With each new year comes a sense of fresh starts and new challenges. And this year is no different. Whether you already know your goals for 2020, or you’re still working on them, making New Year resolutions is a great way to get off on the right foot.
The only problem is, 52-weeks is long time to stick to something, especially along-side being a mum, working and all that general ‘life’ stuff.
So how do we set goals that are realistic and achievable? And how to we stay motivated and passionate for a whole 12-months?
Here is our guide on how to make New Year resolutions that actually last the year.
HOW TO MAKE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS THAT ACTUALLY LAST THE YEAR
Preparation is Key
Set clear goals
Some of the most popular new year resolutions are to lose weight, save more money and be a better person. These are all great goals to have, but they’re not exactly clear objectives. What’s your target weight? Have you always been a big spender? How exactly are you going to be a better person? When setting goals, make it SMART:
- Time Bound
Break down big goals into small, manageable steps with realistic objectives. If you’re completely new to fitness, healthy eating or saving money, it’s always better to start slow. Baby steps is the way to go. “I will go to the gym 2-3 times a week,” or “I will walk save 5% of my pay check” is very achievable and don’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle. Clear, achievable goals help form good habits that last.
Choose one goal
Choose one goal and work from there. Having too many big goals at the same time (lose weight, save for a house down payment and get a promotion this year) robs you of focus and energy and only sets you up for disappointment.
Make a schedule
A goal needs to be scheduled. You need to write down your goals on a calendar or use a goal-setting app. A schedule means your goal is a priority and you are setting aside time to actually do the work. A calendar also helps you track progress, reschedule activities if needed and see how far you’ve come. These time blocks are as important as your work and other activities, and like a doctor’s appointment, it’s important to show up.
Committing to a goal can be as simple as telling a loved one about it so you can keep focused and motivated. Some people make their goals public on social media, while others make a promise to a person they look up to, like a teacher or a boss.
HOW TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
When the Going Gets Tough
Tell your friends and family about your goal. Having a great support system cheering you on or picking up the slack while you focus on losing weight or earning more money makes it easier to achieve. When you tell people you love about your goal, you also become more accountable. It can be humiliating to go back on your promise to a child or partner.
Make a battle plan
When you decide in advance how you will deal with challenges like procrastination, exhaustion and lack of focus, you’re more likely to stick to your schedule and do the work when the going gets tough. Your plan could include positive self-talk, affirmations and calling a loved one for support.
Get back on track
It’s inevitable that you will feel discouraged, tired, bored or distracted on your way to accomplishing your goal. And it’s inevitable that you will slip up. That’s perfectly okay. What is not okay is to let a temporary setback get the best of you and make you give up. Stop obsessing about the mistake and move on.
Big goals often take a long time to achieve, that’s why we break them down into smaller and more realistic objectives. But even small goals can take time. If you’re exhausted or you’re just not feeling it, take a break. Remember that lasting change takes time, and progress is rarely linear.
Say no to ‘all or nothing’ thinking
All or nothing thinking can keep you from reaching your goals. When you’ve already missed gym twice this week, you might think that it’s better to just start fresh next week. But a half effort or any effort is better than absolutely nothing at all. On tough days, do the absolutely minimum you can to get closer to your goal, even if it’s just doing one push up, eating one less candy bar or writing a paragraph of your novel.
STICKING TO YOU NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Monitor your progress
You won’t know how much weight you’ve lost if you don’t step on the scale. And you won’t know if you’re moving closer to you goal if you don’t track progress. This is so much easier to do now with healthy eating apps that monitor weight loss, activity level, calorie intake and other variables. Other apps also track progress towards any goal you might have. The important thing is to record activity so you can see if you need to adjust your schedule/work harder or give yourself a reward for a job well done.
Learn the lessons
Take a moment to learn the lesson when you fail. This helps you identify what works and what doesn’t. Maybe your goal is not realistic enough or it needs to be broken into smaller steps. Maybe you need to address an underlying problem first, such as chronic depression or lifelong procrastination, before committing to any major, life-altering transformation.
Let gratitude be your attitude
The small percentage of people who actually achieve their new year resolutions are winners not because they didn’t slip up but because they completed the task. Forget perfection. You can reach your goal even when you do less than you’d like to do. If you can only manage to save 5% this month instead of the usual 10%, or you only squeezed in a 15-minute workout today instead of 30, be thankful. You’re closer to your goal as long as you don’t give up.
Give yourself a nice reward after completing a milestone. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the finish line…regular rewards are important to keep you motivated. If you associate hard work with a positive experience (the reward) instead of a negative one (boredom, drudgery), it will be easier to move forward. So have that cheat meal or treat yourself to a movie…you deserve it.