It’s that time of the year again. The Turkey is finished and the presents have all been used, yep that’s right the New Year is nearly upon us. Every year you’ve probably told yourself you’re going to make new year resolutions and this year you’ll stick to them. And you never do. Don’t be ashamed nobody does. Everyone sits down and writes this huge list of all the things you’re going to do in the new year, and you end up living as somebody else for a week and then giving up.
I’m not saying New Years Resolutions are bad or that they never work I’m just saying that everyone takes the approach go hard or go home. And that isn’t always the best way to do that. New Year’s resolutions should be about self-improvement, not a new self
So how do you make New Year’s resolutions and stick to them?
The main trick is to set attainable goals. Have you ever heard of SMART Targets?
S – Specific
If you want to set a goal you need to have a specific idea of what that goal is. It’s no good saying ‘in the new year I want to make more money’ if you don’t know how much money you want to make or how you’re going to do it. If you set specific goals you’re more likely to care about them and work out how to achieve them
You can set all the goals you want but if you can’t measure them the likelihood is that you won’t ever feel like you’ve reached them and you’ll give up. For example, your New Years resolution could be that you want to lose weight. Which is fine. But how much weight do you want to lose? Because if you don’t set that goal and you get halfway through the year with no idea if you’re near your goal then you’ll probably give up. Of course, some goals can not always be measurable. You might decide that you just want to be happier in the new year, which is great, just make sure you have an idea of how you’re going to do it.
You can’t set goals that it is impossible to reach. You will end up tired and feeling like a failure. Lets stick with the losing weight goal. If you decide that you want to lose 4 stone in a month it’s simply never going to happen, you’ll end up not reaching the goal and giving up. Now I’m not saying that I know how much weight you can lose, that’s up to you and your body. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t set yourself goals you can’t achieve.
Related post: Setting goals that set you up for success: a guide
Similarly you need to be realistic with your goals. If you know that you are never ever going to be a morning person don’t tell yourself you’re going to go to a spin class every morning at 5:30. Keeping with that weight loss example, you might decide you’re going to eat healthier but that doesn’t mean that you should say you’re never ever going to eat chocolate again. Once again you will end up not reaching the goal and giving up.
You need to put a time limit on your goals. Otherwise, they are just dreams, maybe’s and one days. But once you set a time frame suddenly everything seems possible. If you say that by the middle of the year you’ll be halfway towards your goals then you are so much more likely to reach them!
And the other thing, you need to have a plan.
The example I’m going to use here is my own resolution. I want to create a successful blog. So I have done all the above, I have set what that looks like to me and when I want to be there and all of that. But now I need to action it. I could say that I want to create a successful blog but if I don’t write that’s never going to happen, so I have created a writing schedule full of post ideas and times when I want to post. If we go back to the weight loss example, a schedule for going to the gym and meal planning is necessary. Goals are only reached when there’s an action plan behind them.
Related post: Organising your planner: tips for success
So how do we use this information to Self-Improve? Well, we set ourselves one or two SMART goals. And then we work towards them. We don’t overload ourselves. We don’t try and become someone else. We just work little by little to make our lives and ourselves better.
Let me know what your New Years resolutions are in the comments!