There are very strong opinions for and against New Year’s resolutions. Some people hate the entire enterprise while others make resolutions every year, whether they succeed in achieving them or not. One thing is certain is that there is a very genuine attitude towards New Year’s resolutions. People are VERY excited to make a change. I think it’s a rude thing to do for people to shoot down people’s hopes at achieving their resolutions even if the overwhelming consensus is that most people don’t achieve the resolutions they set at the beginning of the year. I think people are very enthusiastic about wanting to make a change and crush their goals, but do not have the right system or approach to be successful in their endeavors.
Here are three tips that, in my opinion, will have a HUGE impact on whether or not you succeed in achieving your New Year’s resolutions.
1.) Start Small
The biggest reason people fail in achieving any type of goal is because they simply start too big. People get outcome focused and not approach focused. Meaning, they focus on the goal and not the path that is going to help them achieve that goal. If you haven’t gone to the gym in the past 10 years, it makes no sense to hold yourself accountable to all of the sudden going to the gym every day. Instead, try to go the gym once a week to start out. Or, just drive to the gym without making yourself even go in. Or, if you struggle making time for the gym, set your alarm an hour earlier and just wake up. Even if you don’t do anything when you wake up, at least you are starting to create a habit that will lead you in the direction of going to the gym. It is important to not get lost in the overall goal and get more focused on creating habits that will add to future success.
2.) Don’t Miss Twice
Okay, so I have sort of stole these first two from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, so go by his book if you want a deeper dive into habit formation. We are all human, which means we are inevitably going to screw up at some point in the process. The best thing to do when you miss a workout or fail to eat the right thing is to get right back on the path. Give yourself some grace and don’t let yourself fail at the next opportunity. Not letting yourself miss twice is a way of giving yourself some empathy for missing while also holding yourself accountable to get back on track at the next opportunity.
3.) Track Your Progress, or Un-progress
You will simply fail at what you don’t write down. Your brain is processing too much at any given time for a person to be able to track and keep everything sorted out in their own head. Tracking everything and writing everything down is a way to keep your goals in front of you. If you don’t do this, it is easy to get off track and unmotivated. Keeping a journal, a daily log, etc. will help you stay focused and committed to your goals. It is important to do this even if you are feeling a bit defeated. You may find that simply journaling and writing things out when you are failing will give you the motivation you need to get back on track. A lot of times are own minds are what get in the way of achieving our goals. Writing things out will help us declutter our minds and get us focused on what’s most important.
New Year’s resolutions can be hard to achieve because we like to pick big goals that we haven’t really spent the last portion of our life working towards. We want to make a change in that direction, but we haven’t yet built up good systems and habits to get us there. As the new year approaches set some reasonable goals, but don’t necessarily hold yourself accountable to the goal. Hold yourself accountable to the small, daily, actionable steps that are going to start creating the life you want to live.