The beginning of a new year is a blank slate of sorts. As you’ve more than likely heard or read on a Facebook post somewhere, this is the ideal time to make resolutions we may or may not stick with through the end of February. In any case, we inevitably find ourselves setting new goals and trying to make the next year better than the last, which, of course, there’s nothing wrong with. But as you’ve probably noted with people all around you and perhaps even yourself, these grand and elaborate plans of improvement often fall through once the New Year’s/Christmas high wears off.
So why does this happen? Well more often than not, the weakness lies in what we did to mentally prepare ourselves for these big risks and changes. So how do you make this year’s resolutions a success? As with everything else, it’s all in the preparation.
1. Tell people who will hold you accountable. Sure, there are going to be those people who will mock you for doing the cliché “new year, new me” thing, but those who love you will be excited to encourage you and help you stick to your goals.
2. Don’t try to do it all at once. This is the surest way to fail. You overwhelm yourself with changes in the first week because go hard or go home right? Wrong. Pace yourself. Remember there will be times when you’re not as passionate or enthusiastic about completing your goals and this is perfectly okay.
3. Set goals that are realistic for you. If your goal is to lose weight, by all means do whatever you can to get there. But if you hate the gym, don’t tell yourself you’re going to start going six days a week, because you won’t. Find alternate means of getting there in ways you are more comfortable with and more likely to stick with.
4. Don’t punish yourself. Making a year-long or however long commitment is a big deal. You’ve lived the rest of your life without these commitments, so what makes you think it will be easy this time around? There will be inevitable times you fail or slip up, but they key to success is persistence.
5. Create smaller goals within your overarching goal. It’s easier to kill a pie one slice at a time and this can kind of be applied to life, too. If you’ve never run a marathon in your life, don’t expect to get it the first time. You begin at small and slowly and incrementally you build to where you want to be rather than trying to digest it all at once.
6. Remember there’s always next year. That probably doesn’t sound like a good mentality to begin with, but this is something we need to remind ourselves of when we fail. Not so much that we have to wait until the next New Year, but that there’s never a bad time for newfound effort. There is no ticking clock that buzzes at the end of the year to remind you that you’re a failure. You simply get up and try again.