At this time of year, that is, the end of each year, everyone is feels like they have to start things a fresh, even if they know it’s unlikely they will succeed at this ‘change task’.
Then, there follows the feeling of guilt about making a promise to yourself that you’ve not kept., And there lies the basis of low self-esteem, failing to keep your own promises or lying to yourself. If you can’t keep your own promises to yourself, then who can you keep your promises to?
So what are the choices you have?
- Don’t make any New Years’ Resolutions at all.
- Just go through the motions, everyone else does.
- Set goals that are realistic and more achievable.
Firstly, we must all realise that the decision to set a New Years’ Resolution or not is entirely individual and personal.
It does not matter to anyone else but to you. It’s your choice. No one knows whether you’ve done it or not, unless you tell them. And unless you promise someone else to do something for them, your decision will not directly impact on anyone else either.
The first question is, do you want to set yourself a New Years’ resolution or not?
If your answer is no, then great. Off you go, have yourself a great time bring in the New Year and we’ll catch up on another blog.
If your answer is yes, I do want to set some goals for the New Year, then read on. Here are a couple of tips to help you achieve more realistic, practical and lasting outcomes and how to focus your efforts in setting your resolutions or goals.
- Limit your list to a maximum of 3 goals.
Choosing a smaller number, you are far more likely not to feel overloaded if you begin to feel like things are getting a little difficult for you. Having too many resolutions to achieve, even if it is over a 12 month period, may seem achievable at the start, but later on may discourage you if you’ve not been successful in completing over half of them by say, August.
Sticking with a more manageable number will lessen the feeling of overwhelm. Three is a good number, less is even better.
- Choose things that matter to you.
What others might want you to focus on will not keep you motivated when they do not appreciate your efforts or the relationship goes sour.
For example, if you’re a smoker, don’t include stopping smoking unless it’s what you personally want to work on for yourself. Although it may be a good health objective, unless you’re ready to take on the challenge for your own reasons; unless you are personally prepared to work through the issues for yourself, you are setting yourself up without the necessary personal motivations.
You must be wanting to achieve any of the resolutions or goals you set yourself, for yourself. You’ve got to be doing it for you. For example, if you want to loose weight in order to enjoy our time with your children or grandchildren, to give you more energy to run around with them, then this is a good objective to set yourself and you may be ready to achieve the target.
- Get some help.
Be honest with yourself. Is this something you can do on your own or will you need some help and support.
If you will need a helping hand, consider who and where this support come from. It could be from a professional source, like a trainer, the gym, a doctor or nurse, an accountant or bookkeeper, a coach or consultant or may even a virtual assistant.
Who you find to help and support your will depend on what goals you’ve set for yourself at the start (No. 1). However, if you are serious, then realise that you are worth the investment in time and finances, if the latter may be required. But more importantly, getting some help may well ensure that you achieve your objectives more quickly and help you avoid the feeling of self-disappointment.
Maybe you have a friend who you can trust to help and support you in achieving your resolutions. Talk this through with them and work out how and when they will support you, then stick to it. You might want to agree to work on a particular goal together, if it’s something they also want to achieve.
- Use the whole year
Sometimes in our rush to set New Years’ Resolutions, we forget that these objectives should be for the whole of the year, not just the first month, if we last that long. And because we forget this simple but important thing, we get discouraged at our first hurdle.
A simple technique is to divide the year into chunks. It is already naturally divide into quarters, for example, but we are choosing a maximum of 3 goals to achieve, so we may need to look at dividing the year into thirds or halves, if we only have two things we’re going to be working on.
If you have 3 goals, set your intentions to focus only on one of those goals during the first third of the year, the second one during the second third of the year and so on.
Knowing that you are committing yourself to one objective.
This makes your objectives far more manageable. Making progress on this (on one) and achieving success before going on to the next one.
Another helpful tip is to use a year planner or diary to chart your plans and your progress. List when you plan to meet with your supporter (your friend, trainer, coach or consultant) and what you plan to do in between times.
Try to make it fun and do some enjoyable things along the way.
Hopefully following these simple steps will help you to achieve more this New Year and make this time of setting resolutions and your years’ goals a much more enjoyable and successful experience.