and resolutions that you are more likely to uphold, it is important that you chose goals that are positive rather than negative.
Think of adding things into your routine rather than taking things away. For example, rather than 'losing weight', try setting yourself a goal of 'drinking a green smoothie everyday'. Instead of spending less time on your phone' try 'reading for half an hour every day'.
5. Break it down
Break your goal down into manageable steps, and set yourself reasonable deadlines. Rather than terrifying yourself with a massive goal, set yourself mini goals that are more achievable.
If your goal is to 'be able to run a marathon', set yourself smaller goals such as 'running a 5k once a week' for the first two months, then perhaps bump it up to 8k each week for a few months, then up to 10k, and so on.
If your goal is slightly more abstract, such as 'to live more intentionally', perhaps break it down into a few habits such as 'reading every day', 'meditating everyday', 'walking to work', and so on.
6. Shout about it!
Okay, so maybe don't shout about it, but do tell someone what your goals are. Sometimes we fear telling others because we don't want to look silly if we fail, or worse still, we worry that they will convince us that we can't do it.
These are legitimate reasons to keep your goals to yourself. However, we often cannot rely on our willpower alone to reach our goals, and sometimes we need to be held accountable.
Choose one or two trusted people to hold you accountable. Perhaps its your partner, a parent, a friend, or a colleague.
Knowing that someone is rooting for us can keep us going!
7. Document your Success
Keep a record of your journey! Document your successes and look back through your journey often!
Looking back at how far we have come can spur us on to even bigger changes in the future.
When documenting your journey, focus on how your new habits or behaviours have positively impacted your life, your health, your productivity, and so on.
If you have setbacks, don't quit. Reflect on why the setback might have occurred, what was happening that caused the setback, who were you with, what mood were you in?
If you understand why the setback has happened, you can learn how to proceed stronger!
As always, if you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please email me at email@example.com
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