5 Essential Tips to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick.
With the New Year (new decade!) just around the corner, people are thinking about making changes to their lives.
Maybe you are too?
Yet it's well known that within just a few weeks (sometimes only days) the vows, promises and goals that are made fall by the wayside.
How can YOU stick to the changes you want to make and not end up in the same boat as millions of people from previous years?
Tip No. 1 - Motivation or Intention?
In preparation for making your new year’s resolutions stick, consider whether it's motivation or intention that will ultimately lead to success.
Let’s take exercising as an example. Loads of people decide to start a new fitness routine at the start of the year.
Everyone knows that exercising will improve your overall fitness, probably help you to lose a few unwanted pounds and support good heart health.
However, does knowing about these benefits make you want to leap out of bed in the morning put on your running shoes or get down to the gym?
Maybe for a day or two but then those future benefits soon fade in favour of staying in bed a while longer or you say to yourself, "I'll start tomorrow." (Hands up who has said that before 🖐).
However, studies have shown that by formulating a PLAN that you write down stating when, where and how you intended to implement what you want to accomplish, you are twice as likely to fulfil it.
Twice as likely to fulfil it - that's HUGE!
So, whenever you find yourself stating, “I’m going to X…X” (fill in the blank) if you really mean it, then write it down in a statement such as… “During the next week I will do [type of] exercise for [time duration] on [days] at the time of [time].” If necessary add a location or any other relevant detail.
Or if it is a class or workshop you need to arrange, then set the day and time, the research or the person you need to connect with.
We are all creatures of habit and to start something we are not familiar with will take more than a wishful statement if we are to follow it through to a successful conclusion.
Tip No. 2 - Decide What’s Most Important
Whenever you decide upon a new goal or a new course of action it will automatically take up your time and energy, in terms of both actionable steps as well as the thinking space that a new goal naturally occupies.
Any other goals that you may have ongoing or that urgently need your attention, can only be achieved according to the amount of time and energy you put into them.
How often have you started a new goal – or made a New Year’s Resolution – only to give up because you didn’t have time to fit it in?
You may have then felt as though you had failed at your goal or had no resolve to see it through. When in fact, what may have happened is that your new goal was being crowded out by other important matters.
To avoid setting yourself up for failure, decide whether now is the right time for your goal. You may want to get fit, but do you have a particularly heavy schedule right now? Would starting this exercise be at the cost of other things?
You may wish to lose weight but are you also currently experiencing anxiety? In which case, dealing with the anxiety would probably be the better option.
A word of caution. I’m not suggesting this can be used as an excuse not to follow through on your goal – you’ll need to be self-aware if you think you might be doing that.
One good way of deciding if now is the right time for your goal is to ask yourself, “If I do this goal now, what will be the benefit to me and or others.”
Another question to ask is, “If I do this goal now, what else might it interfere with?” If your answer is nothing, then go for it! You have now at least eliminated anything unforeseen that may otherwise crop up and lead to you not sticking with your goal or resolution.
If you then do find yourself faltering on your goal, you’ll know it’s not due to the reasons you’ve already taken into consideration!
Day 3 – Understand why this goal is important to you.
TIP No. 1 is to focus less on motivation and more on INTENTION.
When you have intention, you’re stating when, where and how you’re going to achie
TIP No. 2 is to decide what’s most important in your life right now.
If losing weight is your goal yet you are particularly stressed at work, perhaps dealing with the stress would be the best next step, for now.
Which leads to today's TIP No. 3 - Understanding why the goal is important to you.
Everything we do we do for a reason so if you’re not clear on WHY the goal is important to you then you could find yourself losing momentum or you find yourself creating reasons for not following through on it.
So, write down WHY achieving your goal matters and make a list of everything you can think of.
Pick your top three, write them on a post-it sticker and place where you’ll see it. The fridge is an obvious place if weight loss is your goal.
Having a clear understanding of why achieving your goal is important will keep you on track because with all that we have going on in our lives it’s all too easy to lose sight of why we are doing something.
Day 4 – Write Your Resolution/Goal Down.
Most people tend to state a goal – either verbally or mentally – but never write it down.
Yet a written goal is more powerful and here are some of the reasons why writing down your goal matters.
1. It helps to remind you of what you want to achieve:
Our ideas can flit in and out of mind all too quickly.
2. It helps you to focus on your goal in a positive way:
Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want!
3. Writing your goal (rather than typing it) works best:
For some odd reason, a written down goal is more effective than a typed-out counterpart.
4. Write down and read it to yourself every day:
By keeping it fresh in your mind you'll stay focused and more likely to take actionable steps.
Use the SMART goals formula:
Which stands for SPECIFIC – MEASURABLE – ACHIEVABLE – RELEVANT and TIME-BASED. But they don’t necessarily need to be in that order.
Here’s an example of a SMART goal. We will use a fitness goal as our example:
"As from (date) I intend to improve my fitness (more specific: strengthen my legs or improve my cardio) by walking for a minimum of twenty minutes, 3 times a week (more specific: on Monday, Weds and Friday) during my lunch break."
Now write down your goal and see just how much more effective it will be.
Day 5 – Visualize Your Goal
To visualize is to form mental images or pictures in your mind, which is an effective way to make your goal a reality. Many world-class athletes use visualization because it works!
The daily practice of visualizing your goal as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of them.
Here are some more reasons for using visualization:
It activates your creative subconscious mind – you’ll get ideas!
You’ll be more aware of valuable resources – opportunities you might otherwise not notice.
It will draw the people, resources, and circumstances you will need.
You’ll feel greater motivation for moving forward with your goal.
So, using visualization for say, exercising more, see yourself at the gym lifting weights, or maybe it’s walking you want to do more of, so picture that. you get the idea.
Do you already use visualization and if so, what results do you get?
All the best for New Year’s Resolution goals!
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