How many times have you told yourself that this year you’re going to finally lose that weight or quit smoking or look for a better job? How often do you carry over your New Year’s resolutions from one year to the next? If you’re like most people, you come up with a long wish list of things you want to improve and try your best to make them happen during the year.
The problem is that not even a month goes by before you’ve already forgotten about most of your goals and are back to your old habits again. There are a few simple things you can do though, to help you stick to your plan.
One of the biggest reasons we fail to accomplish our New Year’s resolutions is that we tend to set unrealistic goals. Wanting to lose 100 pounds and make more money and get organized and quit smoking all at the same time probably isn’t going to be very effective. To help you stick to your goals, you should pick one or two really important things you want to work on and focus exclusively on those, instead of trying to completely reinvent yourself in one year.
Also, be sure that your goal is actually attainable. If you have a heart condition and are in terrible physical shape and your goal is to climb Mount Everest before the end of the year, you may be in for some serious disappointment. This is not to say that you can’t set goals that really challenge you physically and mentally. It is simply important to be honest with yourself in regards to what you can and can’t accomplish. The last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure.
The next big problem is that most of our goals aren’t specific enough. While it may be okay to write “lose weight” on your New Year’s resolution list, this doesn’t tell you anything about how much weight or how you’re going to lose this weight. In order to make your resolution more effective, you need to be specific about what you want to accomplish. A better resolution may be “to lose 1 pound a month throughout the year,” or “to go to the gym at least twice a week before work.” The more specific you are about your goal, the more solidified it will be in your mind.
Be Task Oriented
It’s great to want to lose weight, but how are you going to accomplish it? I can almost guarantee you that the weight’s not just going to melt off of you on its own. So, what do you need to do to make this goal a reality? For each resolution you have on your list, write at least ten action items that you must do to accomplish your goal. Here is a sample list to help you get started.
Resolution: “Lose 1 pound a month throughout the year”
One of the reasons people fail with their resolutions is that they don’t adequately foresee the obstacles they may face along the way.
You won’t always hit your mark on the first try. As soon as you realize that you’ll most likely have some good days along with some bad days, you can stop beating yourself up when you’re in a slump. Forgive yourself when you stray off the path and find ways to encourage yourself to get right back on. Blaming or feeling negatively towards yourself will only make matters worse and make it harder to finish what you so boldly started. Instead, figure out what got in your way and come up with a revised plan of action to achieve your goal.
This is the most important thing to remember. All that we do in life is in vain if we’re not happy. If you’re absolutely miserable doing your resolution, you’ll not only find it more difficult to stick to, you’ll also build up more resentment towards it. This in turn, will make you even less likely to ever finish the goal. Of course, some times we have to do something for health reasons that may seem terrible in the short term, but that will bring happiness at a later time. I believe strongly that to accomplish anything in this world, you have to have the right attitude. Life is short and you should choose resolutions that will enhance your life by making you healthier and happier.
As the Vulcan saying goes, “Live long and prosper.”