I’m not big into making New Year’s resolutions myself. When I feel my life is in need of a change I start then and there. Lots of my long term goals and dreams that actually will be coming true this year started last May and June and there are always new things about myself I would like to work on – if I waited for all of it to start January 1 I would have missed opportunities and it may have all been far to intimidating to tackle it at all.
Nonetheless many look to the New Year for a fresh start (and despite what I said there is one new habit I would like to develop starting January 1, which I’ll tell you about later). A fresh new chapter in our lives. Too often it’s a fairy tale chapter of all the wonderful things our life will be with the changes they will make. All too often that fairy tale bubble bursts by Valentine’s Day.
According to Time Magazine, the most commonly broken resolutions are:
So how can we make our resolutions stick?
Don’t overdo it. Choose only one to three resolutions to start with. Tackling too many resolutions is certainly going to lead to failure (if being less stressed was one of them you are actually going to set yourself up for more stress). All three resolutions don’t have to start at the same time either. Staggering them out through the year can make it more manageable as well.
Decide on your WHY. Why is it important to change that? Is it simple it would be nice to do or is there a real need that deeply affects the quality of your life? For example, you want to drink less. Is it because you spend too many Sundays with a hangover or is it because your relationships, your work or your health are on the line because of your drinking? The latter is surely a more compelling WHY, which will more likely make you stick with it.
Set realistic goals. If you want to travel to new places, but are racked with debt, now is not the time to plan a trip to Australia. Likewise, don’t expect to lose 50 pounds in two months (by the way, healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs/week, so 15 lbs in two months is more realistic).
Set specific goals – specific in time frame to complete, specific in quantity, specific in actions to take. Remember these should all be realistic. For example you want to save $2000 for a trip to Disney World in March - it is specific, but is it realistic? Can you save $2000 in three months? Make it more realistic – Save $2000 for a trip to Disney World next Christmas. You have 50 weeks to save! So open a special bank account and put in $40 each week.
Make it enjoyable. Want to exercise more? Don’t get lured into the gyms unless you know they have something you would enjoy doing. If you like the idea of lifting weights, fine. But that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe a group class, but which one? A Zumba class might be more fun. It feels less like exercise and more of a party and that may be the thing you need to keep you moving. Volunteering? Serving at a soup kitchen, though very noble, may not be for you. As a singer, perhaps you can sing at shelters or nursing homes instead. Don’t underestimate the gift of your music.
Get an accountability partner. You are more likely to stick with it if you have someone to be accountable to. This could be a friend or family member. It can be someone that will join you in making those changes in their own lives or just someone with whom you’ve shared your goal. You can join an online accountability group where there will be other likeminded people with whom you can share your journey. It can be a trainer or wellness coach like me (I work with people online in accountability groups and one on one) or other professional as required (example – financial planner).
Make an appointment with yourself. Write it in your calendar. Exercise time. Meal planning time. Family time. Time for budgeting and going over accounts. If it’s scheduled you are more likely to do it.
Reassess frequently. Every month take a look at where you’re at with your goal. Is it moving forward? Do you need to tweak your action plan? Can you make further improvements on this goal? Is it time to start on the next resolution on your list?
Remember any resolution you make is making a new habit and it doesn’t happen magically. It will require work and dedication. Sometimes it requires the breaking of old bad habits, which is sometimes the greatest challenge. But it will be so worth it when you come to next New Year and can reflect on what you accomplished in the past 12 months. If you need help with nutrition, health, fitness or weight loss goals, the free Vibrant Body Vibrant Voice Facebook community would be a great place to start!
And what’s my resolution, for one who doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions? It took this past week with a Christmas Day bout of stomach flu and convalescence through this week where I made use of the adult coloring book my daughter gave me, I read books for pleasure and not just knowledge and self-improvement and allowed myself a couple of Netflix marathons to realize that it’s ok to slow down and not to be constantly thinking about my next project. So my resolution is to savor the quiet moments without guilt.
Happy New Year! May this year bring you all the blessings you deserve!!!