It’s that time of year again, where we relax a little (a lot) on our diet, cringe at the sight of our credit card statement, and our gym cards are… not sure, hiding at the bottom of our dusty gym bag.
It’s also apparently the time for #NewYearNewYou.
The New Year brings with it the feeling of a fresh start and the chance to make the change you’ve been thinking about for months. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know I’m all for goals, self-improvement; all that jazz.
New Years Resolutions, on the other hand: when they’re made thoughtlessly and for the sake of it, not so much.
While I do think about what I want to achieve in the year to come, I also don’t like the idea of waiting until New Years Day to make a bunch of vague, non-committal promises to myself, and then a month later losing interest.
Don’t get me wrong, making commitments for positive change is a fantastic thing – I just want to keep it real.
So, I thought I’d share here my thoughts on how to make New Years Resolutions worthwhile, and how to make them relevant all year round, not just for the month of January.
They need to mean something to you
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of New Years Resolutions; everyone is talking about them and it seems we’re obligated to have at least one resolution of our own.
But don’t set a resolution just because you feel you should. Set aside some time to really think about the things you want to achieve or do better.
If it resonates as something you truly want to do, you’ll be far more likely to commit the effort to making real change.
Make them actionable
I Googled New Years Resolutions, and the most common ones I came across seemed to be:
- Be healthier
- Drink less
- Save more
These resolutions seem so vague and immeasurable that if they were mine, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’d probably give up Day Two.
Instead, we need to reframe them. They could become:
- Go to the gym 3 times a week
- Drink no more than 2 standard drinks at any event
- Create a budget to save 10% of my salary
Instead of your resolutions floating about as a dream, they become an action. Something you can target and achieve.
Split up your goal into manageable chunks
A goal across an entire year is likely to be fairly substantial, and not something you can necessarily achieve in a week. Have a think about the steps you need to take to reach your goal, and make smaller, manageable goals that you can focus on weekly or monthly.
Track your progress. If you want to get fitter, choose a fitness goal and track your personal best each month. Seeing the improvements, however incremental they are, will be rewarding and give you a short-term focus.
Change doesn’t happen overnight
It’s so easy – and tempting! – to set big goals. If you set big goals, then I would congratulate you, because big goals mean ambition and I LOVE that.
But remember also that change doesn’t happen quickly. We lose heart after a week when we don’t see massive changes; old habits tend to ambush us in the night and all of a sudden we’re back to where we started.
Breaking up your goal into smaller steps means you can slowly tick off, achieve, and celebrate. Chip away slowly and stick with it; record your progress. And then at the end of 2018, you’ll see your achievements stack up and that New Years Resolution could be a reality.