2014 has come and gone, for some the year was difficult and couldn’t have passed fast enough. For others it was like a dream and saying good-bye was bitter sweet. Whatever your 2014 looked like, here you are in 2015, another new year in front of you and new aspirations and dreams you would like to see realized, and with the right approach those dreams will become your reality this time next year.
We’ve all been there before, thinking “this year I am going to do it! This will be my best year yet!” Or maybe you just want to recover from the year before, shooting for better instead of best. Resolutions can be fun and inspiring, but often they loose their luster right about February. January holds strong but after the first couple of weeks countless resolutioners fall off the change wagon.
So how to you make a resolution that sticks?
- Be realistic
When changes need to be made, having an achievable goal is crucial. Big pie in the sky ideas are fun and seem grand but they are pie in the sky for a reason – they stay in the sky and can’t be reached. Find something that you can actually accomplish in a year or can see yourself doing every day. If you want to decrease the stress in your life by meditating for an hour each day and changing nothing else, I hate to break it to you but you will be disappointed and just as stressed as ever. However, to start cutting out unnecessary stressors in your life a little bit at a time will lead to a calmer lifestyle.
- Be specific
General statements are nothing more than general statements and they will get you nowhere. Picking one thing that is a priority to change and really fleshing out what the change will look like and how to get there is the best way to realize the change. Loosing weight doesn’t magically happen because you wish it to happen. It happens with specific dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and consistency. Weight loss is successful when there is a plan for achieving that. Is it 5 lbs. or is it 20? When do you want to loose it by? What foods need to be eliminated from the diet and what foods need to be introduced? What physical activity needs to be present every week? Definition folks – that’s how you’ll now what you are changing and how you are going to do it!
- Build in deadlines/benchmarks
Do you remember back to when you were in school and all of a sudden you had 4 papers and 2 tests all the same week and you had no idea how you were going to get everything done and get in some studying? It is a terrible feeling and can be completely overwhelming. Gradual progression towards a goal is much less overwhelming than having everything dumped on you all at once. Build in small goals to achieve the bigger overall goal, this shows progress and forward movement – so much more encouraging! Going on a big trip is much more doable when each month you commit to saving so many dollars that will add up to your trip budget when the time arrives. Running a 5K can be dangerous for your body without training, but committing to running a little more each day will prepare you for the 5K. There are a lot of cool programs out there that lay out weekly goals/benchmarks for common resolutions, like the Couch Potato to 5K in 8 weeks and others. Have fun finding programs that others have been successful using!
- Have accountability
When you keep something to yourself no one can encourage you or help you through the tough times. That is why support groups exist at all, accountability and support! Keeping resolutions to yourself take the opportunity away from your friends and family to be your cheerleaders. On top of that, doing things alone is a little scary and not nearly as much fun. When you have decided what your goal is and found markers to track your progress look around and see who would be up for doing it with you or who will ask you about it every week or so. Maybe a friend or family member would like to make the same change and you can both work on it together.
- Make your changes for you, not someone else
When I work with clients I always ask some form of the question “What brings you here?” Sometimes I hear “I don’t know, my (insert family member here) made me come.” Well, those clients never stick and doing accomplish much at all. They aren’t doing something for themselves; they are being pushed to do something for someone else. Changes that are a part of someone else’s agenda are changes that only that person can address – you can only address the changes that are on your agenda. When being pushed to doing something someone else wants there is often guilt, shame, or blame. This trio is the enemy of change and they are very damaging. Examine your goals and make changes that are meaningful to you. You will be more successful and more fulfilled!
Have you had a successful resolution? What are your goals for this coming year? Share your thoughts with us!1
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