If you’ve experienced more frustration than exhilaration when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there’s a chance it might stem from your approach. Don’t worry, though; you’re not alone. For all the good intentions, only eight per cent of people who make resolutions actually reach their goals. So, what gives? What are the secrets behind those who do succeed?
Brace yourself, because you’re just one click away from finding out. Get ready to make 2019 the ultimate year of self-improvement by implementing the eight goal-setting strategies ahead!
Take a step back.
To fully set yourself up for success, it’s important to first take some time to reflect on the past. Ask yourself: what went right in the last 365 days or years prior? What went wrong? If you could press rewind, what would you have done differently?
Although you might have to dig a bit deep for your answers, remember that hindsight is 20/20 and you can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t quite know where you are.
Create clearly defined goals.
Once you’ve plowed through a little self-reflection, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: plotting ways for improvement. Now, be careful, because this is where the slippery slope of “resolution failure” can begin. To prevent falling into that trap, remember to think smart. And by that, I mean create S.M.A.R.T. goals — ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, and time-bound.
Looking to lose weight? OK, how many pounds? Wanting to eat healthier? OK, what healthy recipes are you going to incorporate in your diet? The more you can define your goals, the higher your chances are of conquering them. In other words, the more specific, the better.
Remember: you don’t have to reassess every aspect of your life to make this new year a success. Instead, focus on one or two changes at a time, and move on to other areas when you see fit.
Carve out time.
Got your goals set? Great — now it’s time to ritualize! See, in order to successfully stick to your resolutions and create lasting change, you’ll need them to ultimately become habits. And the only way to form new habitual behavior is through scheduling.
So, say you want to exercise thirty minutes each day. Well, carve that time out on your calendar to ensure it happens. You’ll quickly realize that through these rituals, new habits will form, and essentially, a new (and improved!) lifestyle will follow.
Round up a support system.
Any form of change can be challenging, which is why it’s always a great idea to share your goals with family and/or friends. This way, you’ll have a strong support system to lean on when the going gets tough, as well as a larger group of people to celebrate your future triumphs with.
In fact, your loved ones can also offer unique forms of advice to assist in achieving your efforts for self-improvement. Who knows, they might also be embarking down the same road of change and you can buddy up on your journey!
Identify potential barriers.
Of course, there will be days when you might lack motivation or simply feel like giving up. Don’t let these times get you down; we are only human, after all. However, by planning ahead for decreased motivation and identifying potential barriers, you’ll be much more likely to overcome them when they do arise.
My advice? Infuse more inspiration in your decor. Leave notes of encouragement around to lift your spirits. Make a list of reasons why you should stick to your goals. There’s no doubt these things will serve as an instant boost of motivation when your inner critic comes knocking at your door.
Regularly track your progress.
Curious about what else sparks motivation? Seeing results! Therefore, make an effort to regularly track your progress. Whether it’s marking your calendar with the days you hit the gym or following your spending through a detailed budget, when you habitually track your progress and think in terms of results, you will have an easier time managing and adjusting your behavior to ensure you cross your aimed finish line.
And don’t forget to reward yourself for the progress you’ve made! Small rewards are a great way to keep a constant flow of encouragement and will give you something to look forward to on even the hardest of days.
Remind yourself that perseverance is key.
Now, let’s say you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, or even worse, you had some sort of relapse. That’s OK! None of us is perfect. When these scenarios happen, remember the power of perseverance. Don’t turn a temporary failure into a reason to give up. Instead, be resilient and give yourself a break.
Acknowledge the mistake, make a note of what triggered the slip-up, learn from it, and move on. Take a deep breath in, remind yourself of the wonderful progress you’ve made, and recommit to the path of self-improvement.
Remember that New Year’s Day isn’t the only time to make changes.
While New Year’s Day is a great time to kick off new beginnings, it’s certainly not the only day to make changes. So if Jan. 1 rolls around and you haven’t clearly crafted your resolutions, I strongly encourage you to wait.
Don’t give in to the pressure of implementing changes that day. Instead, delay your new goals until you’re fully prepared to commit and then take action. This way, you’ll have more time to create a successful plan for change that works for you!