Every year we ambitiously set our New Year resolutions claiming “this will be the year that I stick with it.” Yet every year somewhere around the end of January we see ourselves slowly fade back to normalcy and into our old ways. What is it about these resolutions that have destined us to fail? What can be done to ensure we follow through on our goals?
1. Be Realistic
The biggest mistake comes in the actual setting of the goal. We view the new year as a chance to completely reinvent ourselves overnight. However, a massive lifestyle change like that is way too ambitious and is just setting yourself up for failure. Set goals that are realistic and attainable and that you reasonably could see yourself sticking to.
2. Make A Plan
It’s a lot easier to stick to your resolutions when you have a specific outline telling you what exactly to do. Outline what you will have to do to achieve the goal. If your goal is going to the gym, write what days and times you are going to go and what exercises you will be doing each day.
3. Short-Term Goals
Create small mini goals that will help you to achieve your larger resolution. For example if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, first set the goal of losing 5 pounds and reward yourself each time you hit a benchmark. This is significantly less daunting than the larger goal!
4. Keep Going
Despite not wanting to fail, it WILL happen. You have to be prepared for that and not let it get you down. You’re going to miss a day and that’s okay. What is important is that you get back on the horse and don’t let it discourage you from continuing your plan. One day won’t kill you in the grand scheme of things, consistency and the will to endure is what will produce the change you desire.
Track your progress using a journal or a word document. If your goal involves something visible like weight loss, take pictures every week. It’s easy when looking at yourself everyday not to see any progress, so looking at the visible change, you can feel motivated to keep going. More than motivation though, the tracking holds you accountable. If you skip a day, you have to dreadingly write down your failure.
6. Stay Disciplined
Too many times, we search for motivation in order to complete a task. When creating the resolution, I can almost guarantee there was a high level of motivation to succeed and make the resolution work. While there is nothing wrong with this, there should be an understanding that motivation will not always be there. Rather than focusing on motivation, focus on discipline. Remember why you initially wanted to make the change and push yourself to follow through.