January 1st of a new year feels FRESH, especially this one. 2020 has been a wild ride, so January 1st, 2021 seems like a relief to start on page 1 of a 365 page book. Resolutions are very common, but the statistics surrounding them are very alarming. Research shows that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by March and 92% by December. That doesn’t exactly give us much room for optimism. HOWEVER, these tips will change all of that! If you have done a year-end review/reflection of your life and feel that you’d like to make a change, here are some tips to be more successful.
#1: Be more specific. When your resolution/goal is more specific, it isn’t as easy to give up and walk away from. Don’t make your resolution too vague. For example, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to exercise more.” Those are not specific enough. Simply ask yourself more in-depth questions. How much weight do I want to lose? What does exercising “more” actually look like for me? Another version the resolutions previously provided would be “I want to lose 15 pounds” or “I want to run a half marathon.”
#2: Make it measurable. Having a timeline on your goal is extremely important. Example: “I want to run the Chicago Half Marathon scheduled on June 15th.” From there, you are able to track your progress and stay motivated. Monitoring progress will help you meet your deadline, stay focused, and look forward to you achieving your goal/resolution.
#3: Make it achievable. Be realistic to what is achievable or not. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Instead, break the resolution down into bite size pieces. Small steps, lead to success. If you want to run the Chicago Half Marathon on June 15th, but can barely run 2 miles that hardly seems achievable. But, if break it into smaller steps first, that makes it more achievable. For example: instead of trying to run a half marathon right off the bat, you would start off by jogging for 2-3x per week for 20 minutes. Over time, you are able to increase the amount of days and/or increase the length of your runs until you work your way up to your goal/resolution. It may potentially feel like a slow start, but the smaller steps help you stick to your new habits and increase the chances of long-term change.
Tip: Ask yourself questions like: What do I need to do this week? This month? The next several months?
#4: Focus on 1 goal at a time (max. 2) It’s easy to think of all the things you want to change in your life, but spreading yourself too thin is not the way to do it. A great way to avoid this is to focus on one goal at a time. As previously mentioned, you can break down larger goals into numerous bite sized chunks for you to work on one at a time. These chunks should be worthwhile, yet small enough to feel attainable. Achieving the smaller goals will boost your self-confidence and belief in yourself.
Reminder: Celebrate EVERY victory along the way, no matter how small they may feel. This will boost your confidence and belief in yourself, helping you continuing your resolution.
#5: Have accountability in your life. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to wave a magic want and get the big changes/important goals we want. Action is required to achieve what we want, despite how tough it may get. The bigger the goal, the more beneficial to have outside support help you stay accountable. Someone who believes in you and what you want to achieve. This person can help you evaluate your approach, provide additional support, react to challenges differently, and recognize when you’re sabotaging your own growth.
Tip: An ideal accountability partner would be a health/life coach, a like-minded individual, or even a support group! Avoid people who put you down and who don’t help you connect with your highest version of yourself and your abilities.
Reminder: Sustained change/action often is extremely difficult because it pulls us out of our comfort zone and our pre-existing habits.
#6: Change what YOU want to change only. The change needs to also be initiated/maintained by YOU and not rely on someone else to change either. Change because you want to change, not because you feel like you should change. Now say it louder for people in the back! You must be making this change for YOURSELF because YOU want it. Not for outside societal pressures, spouse/friend influence, family expectations, etc. You cannot let yourself be inspired by what you think other people expect of you. Example: “I want to lose 10 pounds for my physical health and well-being” NOT “I should lose 10 pounds, so I can find love.” Set goals that are for you and unique for you.
#7: Stated in the positive. Try framing your goal in positive language instead of negative. BE YOUR OWN HYPE WOMAN! Yassss, talk to yourself like the queen you are! The way we talk to ourselves directly impacts our behaviours and actions. Meaning, when we are constantly focused on what we don’t want, our actions will generally reflect those thoughts. Luckily, it works both ways. So, when we reframe our brains to consistently to think about what we do want instead, our actions will mirror those wants. Long-lasting change will most likely occur when it’s self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking. Example: Turn “don’t be lazy” into “move your body, you love how it makes you feel afterwards” OR “don’t eat junk” into “eat a some fruit with greek yogurt for a sweet treat.”
#8: Make a detailed plan. Don’t wait until the last minute to choose your goal/resolution. This decision should not be rushed as it needs to be well thought out and planned before attempting. Having a set plan makes it an easy journey, especially when you run into speed bumps or obstacles. This step is of the utmost importance, so I made this tip into its own post (HOW to make a detailed plan). By March, the initial excitement and motivation is typically worn off. If your approach isn’t working, there’s no shame in going back to the drawing board and reevaluating your strategies. Not everything goes as planned, so maybe revising your end resolution/goal is still an option! Whatever you need to do to be successful should be welcomed.
#9: Remember that change is a process, so be kind to yourself. Although the habits that you’re looking to change may be destructive or unhelpful, they may have taken a long time to develop. Not only does that make them harder to change, but you will need to be more patient with yourself throughout the process. Never forget that it is a work in progress and even if you have a few hiccups along the way, you have not failed if something doesn’t work out. You can always shake it off and restart or adjust your strategy that may end up working. Reminder: The end result is NOT all that matters, but it is also about the journey getting there. Be proud of yourself for wanting more and try to enjoy the ride along the way. Keep your head up, you are a rockstar!
#10: Learn and Adapt if you relapse into a bad habit. Having an expectation to be perfect is not realistic. If you fall back into old behaviours/habits, you did not fail. Change/growth is NOT linear and there is not just one way to get there. If you find yourself in that situation, revaluate your strategy and approach to find a different solution to try. Absolutely nothing great in life is accomplished without obstacles/challenges. Tip: Consider having a resolution/goal journal. If you fall back into an old pattern, jot down any ideas of any reasons or triggers that may have caused it. The more you discover about the reasons why you do what you do, the easier it will be to equip yourself with the tools to deal with challenges/obstacles in the future.
FREE Printable Resources:
1. Monthly Habit Tracker Worksheet
3. Your Strategic Future Worksheet