Living with New Year’s Resolutions

New-Year-Goals-2893600There seem to be two camps when it comes to making New Year Resolutions. There are those of us who make resolutions each year regardless of our belief that we’ll succeed or fail. Then there are others who refuse to make even one resolution, because they’re absolutely certain they’ll never be able to stick to it for an entire twelve months. The prevailing opinion is, why bother? Whether you love or loathe them, resolutions can be good tools to set goals and help form a plan for your career or for your family. The trick is making them stick.

1. Write It Down – It sounds old fashioned, doesn’t it? However, it’s absolutely necessary. Setting something down on paper in black and white is the crucial building block to making your resolutions stay with you. Permanent ink symbolizes the conviction of what you want to achieve, and writing and seeing your intention for the New Year in print, your handwriting specifically, will aid in believing that you’ll do it. This is particularly helpful if you post the resolutions by your desk or in your workspace where you can see them as a daily visual reminder of what you’re going to achieve. The best phrase for this stage is, write it down and make it happen!

2. Intentions vs Resolutions – Often our resolutions fail because they come from a place of judgment. We want to lose weight, because we feel fat. We want a raise, because money is tight. In both these examples, the thoughts are critical and the accompanying feelings are negative. It can feel like you’re beginning from a failing position which won’t help keep your motivation or spirits high. Instead try setting an intention.

An intention includes the feelings around the goal. If your goal is weight loss, then set the intention of losing weight and fitting into a smaller size of clothing. Imagine how it will feel to wear those smaller clothes, and how you’ll love looking in the mirror every day. Creating the intention of losing the weight automatically lends itself to fostering a positive experience around it. It can include the feelings of eating better, having more energy, and incorporating more physical activity. The intention is broad and extends beyond the goal of losing weight. And if you can feel how amazing the goal will be, then you’re already partway there.

3. Make a Plan – All successful people make plans. It’s the best way to connect the place where you are to the vision of where you want to be. Outlining the steps between the “now” and goal you want to achieve is a necessary part of the process. Remember to take baby steps and to make them realistic. If your goal is to self-publish a book, for example, there are many steps between having the idea of what you want to write and the final step of self-publishing it. And if you don’t know exactly what those steps may be, there’s always Google. Regardless of your goal, you’ll need to know the steps to get there in order to achieve it.

4. Be Forgiving – Be kind to yourself and remember that there is no “right” way to accomplish a resolution. There may be setbacks as you follow the steps of your plan, but at the same time, there will be alternate paths to get to the end result. You may also experience days or weeks of not doing anything to further your progress. Instead of punishing yourself and ditching the entire resolution, take a baby step. A definite way to raise your motivation is to write about how it’s going to feel when you make the goal and what your life will look like when you do. We’re human and fallible. Forgive yourself for falling off the path and then get back on it. You’ll thank yourself this time next year.