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Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. You know, the goal that you set for yourself at the start of every new year that (if you’re like the majority of the population) becomes just a lofty dream after a few months because you fell of the resolution bandwagon and never hopped back on! Why is it that something we set with the best of intentions becomes like an assured failure the second we announce it as our goal for the year?
Well, a new (and very helpful) article by The New York Times sheds light on resolutions and how to set yourself up for success. If you want to not only set a resolution for 2018, but set one that you will actually be able to achieve, then we recommend you check out the full article! However, if you’re short on time (or you prefer abbreviated versions) then we’ve listed a few key take-aways below that will help nudge you in the right direction. And on that note, we encourage you to make your first resolution of 2018 to be to create a second resolution that you can check off as a success!
(1) Set the right goal.
A large part of the reason why resolutions don’t work is because the right goal wasn’t set to begin with. Not only should your goal be something that’s meaningful to you personally, but it should be specific AND you should have a plan set in place for reaching it. Using the SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) can really help when it comes to picking a resolution that is going to stick.
Favorite insight: set up mini-goals so that you can celebrate small successes along the way. For example, if your goal is to lose 30lbs, that can seem like a daunting number. However, if you break that larger goal down to something like losing 2.5lbs each month for 12 months, that seems much more doable! And as you celebrate that small win on a monthly basis, it will help you gain momentum, generate excitement, and help you stay on track.
(2) Planning is everything.
You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but the best way to set yourself up for success (in many aspects of life) is to plan accordingly. When it comes to resolutions, part of creating your plan should involve acknowledging your potential roadblocks and coming up with a plan for dealing with them. You know your weaknesses and triggers better than anyone else, so having an honest conversation with yourself about these factors during the planning process is really important.
Favorite insight: Don’t beat yourself up over a mistake. You’re inevitably going to have an off-day. So when that day comes, rather than throwing your hands in the air and considering your resolution a failure, just let it go. Focus on the progress you’ve made and start again tomorrow.
(3) Have a W.O.O.P. mentality.
You might be surprised to learn that positivity alone usually isn’t enough to help keep you on track. The key is to be both positive AND realistic. If you take a few minutes to write down your W.O.O.P, it will prevent you from looking back at your 2018 resolution and saying, “Whoops! I totally missed the mark on that one!”
Wish – what is it that you want to accomplish?
Outcome – what’s the ideal outcome and how will it change your life?
Obstacle – going back to no.2 mentioned above, you know your personal challenges. What hurdles can prevent you from reaching your goal?
Plan – remember our “planning is everything” speech from above? Yes, it’s so important that we’re mentioning it twice. Create a plan (with built-in flexibility) for getting over those hurdles!
(4) Have your own personal cheering section!
Sharing your goals with others can help hold you accountable and give you an extra push at times when you need it most. Whether it’s telling a friend or family member about your goal, sharing and documenting it on social media, or joining a new group of like-minded individuals, the people around you can make all the difference.
Favorite insight: This is kind of a no-brainer for life in general, but if there are bad influences in your life who are going to derail you and prevent you from becoming a better version of yourself, then you should pay special attention to how that relationship is affecting you and your goals. Sometimes, it’s just necessary to cut certain relationships out of your life (and often times it’s easier than cutting carbs out of your diet!).
We wish you all a happy new year and hope that 2018 is one full of successful resolutions!