So here we are, standing right on the brink of a brand New Year. As you look back through the year that’s almost over, perhaps you find some amazing wonderful experiences, perhaps there are some things that you might have chosen to do differently. But no matter what those reflections bring, it is a time to look forward to a new beginning.
New Year resolutions are one of those things that people often pay lip-service to, much like gym membership, intentions are pristine but by the end of the first week, it becomes tiresome and over-ambitious. Perhaps the changes required are too big, maybe some things are just out of your control, and then slowly, even with the best of intentions, the goals slip away and we slide back in to that cosy nest of comfort and familiarity.
This time around though, if you do want to make resolutions that will bring change throughout the coming year, we have some suggestions to help you do just that.
Choose a Theme for the Year
Whether it’s a word, a phrase or even just a general direction, choose a ‘theme’ for the year. Often we start with lofty goals and ideals, the excitement of ‘bright new shiny object’ syndrome makes us define all the minute details and specifics that we crave and desire.
Deciding on a theme for the year, makes us take the long road in to account. A general direction in mind, it helps us keep track and on track, of where we are heading and makes us set a tone and a intention for the rest of the year.
For example, if your theme for the year is to Live Well, regardless of the specifics, if everyday, you took just one action in line with that theme, whether it’s simply drinking one more cup of water, or perhaps you managed to meditate for 5 minutes in the morning – you would have moved forward to embrace your intention for the year.
Make Your Resolutions SMART
Once you have decided on the theme for the year, it’s time to get to the finer details – SMART resolutions. While SMART goals are the mainstay of goal-setting and accomplishment in the area of professional development. There is a reason why it’s been recommended over and over.
When done well, it will ensure that you succeed at your resolutions.
So what are SMART goals?
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
(Learn more at https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.php)
Choose one of each definition within the acronym to serve you. Write your SMART resolutions accordingly. Once your SMART resolutions are in place, sit for a while with each one, to work out, what the relevant baby steps are, to achieving them.
These will make your resolutions, approachable and tangible. And with little baby steps forward, over time, you will have travelled the distance.
Ensure an Emotional Investment
Each resolution that you make must have an attached emotional investment. Ensure that your resolution Scares you just a little, but Excites you ‘helluva lot. In doing so, you know that the ideas and ideals behind the resolution are going to make you want to push yourself a little more and because they excite you – you’ll want to jump out of bed every morning!
Reward Yourself Often
One of the biggest downfalls to the success of our resolution is not our ability to plan for it, or even to ‘see’ the path that takes us there; often it’s the perceived drudgery of every day that makes it ‘no-longer-tenable’.
For example, Jodie’s new year resolution is to ‘get into shape’. For her this means, the gym, three days a week, and eating at least one healthy meal a day. She manages to keep it up for the first 2 months, then one morning, her alarm doesn’t go off. She’s late and doesn’t manage to get to the gym and that is the start of the slide. If she manages to catch herself and recover, she may make up for it the next day.
But the goal just seems such a long way away, and somehow, there isn’t enough incentive to keep pushing through. After a while, she starts to wonder, is it really worth it? Do I really need to get 2 dress sizes down?
However, if instead of simply ploughing through week-after-torturous-week, month-after-dreaded-month, Jodie decides to reward herself after every successful week – a little bunch of flowers for her apartment, or her favourite magazine to read, or some time alone with favourite cup of herbal tea. Every successful week is celebrated and the next week starts again fresh, heading towards another little celebration.
(Of course, key here is to have appropriate rewards – Jodie would not benefit from a delicious slice of cake as a reward!)
Get Yourself a Resolutions-accountablity Buddy
While we have all often been told that it’s better to keep your goals to yourself until they are assured, the power of an accountability partner or even a slightly larger mastermind group cannot be over looked.
Someone who is in your corner, is there to support you and brainstorm with you. Someone who celebrates your success and cheers you on when things get challenging. And someone with whom you can do the same for.
Choose wisely though. Make sure your accountability buddy is someone you trust, someone that you are happy to share and talk with, openly and honestly.
Of course, any of these tips can be put in to practise at any time, not just at the start of each New Year. In the end, resolutions and goals, whether we like them or not, are a great way to provide purpose and focus as we head in to the New Year.