Chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve sat down to write or publish your New Year’s resolutions… and then, shortly after, you broke them. Ever wonder why is it so hard for us to stick to them? Well, according to Wikipedia, a New Year's resolution is a tradition, which is most commonly found in the Western Hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also practiced in the Eastern Hemisphere. These traditions often involve or are created when a person has a desire to change an undesired trait or behavior, or to accomplish a personal goal, basically just try to improve their life.
One of the main reasons we have a hard time keeping up with them is simply because we don’t have an actual plan to carry our New Year’s GOALS (as I prefer to call them).
FUN FACT: New Year’s resolutions date back to Babylonia. It started when Babylonians would make promises to their gods at the start of each year, mostly promises that they would return borrowed objects and/or pay their debts.
This year, why not try to stop the vicious cycle of starting a goal and then not following through with it. Whether your goals are getting healthy, becoming more assertive, improving your finances, establishing your career, or even quitting smoking, you’ll feel one million times better if you actually stick to them. These 7 tips will help you get started.
BE REALISTIC. What has taken us years of bad habit-building won’t disappear in 90 days. If you make your goal unattainable, I’ve got news for you; you’ll fall short. For example, instead of cutting out your favorite junk food, try to avoid consuming it more often than you do now. A goal doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” for it to be worth it.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Don’t wait for the ball to drop on New Year’s to write down your goals. If you do, they will be written in the mindset of that particular day, which isn’t helpful if you are trying to set year-long goals. This takes us to the next tip.
OUTLINE YOUR PLAN. Temptations are everywhere, but deciding how you will deal with them before they happen can help a ton at the moment. Outlining your plan is basically creating the blueprint of your development and success. Be detailed in what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do it. Write down any possible roadblocks you may face along the way and come up with ways for how you want to overcome them. You can even ask a friend to help, or practice positive self-talk and remind yourself how derailing will negatively affect your goal.
TALK ABOUT IT. Keeping your goals a secret from friends and family will make them very hard to reach. Share your goals with these people in your life, ask for their support, and let them know why it’s so important to you that you accomplish these goals. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone you love is going after the same goal and then you can act as each other’s support system? It sounds absolutely terrible… *insert sarcastic eye-roll here*
STICK TO YOUR GUNS. As mentioned before, we have taken a lot of time in creating bad habits and there is no magic pill that will make them all go away in a blink of an eye. Experts suggest that something becomes a habit after doing it consistently for 21 days and it becomes part of your personality after six months. So be patient and remember that these things take time and if you falter, go to the next tip.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF. Maybe you slipped up, SO WHAT?!?! Obsessing over it won’t help you achieve your goals. Take it one day and one goal at a time and know that it’s not a failure to go back to the beginning and start over. Remind yourself of why you want to achieve these goals and simply repeat the previous tip.
REWARD YOURSELF. Celebrate your successes by rewarding yourself with something that won’t contradict your goals. Try treating yourself with something that will help you continue to achieve your plan.
Whenever you feel like you’re running out of steam, just remember to always keep trying (I guess this is a bonus tip).
Share your New Year’s goals with us in the comments below.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
“Better to live one year as a tiger than 100 as a sheep.” - Madonna