A new year, a new you, right? It seems like we always start the year off with this mindset, but somewhere along the way, we lose sight of our goals and life gets in the way. As it turns out, setting New Year's resolutions is both an art and a science. Here are some tips to help you set – and stick – to your resolutions.
Set Specific Goals
Resolutions are, essentially, goals. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you make them specific and clear.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What resources do you need to achieve your goal?
- Why is your goal important?
For example, you shouldn't be setting new year's resolutions just to lose weight. Set a resolution to lose a specific amount of weight. Write down why you want to do it, and what resources you may need to get there (diet, gym membership, etc.)
When you’re specific about your goals, you’re setting an intention, and that intention can help you stay on the right track.
Put a Timer On It
Resolutions should be specific, but they should also have an expiration date. It’s not enough to set a resolution. You have to put yourself on a deadline. Otherwise, you may procrastinate and take your sweet time trying to reach that goal.
Do you want to accomplish your goal in six months? A year? Putting a timer on your resolutions will help you create an actionable plan to reach the finish line in a timely manner.
When setting a deadline, be realistic. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, don’t set your deadline for one month. To achieve healthy weight loss, you should aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Even at a rate of 2 pounds per week, it will take you 10 weeks (2.5 months) to lose 20 pounds.
No matter your resolution, make sure that you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach your goal.
Create a Plan of Action
Once you have specific resolutions with deadlines, you can start creating a plan of action to reach your goals.
If you have a big goal, try breaking it down into smaller steps that are easier to manage. For example, let’s say that you set a resolution to land a new job. You can break that bigger goal down into smaller steps:
- Create a resume
- Search for relevant jobs in your desired field
- Apply for a position
- Prepare for your interview
- Determine whether you want to accept a job offer
Any goal can be broken down into smaller, actionable steps. Ticking off the checkboxes next to these steps can help you gain momentum and motivation to keep going.
Once your smaller steps are complete, you’ll have achieved your bigger goal.
Look for Support
Goal setting and achievement are often portrayed as a lonely journey, but you don’t have to do it all on your own. In fact, it’s important and beneficial to seek out support from friends and loved ones.
The people that you love can hold you accountable and provide support when you need it. Whether it’s a reminder to hit the gym, help to get to a job interview, or a reminder that you need to take time for yourself, your support network can play a huge role in your success. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Push the Wheelbarrow
“Pushing the wheelbarrow is easy, thinking about it is the hard part” - Ajahn Brahm.
When you look for tips on how to stick to New Year’s resolutions, you’ll find many people talking about motivation.
- Find ways to stay motivated
- Surround yourself with reminders of why you’re doing what you’re doing
Motivation can absolutely be beneficial and make it easier to stick to your resolutions. However, discipline trumps motivation every time. Some days, you won’t feel like getting out of bed let alone doing what it takes to reach your goals. Discipline can keep you going on those days.
If you have a goal to exercise three times per week, do it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re tired or had a bad day. Push through.
Discipline requires commitment on your part, and it’s easier than you think if you can keep your emotions out of it. This is where those actionable steps can be really beneficial because you can treat them as another task to complete.
Have the Right Intentions and Mindset
You can go through the whole process of setting specific goals, setting deadlines, and creating plans, but if you never follow through, you’ll never reach your goals. That’s why it’s so important to approach your resolution setting with the right intention and mindset.
Are you serious about this resolution? Do you really want to accomplish it?
If you don’t believe in yourself or your ability to achieve your goals, you never will. You’re more capable than you think and can achieve whatever you set your mind to, but only if you have faith in yourself. Try incorporating positive affirmations to help you keep a positive mindset while working towards your goals.
The Moral of the Story
Set New Year’s resolutions with intention and a positive mindset. Be specific about what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it, and how. If you can keep your emotions at bay and practice discipline, you can stick to your resolutions with ease. You've got this!