With each new year comes fresh starts and new challenges. Whether you already know your goals for 2021, 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 to make New Year resolutions that actually last the year.
HOW TO MAKE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS THAT ACTUALLY LAST THE YEAR
Set clear goals
“What is my target weight and how will I lose it?”
“How much money do I want to save and what is it for?”
“How exactly do I want to be a better person?”
When setting goals, make it SMART, which is:
- Time Bound
Break down big goals into small, manageable steps with realistic objectives.
Baby steps is the way to go. Instead of grand ideas about training daily for the next triathlon or saving so much money that you won’t have enough to feed the kids dinner, think:
“I will go to the gym 2-3 times a week.”
“I will save 5% of my pay check.
“I will give 2 hours of every week to a charity cause.”
Goals such as these are achievable and don’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle. Clear, attainable 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 deposit and get promoted) robs you of focus and energy and only sets you up for disappointment.
Make a schedule
A goal needs to be carefully wrapped with plans and timelines.
To do this, write down your goals on a calendar or use a goal-setting app. This makes your resolution a priority because you are setting aside time to actually do it. 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 and make it happen.
Committing to a goal can be as simple as telling a family member, friend or work colleague about it so you stay 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. Hell, even tell your kids … after all, they are your biggest fans!
When you tell people you love about your goal, you become more accountable.
HOW TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
Tell your friends and family about your goal. Having a great support system cheering you on or picking up the slack when needed makes it easier to achieve.
If you need help creating a support system, I can help you on a more personal level in my “You’ve Got This” Single Mum eCourse, where you learn to embrace your independence, redefine your path and be the best you can be, all whilst being a brilliant single mum.
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 someone on your support system for encouragement.
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 straight-forward.
Say no to ‘all or nothing’ thinking
All or nothing thinking can keep you from reaching your goals.
When you’ve already missed the gym twice this week, you might think that it’s better to just start fresh next week or not bother going back at all. But a half effort or any effort is better than absolutely nothing at all.
On tough days, do the absolutely minimum. Even if it’s just doing one push up, eating one less candy bar or writing a paragraph of your novel. Then give yourself a big pat on the back for your effort.
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 a 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 depression, procrastination or time management, 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.
You can reach your goal even when you do less than you’d like to do. If you can only manage to save $70 this month instead of the planned $100, or you only squeezed in a 15-minute workout today instead of 30, be thankful.
Remember, you’re still moving closer to your goal as long as you don’t give up altogether.
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.