The new year is here, and you're ready to get started on those resolutions. But you know what? So are millions of other people! It's easy to feel discouraged if you do not see results immediately because so many others are making the same goals as you. You might be tempted to give up when this happens, but don't! Here are some tips for keeping yourself on track:
Don't just set the goals; write them down.
The first step in setting and maintaining a new years resolution is to write down your goals. Writing them down will help you remember them and make it easier for you to track your progress. You want to write down your goals in a place where you will see them often. The best way to do this is by using an app like Evernote or Apple Notes because they allow you to set reminders so that the next time you open up that app, you can't miss seeing your goal written on the screen! If writing things down isn't something that works for you, then don't worry - there are other ways too! For example, one woman uses sticky notes around her house, so she always remembers what she wants out of life:
Don't set too many goals.
Setting realistic goals is essential because if you set yourself up for failure from the get-go, it will be harder to keep your motivation and stay on track. You might also find that you don't even need as many goals as you first thought! When I was younger, I used to think I had to do everything at once. As a result, I would get overwhelmed by how much was left undone or how many things were left uncompleted. For example, one year, my New Year's resolution was: "read ten books,"; "get 90% on my math test,"; "take two trips somewhere new,"; "lose 20 pounds,"; and "visit five countries." This was too much--I got discouraged when things didn't go exactly as planned and gave up on most of these goals halfway through the year. Nowadays, though, I make sure to pick only one or two resolutions each year, specific enough so they can be measured (e.g., reading between 100-150 pages per month). It's been working better than cramming everything into a one-time frame!
Choose a goal that is important to you.
Before setting your New Year's resolution, choosing a goal that is important to you is essential. If the goal isn't significant enough for you, it probably won't be achieved. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds by next year, but this isn't an issue for you or anyone in your family who will notice or care, then there's no real reason why losing those 10 pounds should be a big deal.
Instead of choosing something like this as your resolution, try choosing something that adds value to others and/or the community around you. For example: "I want my children to have confidence in their abilities." This way, when they succeed at achieving their goals (which they will), they'll know that it wasn't just about them but about everyone else too!
Believe in your ability to follow through.
You may be afraid of failing, but you must stop letting past failures hold you back. Remember that you are capable of great things and that nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself.
Make a plan with specific deadlines.
You're much more likely to succeed in reaching your goal if you set specific deadlines. Setting a deadline can help you stay motivated and focused on the task instead of getting distracted by other things that pop up along the way.
Deadlines provide clear markers for what needs to be done and when, so it's easier to know where you stand with your goal daily and weekly. This can be especially helpful for people who procrastinate or have trouble focusing on tasks for long periods.
Once you've created these deadlines, having smaller deadlines within those larger ones is also helpful—such as writing one page per day instead of just saying, "I'm going write an entire book." Having smaller goals helps make it less daunting than tackling everything all at once!
Have a friend hold you accountable.
This is an essential part of your success. It's one thing to know that you have to eat healthily or go for a run, but doing it can be challenging. Having someone else hold you accountable for your resolution is much easier than trying to do it alone. You'll want to find someone who will check in with you, encourage you and celebrate your success with you when it happens!
Make your goals public!
Sharing your goals with others can be a great way to ensure you keep your resolutions.
Tell your friends and family. They’re likely to support you and cheer you on as you work toward achieving your resolution, which will help keep you motivated. You might also learn that someone else is working on the same thing!
Post it online! It’s one thing to write down your goal and put it in a drawer or on the fridge. Still, if it’s out there for everyone in the world (or even just a few people) to see, then it feels more real—and less likely that once January rolls around again, we’ll forget about our goals entirely since no one else saw them either.*
Get help when you need it!
Having a support network is so important! It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. You can do it all yourself, but if you have someone who believes in you and has your back, even if that person is just a friend or family member, then go for it!
Word of mouth is the best way to find a therapist or coach. If someone recommends someone they know, that's usually the best place to start. If not, go online and research by reading reviews on different therapists/coaches/mentors in your area!
Setting and following through on new years resolutions can be fun and rewarding!
Set a goal that is realistic and attainable. New years resolutions are meant to be challenging, but not impossible. Setting low expectations may make you more likely to succeed in your goals. Don't feel bad if you don't reach your goal; maybe it was too ambitious or unrealistic for the time frame you had set! Try again next year with a less ambitious resolution and begin from there. If you fail at one thing, try another! And remember: even though failure can sometimes feel like a setback—or even outright defeat—it's just an opportunity for growth and improvement. If something doesn’t work out this time (or ever), don't get discouraged--try something else! That's what makes life fun!!
I hope that by now, you’re feeling more excited about your New Years' Resolution and ready to get started. I know that it can be frustrating when things don’t go exactly as we planned them, but if there is one thing I have learned from my experience with making resolutions—it is that it’s better to try and fail than never attempt at all. So don't beat yourself up if you mess up; keep trying! If you need help, contact us at the Center for Human Potentiality: we are available 24/7 via phone or email (or even Twitter!). We want nothing more than for everyone in this world to reach their fullest potential as human beings, so give us a call today!