Everyone loves a solid New Year’s Resolution, am I right? It feels good to set goals. And there’s something about the new year that gives us motivation to do it. But here’s the thing— the whole “new year, new you” thing only works if you truly set your mind to it. Because the change of the calendar year doesn’t change our habits, our mindsets, and our beliefs. If you want to stick to a New Year’s Resolution, you have to be determined. And once you are determined, you have to make your goals seem realistic. Because an unrealistic goal is the number one recipe for goal failure.
If you want to ring in the New Year as a brand new you, here are some valuable tips and tools to help you do so.
Set goals within reach.
If you don’t set goals that are attainable, you are more likely to give up. Not only that, you are likely to get frustrated and even angry. If you want to lose sixty pounds, that’s great. But you’re better off to give yourself a goal of losing ten. When you lose five, you’ll be halfway there. And then you’ll be all the more motivated to lose five more. Let’s say you have a goal of finishing a publishing a book. Set smaller goals to finish chapters or prepare proposals. Want to clean up your diet? Set a goal every two weeks to eliminate something (if you are like me that could be your sugar addiction or desperate need for cheese).
Whatever your goals are, make sure they are actually possible. There’s nothing worse than feeling like something just isn’t possible. And on the other hand, there’s nothing better than far surpassing your goals. Give yourself an added boost of encouragement as you make your New Year’s Resolutions. If you feel like you can meet your goal, you probably will.
Don’t get lazy.
I know that is easier said than done. But seriously, we all do it. We set HUGE goals and go head on with our tails lit… for a week. Then we relax a bit and start eating hamburgers and French fries to reward ourselves. Before we know it we are right back where we started. Give yourself daily reminders of your goals. The more we can remember why we are making changes, the more likely we are to pursue the end result. Some would say to not be strict, but I disagree. When I have a huge goal in mind, it helps me to be pretty rigid. I stay on top of my goals, and that brings results. When I relax, I tend to let things slip.
Now, this brings us back to number one. When you set goals that are within reach, it doesn’t feel so harsh to be rigid. When you have mammoth size goals, it feels like you are punishing yourself. To eliminate sugar alone is not so terrible. But if you tell yourself you can’t have sugar, dairy, meat, grains, or fun— you are likely to feel like you are in prison. And when you feel that way, you are more likely to just quit. Having goals that are attainable makes it so that you can be strict in those areas, but still feel like you are enjoying your life.
Reward yourself appropriately.
Alright, hear me out on this one.
I think it’s so great to reward good behavior. But I think rewards need to be appropriate. When you set a New Year’s Resolution (or any strong goal), the last thing you need is to treat yourself with the very thing you are trying to eliminate. This obviously up for debate, but I know that when I am eliminating sugar, that’s the worst possible way to reward myself. If I go a week with no sugar at all, I am usually starting to feel pretty good and like I don’t need it. If I reward myself with a big rocky road ice cream cone, nine times out of ten I am going to start craving that all over again. What’s the point in that? When I am trying to eliminate sugar, I need to reward myself in other areas. Maybe it’s a popcorn and movie night with my husband, or maybe I need to treat myself to a sweater I have had my eye on. But the last thing I need is to intentionally walk head on into the very temptation I am battling.
We can all use rewards to motivate us, but just need to make sure the rewards don’t cause us to go one step forward and two steps back. Reward yourself wisely and appropriately.
Be kind to yourself.
Seriously, y’all. I really mean it. I think more times than not we have this idea of eight million things we want to change about ourselves. We use the New Year as a solid explanation for those changes— because everyone makes a New Year’s resolution. But it really has nothing to do with the New Year. It has everything to do with all the things we don’t like about ourselves or our lives. And yes, it’s good to better ourselves. But it’s not good to beat up on ourselves in the name of “goal setting.” As strong as any of us may be, we still have our weaknesses. And we are likely to struggle with things we want to improve.
There’s nothing worse than going into a New Year with bad motivations. If we can set our New Year’s resolution with a sound mind and from a place of self-love, we are far more likely to succeed. So be kind to yourself this New Year. Set goals because you love yourself. Set goals because you love your life and want to improve it. Don’t set goals because you hate your body or your house or your relationships. Because no amount of goals will make you love yourself anymore than you already do. But loving yourself just might help you reach your goals.
Happy New Year from my family to yours!
Ps.. need some more goal setting tips? Read this article!