Keep Your New Year Goals With These Simple Steps
Posted byAlicia Trent
Ah, the feeling of a fresh new year. The champagne pops, the ball drops, and as usual, you outline your top new year goals. This is the year you’ll lose 20 pounds, get organized and write that great American novel! Fast forward to six months later, when you weigh the same (Oh alright, 5 pounds heavier), are as cluttered as ever and have yet to finish one chapter in your memoir. You’re not alone. Millions of Americans make the same dedicated new year goals every January, only to fail before the year is out. But by changing your outlook on resolutions, this can be the year that ends differently. All it takes is revamping how you create and pursue new year goals to achieve success.
Be Realistic With Your Resolutions
Make goals that are possible to follow. The American Psychological Association recommends that you aim for ambitions that can easily fit into your schedule.1 For example, if you want to spend more time with family, don’t shoot for visiting your mom and dad seven days a week. Plan on eating dinner with your folks every Sunday or dropping by your sister’s basketball practice on Saturdays. Same goes for workout goals. Aiming for too many gym days can set you up for failure. Plan on exercising two to three times a week after work and pat yourself on the back after you burn those calories.
Start With Small Steps
It’s easy to have a lofty goal and then become overwhelmed when the time comes to get it done. But the best way to climb a mountain is with small steps. Family therapist Stephanie Seng of the Colorado State University Center for Family and Couple Therapy suggests breaking your resolution into bite-sized pieces you can more easily complete.2 For instance, if you want to organize your entire house by spring, start with the smallest room or a certain area. Heck, begin with a drawer. If you want to finish your novel, plan on writing a page or two every day. Set dates and times by which you want to complete each step and cross them off as you go. Soon, you’ll have scaled that mountain without even realizing it.
Involve Family and Friends
Be vocal about your new year goals to friends and family members to elicit support and encouragement. Family and friends can give you reminders about your resolutions and check on your progress. It’s also helpful to include a “buddy,” in your new year goals. Ask a friend to join you in working out regularly or take turns cooking with a family member if you’re trying to save money. You’ll have a higher chance of success if you have a loyal buddy holding you accountable and the climb to the top will be even more fun.
Anticipate a stumble or two on the road to succeeding in your new year goals. But don’t use missteps as a reason to give up! Often, we disregard our resolutions after small failures and determine we just can’t make them happen. Remember that mistakes are normal. Allow yourself a fall now and then, but rather than throwing in the towel, regroup, and get back on board. Bumps in the road provide the chance to examine what’s not working out and alter your plan if necessary.
Give Yourself Small Rewards
So you finished cleaning out the entire basement? Worked out three times this week? Great Scott, give yourself some credit! Rewarding yourself after small successes will make you feel encouraged and fuel further effort. Write down what you have achieved so you can visually see what you’ve accomplished so far. Be proud of your efforts. Go ahead and indulge yourself with a small reward each time you reach a sub-goal. Being your own cheerleader will maintain your determination and push you forward in your progress.
1“Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick,” American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution.aspx
2“9 Tips For Creating – And Keeping – New Year’s Resolutions,” Colorado State University. http://source.colostate.edu/9-tips-creating-keeping-new-years-resolutions/
- Posted by Alicia Trent
- On December 21, 2016