Every year, some of us do the same thing…..after the Christmas binge and upcoming New Year. We repeat the same mantra – New Year, New Start. So, hoping to spark a positive change we create lists of New Year’s Resolutions. There are some recurring themes each year; a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development. And for some it’s to find love and hopefully build a future with a partner.
So here at Two’s Company we’ve compiled a list of Resolutions and some tips on how to follow through with them throughout the year. Chances are, some may look familiar to you:
- Exercise more
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Live life to the fullest
- Save more money / spend less money
- Quit smoking
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Travel more
- Read more
More often than not, once the glow of a fresh new year wears off, we struggle to make good on their plans. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful.
If you want to realize your New Year’s resolution this year, follow these 10 steps:
- Mentally prepare for change
Changing habits is no easy task, so before diving head-first into your New Year’s resolution, it is important to take a step back and get ready for that impending change. Being that it’s the end of one year and the beginning of the next; it’s perfect timing to take stock in the past year’s accomplishments. Think about the following:
- What did I set out to do in the past year?
- Where did I make progress?
- Where didn’t I see progress?
Naturally, we all focus on areas that lack progress, but don’t forget the progress made, and find some small way to celebrate. Those happy feelings are useful!
You need to keep upbeat with your new resolution, so remember the progress previously made to remind you of those good feelings when you are feeling challenged.
As you start thinking about the changes you want to implement, make sure to do the following:
Try not to make big/quick changes
- Change should be gradual
- Build on smaller changes
- Allow a little room for error
- Stay positive
- Set a goal that motivates you
You’d be surprised how often we all set goals that are not for ourselves!. These goals could be dictated or coerced by a manager, spouse, or parental / peer pressure. While it’s nice to have some external support, if you don’t share the same passion, the resolution has a small chance of succeeding and could even be dead on arrival.
To do this, you need to make sure the goal you set is important to you and only you and that there is value or benefit for you in achieving the goal. It is these two things that will provide the reason and willingness to take action. This is also known as motivation!
- Limit resolutions to a manageable amount
A common mistake in resolution setting is having too many and spreading yourself too thin. We all want to read a book a month, learn 15 new skills, get fit and eliminate 5 bad habits, but we are not superheroes. We only have so much attention span we can dedicate to self-improvement, so having too many resolutions is a great way not to achieve the many goals you have set out for yourself.
So, make a short list of resolutions that you can manage in the upcoming year. Knowing that short list of priorities is the hard part. The key here is understanding how to prioritize.
Here is an exercise that you can undertake to help you figure out what is most important in your life. All you need is a post-it pad, a pen, and a wall.
- Write anything you want to accomplish for self-improvement purposes on a post-it
- Each post-it only gets one discreet tactic
- Place each post-it on the wall
- Go crazy – use as many post-its as possible
- Group together similar post-its
- Place the topics you feel strongly about at the top of the wall
- Put the topics you feel “meh” about on the bottom
- Spend a lot of time thinking about the order of the first 3-5 post-it (groups)
#8 is the most time-consuming, because it will determine what resolutions you are going to take on this year. The final piece of the puzzle here is knowing your limitations and personal bandwidth. With that in mind, you should focus on your top priorities while balancing how much attention you can honestly devote to a resolution.
Final thought: It’s better to tackle one resolution well than multiple resolutions poorly. Close your eyes and think forward to this time next year – where do you want to be, who do you want to have with you and what will make you feel happy and content that you achieved the most.