The New Year is quickly approaching and it’s time to think about New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all been there before – we resolve to do something different in the New Year, but by mid-February we’re back to our old ways. The New Year’s Resolution has become a joke for many people because it’s so hard to keep our resolutions. Yet, the desire to continue to be your best is part of being a reflective human being. No matter our age or stage in life, we are always growing and evolving. The good news is that there are small tweaks we can make in our lives to bring about new ways of doing things that make us happier, improve our health, relationships, and quality of life.
This year, why not try a new type of resolution that will help you make changes without feeling like you’re giving up everything? Where you have the flexibility to change your resolution as needed? And, rather than looking at your resolution as a specific and firm action you must do, or you aren’t successful-you approach it like a scientist. Experimenting with what works for you and making changes along the way for things that don’t work for you.
Where to Start
One way to make changes in your life without feeling overwhelmed is to set goals for the year ahead. Instead of resolving to do something every day or week, set overarching goals that you want to achieve by the end of the year. This can help keep you on track and motivated throughout the year.
A great place to start is to ask yourself:
- How have you contributed to your overall health, wellbeing, and happiness this year?
- Where do you want to be a year from now? Be specific (and focus on the top 2-3 things that will truly make a difference for you).
- Then think about one small thing you can do each day to start working towards those goals.
- Put each of those small things in your daily schedule now. If having a specific time each day to work on your goal works for you, great! If instead, you want to time block-say save an hour each day for working on one or perhaps all three of those goals-then that works also. If you’re not sure which form of scheduling works for you-try each and see which allows you to be successful in working on your goals each day. If you would like a weekly planner that I have curated over the years and works great for me and my clients in planning each week-CLICK HERE.
Some examples of goals you could set are:
– To be more organized
– To read one book a month
– To save money each month
– To learn a new skill
-To become healthier
When you set goals, it’s important to make sure they are realistic and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much at once. Start small, asking what is one small thing I can do today to work on my goals? Then work on those small things each day!
One of the main reasons people don’t follow through with their resolutions is because they set too many big goals and try to do them all at once. But, if you can set overarching goals and then start to implement those goals into your day-to-day life each day, you will quickly see positive changes in your life and make progress towards your goals.
For example, when I resolved to change the way I eat I quickly saw that there would be great days where I’m excelling at my goal and days where I completely “failed” at my goals of eating healthier. The thing is, I didn’t give up on the days where I thought I had failed. I looked at what happened that led me to eat in a way I didn’t want to eat. What caused me to go back to old habits? Going back to the scientist thought process! It’s all just an ongoing experiment where we learn about ourselves, make small adjustments, and try again. That’s exactly what I did and continue to do as I feel better and enjoy the food I’m eating more.
Things That Threaten Our Resolutions
When we revert back to old habits that no longer work for us it’s usually because we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). When we are feeling any of these feelings-it’s when those old habits feel like a comfortable friend that will see us through. Yet, we know that those habits no longer serve us, that’s why we want to change them. Preparation is key!!!
The next time you feel tempted to return to the habit you’re trying to shift, ask yourself if you were hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Just becoming aware of our feelings in the moment (or reflecting on them after the fact) is a game changer and gives us a lot of information about why we make the decisions we do. Then as we continue to identify our feelings when we are tempted to revert back to old habits, we can actively think about the WHY behind our goals and if we truly want to work against our goal-or move forward with the new way of doing things.
Give Yourself Love, Empathy & Grace
Change takes time and we are all human. There will be days where you revert back to old habits and when you do, remind yourself of the why behind your resolutions and then forgive yourself. Look at why you went back to the old habit and then plan for how not to do it in the future. Again, this awareness will help you continue to move forward and make changes gradually and sustainably.
Having a mindset of curiosity about why you are making the resolutions you are making this year will teach you so much about yourself. Returning to the why behind your resolutions will also help you stay motivated and on track when you are tempted to return to old habits.
Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful 2022 and that you’ll continue to read this blog to keep you inspired and to help you keep your resolutions. So that you can finally create your best life each and every day.