Not another New Years resolution article. Arghh. I hear you. But hear me out. So many people still set New Years resolutions, but even if you don’t, you probably still use this time of year to reflect on the past and dream about the future.
I absolutely love this time of year. It’s so full of optimism and possibilities. For the past few years I’ve reviewed my year and created a life plan full of well-thought-out-goals for the year ahead. Each year, I move a little closer to the ideal life I want to live. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life as it is, but I believe that if I stop and float, I’ll drift to an unwanted destination. So once again this year, I’ve been intentional about the life I want to live and I’m dreaming about what might be.
When done right, you can make New Years resolutions stick, and this can be a time that gets you on track to realising your ideal life.
One of the less spoken about problems with goal setting is that they often lack strategy. They’re often born out of an emotional response. Now that’s a great way to motivate you to change, but it doesn’t exactly achieve the change. Strategy achieves the change.
Strategies to Make Your New Years Resolution Stick
- Review your past
Creating a plan for the future without reviewing your past means you might end up moving in the wrong direction, or even worse, repeat the same mistakes or bad habits. Reviewing your past can be confronting but it can be liberating too. Some of my favourite questions as part of a review are, “If my life were a movie, what would the genre be, what would the movie be about, and who would play me?”
- Align yourself with your values
If you order the basic areas of life into what you value most to least, you’ll get a deeper understanding about yourself. If health is way down the list and this is something that you’ve struggled to stay on track with, you’ll have a good idea as to why. Doing the mind work necessary to shift these values is imperative to seeing lasting change in your health. Simply joining a group fitness class and sticking with it for 10 weeks might work in the short term, but probably won’t in the long term.
- Set good goals
Not smart goals. I know, I know. You’ve been told to set smart goals since ’99. Make them specific, measurable, as if now, realistic and time-framed. But that’s nothing more than a nice little way to remember a simple framework. Setting your goals that are aligned to your bigger vision, which include weekly projects and daily processes specifically involving who, what, when and where, is a strategy that actually creates the change you’re looking for when you set goals.
- Plan it out properly
Be clear on what it looks like when you’ve achieved your goal. And create good, better and best targets. Research shows that people who create more than one target for their goal have much greater success with achieving it. Plus, if you achieve your goal, you can strive higher. It’s important though that you know exactly what your life will look like when you achieve your goal. This will help you in choosing the right goal. And as you near that goal, become clear on what the next stage looks like because what got you here, won’t get you there. It will inevitably look different.
- Write down all your key motivations
It’s super important to connect with your goals on an emotional level. This will drive the motivation when the going gets tough. Write down as many key motivations for why you want to achieve your goal (at least 10) that you can think of. Think about them and connect with them. Really feel the feelings that arise when you think of these key motivations. Put them up in a place where you can see them regularly and connect with them on a consistent basis.
- Find the domino
Choose one key motivation; one that if you achieve that, then all the other key motivations will either become irrelevant or unnecessary. This is your push goal. This is the key motivator for why you want to achieve your goal. This will move you more than anything else will.
- Keep yourself accountable
Having an accountability partner has been proven to help people achieve their goals. They can encourage you when you’re feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed. They can also motivate you when you’re lacking motivation. They may even rely on you! Find someone you relate well with and go through the transformation together.
- Schedule it and prioritise it
More often than not, what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get down. Once you’ve established your plan and action steps that you’ll take on a regular basis, put it in a calendar and stick to it. If it’s scheduled, it stays. Your accountability partner can help you with this
New Years resolutions cop a lot of criticism for having poor follow-through rates. But the New Year is a perfect and natural time to reflect on the past, specifically the previous year, and dream about the future, ideally, the New Year ahead. When done right, you can make New Years resolutions stick, and this can be a time that gets you on track to realising your ideal life.
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What is your New Years resolution? Share it here.
[Image source: Urban Matter]
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