How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution and found that a couple of days, weeks or months into the year your good intentions were almost impossible to keep? Trust me, my friend, you are not alone. No matter how well-intentioned we are, resolutions just don’t seem to stick for the vast majority of the people who set them.
Setting goals tend to be quite easy, but staying on top of them is a whole different ball game.
Here are five ways for you to set New Year’s resolutions that you’ll actually want to keep.
Reflect on the past year
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato
One of our greatest opportunities for growth and change is in reflecting on the lessons of our past.
Take some time to reflect on the previous year. Certainly, there were some highs and some lows, but what were the major takeaways?
This type of reflection is important because it helps you to learn about yourself. It gives you the opportunity to analyze things that happened, how you reacted, and what, if anything, you might change in the future. The best thing that you can do is to look back on previous experiences – whether good or bad and to learn from them.
Create a master plan
After reflecting over the previous year, the next step in sticking to your resolutions is to decide what goals you want to achieve and determining what you actually need to do to achieve those goals.
Start by listing the steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal. Writing down your goals and having a clear plan of action is critical when it comes to knowing exactly what you want to achieve and the steps you should take in order to get there.
Remember, however, that achieving your goals is the result of discipline, not merely hope.
Be willing to change
When you start to write out your resolutions or goals, you have to be willing to change in order to actually reach those goals. Otherwise, you won’t stick to them, my friend.
If you are doubtful or hesitant in any area, it may not be the best time for you to start working towards that specific goal. Give yourself a little time, and revisit it at a later date.
You should also keep in mind that change is gradual. Like anything you’re working towards, you have to remember that it takes time for new routines and habits to feel normal.
Start small and work your way up. You will not have mastered each of your goals by January 31st. Be realistic with your goals, so that you not only follow through but that you adopt the new habits as part of your lifestyle going forward.
To stay focused on your New Year’s resolutions and be motivated for the long haul, celebrate your successes. For every milestone, you achieve, reward yourself by doing something you love. Whether it’s a pedicure, a sweet treat, a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant, or my personal favorite – a day of shopping.
The key is to reward yourself with something that will entice you to work hard without actually getting in the way of the goal itself.
Recommit after a setback
You don’t ever have to wait for a new year in order to start new habits. You can reaffirm your goals and get back to work on achieving them anytime during the year.
Did you miss a few days of working out? It’s no big deal. Come Monday morning, it’s time to hit the gym! Each and every day you awaken provides a clean slate.
If you fall off of the wagon, simply dust yourself off and hop back on. Minor setbacks can seem important at the moment, but they are of little consequence in the long run once you get back on track.