Resolve to Make 2019 Better
January 7th, 2019
It’s that time of year again when many people make their New Year’s Resolutions. If we are being honest, I stopped making them years ago. There is nothing wrong with using the beginning of the year to take stock of where you are in life as you plan for the coming year. If you are going to make some resolutions this year, I have a few suggestions:
- Plan: As the saying goes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We make resolutions with every intention of keeping them - but often we fail. Many times, we are not successful because we don’t plan exactly how we are going to get from point A to point B. It is not enough to say I want to go to the gym more, you need to be specific on what that means. For example, I am going to go to the Planet Fitness near my house Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6am and one day on the weekend.
- Write it down: Putting it in writing has a lot of benefits. Seeing it has a different effect than simply saying it. For whatever reason we view the written word as more real or tangible. Writing it down also allows you to sketch out the details of how this is going to happen. Another added bonus is that you can also show it to others.
- Set a timeline: Make sure that you have a timeline that you want/need to accomplish this goal by. Leaving it open ended gives you a lot of room for procrastination. If you have the mentality of “there is always tomorrow,” then your goal likely will never be achieved.
- Think about the consequences of not accomplishing your goal: Most of us set goals because there is something that we want or need to change. Think about what the consequences of not making this change will be. Often that is motivation enough to finish what you have started.
- Take baby steps: Change happens slowly. It takes about 20 days of doing something for it to become part of your routine. Often when people make a New Year’s Resolution, they make multiple, massive changes all at once. Try making small manageable changes. It may take you longer to get there but you will get there.
- If at first you don’t succeed: Rarely will you try to make a change and have it go flawlessly. There will be bumps in the road, plan on them. Instead of throwing in the towel and deciding it is not for you or not going to work, pick yourself up and try again. When learning to ride a bike it probably took a few attempts and left a few scraps and bruises but eventually you did it.
- Get an accountability partner: It is easier to succeed when you have someone that is holding you accountable. It is much harder to give up when there is someone monitoring your progress and encouraging you. Sometimes your accountability partner has the same goals in mind that you do while other times it is just a friend or family member helping out. Regardless of who they are, empower them to truly help you. Have regular check ins with clearly defined goals.
- Enjoy the journey: Making these changes is difficult but at the same time it is very fulfilling. Regardless of the goal you are setting, take time to enjoy the journey. You will learn new skills and get a substantial amount of new information, embrace it. Sometimes the trip that you take is as much fun as arriving at your final destination.
- Celebrate the accomplishments: It is easy to get discouraged when things don’t go right but much harder to celebrate some of the mini victories that we have. Don’t wait until you have achieved the final goal to celebrate, acknowledge and appreciate some of those mini milestones you hit. There is nothing wrong with a pat on the back even if it is you giving it to yourself. Be proud of what you are doing.
Resolutions take a strength of will to accomplish. By definition it is a firm decision to do or not do something. Speaking practically, it is often a combination of both, by deciding to do A you cannot do B or it will prevent you from achieving your goal. For example, if the goal is saving money then you won’t be going to restaurants, the movies or therapy shopping. Honestly, the goal is usually worth the sacrifice. Wishing you the Happiest and Healthiest of New Year’s and success on those resolutions.