New Years Eve Resolutions
What is your new year resolution? Do you have one?
At the end of every year, there’s an exciting new opportunity to begin a new year with a fresh, clean slate.
You (or someone you know) talks enthusiastically about changes desired in the New Year. The motivation is high as resolutions are made.
This year will be different! This year, you’re absolutely going to stick to your resolution of (fill in the blank). Think of some of the most common new year’s resolutions… Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or become highly organised in the New Year, you feel confident and have made a resolution to make it happen.
Best new years resolutions doomed to fail?
You know what probably happens next, right?
No matter how committed or motivated you are on December 31st, usually those resolutions fall by the wayside within the first 30 days. What happened? How can you be so positive that you will stick with your resolutions only to fall flat and abandon them in less than six weeks?
While doing some research as to why this seems to happen almost every single year, I came across some really helpful information to share with you.
First of all, there may be several things going on here which once you understand them, will make sense as to why all these resolutions are discarded so quickly.
What’s in a word?
For starters, “resolution” is a word that kind of borders on the negative side. According to the dictionary, the word resolution means, “the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.”
Now to me, that sounds pretty serious and intimidating, right?
What you are basically telling yourself is that you have resolved – or absolutely committed to – doing something. A resolution sounds so final and unchangeable. It makes you feel like you have to do whatever it is you’ve resolved to do, whether you really want to or not.
It’s a bit like a boot camp where on January 1st, you begin basic training. There’s no flexibility, changing your mind or re-thinking a resolution.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m coming from a “resolution-type” of mindset, odds are I’m going to come up with excuses as to why it won’t work. I might even consider reasons why this resolution was a bad idea from the beginning.
Once the excuses set in, the guilt is not too far behind. Once there are excuses and guilt, it’s time to throw up your hands and just give up on the whole thing. You start to feel bad because once again, you weren’t able to stick with something you’ve “resolved” to do.
With all of these negative feelings surrounding a resolution, it may just be that you need to focus on something a bit more positive and empowering.
Something like goals….
What is meant by goal setting?
When you talk about goals instead of resolutions, more positive feelings have the chance to surface. Setting a goal doesn’t sound as much like being locked into an absolute, final result.
If you set a goal, you can set mini goals along the way to hit your big, end result goal.
The word “goal” sets a more positive spin on starting out to achieve anything. With a goal, you can make changes or tweak things as need be.
For example, if you have a goal of losing weight, a mini goal might be to drink more water to feel full or get more vegetables into your diet. With a goal, there is more than one way to get there and changes to something that might work better are welcome. If one thing isn’t working, you can change your mini goal along the way to see if another option might work better.
By coming up with realistic and achievable mini goals, the bigger end goal doesn’t seem so out of reach.
The positive reinforcement you can see and measure along the way is fueled by achieving mini goals and scratching them off the list. You can break a big goal down into manageable chunks that you can work on every week or every day to make progress.
In addition, goals seem so much more personal than resolutions. And if something is more personal to you, it automatically gives you the edge of more motivation.
You can sit down and understand why you really want to achieve a goal, by listing off lots of reasons that it’s personal and important to you.
Resolutions can sometimes be just too vague and impersonal.
Setting goals encourages rather than intimidates
Goals encourage you to take little but very important steps of action, while resolutions make you feel like you have to build Rome in a day.
Resolutions tend to be a bit more unrealistic with no real plan of action attached to it. Goals are more real and achievable. Once you write them down and put action steps along with them, suddenly, there’s an actual plan to get there.
Speaking of writing down your goals, both big and small, really put some thought into it. Get very personal and include why it’s so important to you to achieve your goal.
While doing this exercise, you may discover that the goal really isn’t important to you. That’s another benefit of brainstorming and writing things down. You may start out with a goal you thought you wanted, but after some serious thought and planning, came up with a more urgent or important goal for yourself. This will save a lot of wasted time and energy should you discover that you didn’t really want what you thought you wanted.
Having clarity in this goal-planning process is key because it will save a lot of frustration and discouragement down the road. By spending more time on your potential goals and the more specific you get on understanding why you want to go for it, you’re really half way there.
So, how to set goals and achieve them? Here are the tips for effective goal setting that I found in my research:
How to set goals for yourself
End of year clean up
In order to truly make a fresh, clean start in the New Year, it’s time to do some clean-up.
Take a bit of time to reflect on the past year and what you accomplished. Don’t dwell on what you didn’t do, as this sets the stage for a negative mindset which is what you’re trying to clean up and get rid of at this point.
You may find it helpful to clean up the house, get rid of excess clutter or start on a detox program to thoroughly clean up your mind, body and surroundings all at the same time.
Spend time living the goal
It’s important to keep big and small goals in mind every day. Spend about 30 minutes throughout each day living as if you’ve achieved your goal. How do you feel? How is your life different now that you’ve hit the goal? How is this year better than last year?
Focus on the feelings of achieving your goal. You already listed out the reasons why it’s important to you.
Taking it a step further and actually focusing on achieving your end goal can make you feel wonderful and ramp up your motivation even more.
Keep a goal setting journal
Right from the beginning, document all the thoughts and feelings that come up as you envision your goal and make a plan.
While spending time imagining how your life will be once you hit your goal, write down any thoughts or feelings you have.
While focusing on already achieving your goal, you may be amazed to find all kinds of ideas and inspiration that comes to you. You may find new ideas you can add in with the mini goals to make the journey easier and more enjoyable.
Also be sure to write down what you envision your life to be after meeting the goal. What do you look like? Where do you live? How has the financial picture improved?
Be open to this exercise as once again, it can really keep you positive and moving in the right direction.
Keep dates in mind
If you are planning mini goals along the way to achieving a bigger goal, be sure to include dates along with your action plans. By giving yourself target dates to have certain things accomplished, it keeps you on track and moving along at a nice clip towards the next action item on your goal list.
This step really helps you plan things better without feeling overwhelmed. By keeping dates in mind, you’ll know what to do today to be prepared for tomorrow.
Stepping up the plan
As you look at your big goal and break it down into manageable mini goals, re-visit the planning pages of your journal and set very specific action steps necessary to move forward.
In this more specific planning stage, you can experiment with and tweak actions along the way.
By setting very specific steps and plans along the way, you can set a more realistic timeline to avoid stress and feeling overwhelmed.
Write Down and Read
Keep a list of your goals posted somewhere you will see it every day. Each morning and each night, re-read your goals.
This re-establishes the importance of the goals to you every day and why you’re doing what you’re doing. It makes the goals more real if they’re written down and you can feel good about the progress you’re making each and every day.
In any way you can, plan ahead and be prepared. Have supplies ready or phone numbers/websites readily available. By planning ahead, you’ll be less likely to miss a day or make excuses as to why you can’t move forward with your action step today.
It encourages you to stick with it and consistently work through the action steps without distractions or excuses to knock you off track.
Just by planning ahead, you’ll automatically feel organised and successful as a motivation bonus.
I hope you found this information helpful. However, if you still really want to make a resolution for the New Year, make it be to focus on achieving your goals!
Check out Mark’s hypnosis download to condition you to effectively achieve your goals.
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