With 2017 quickly approaching, it’s time to consider the things we want to change in our lives next year. For many of us, these aspirations come in the form of New Year’s resolutions. But keeping these resolutions often seems impossible.
Here are a few ways you can stick with yours.
1. Clearly Define Goals
The problem most people have is that they don’t set the right goals. In order to increase your chances of actually accomplishing your resolution, set SMART goals:
- Goals need to have specific outcomes. Otherwise, it’s easy to make up excuses or shift when circumstances change.
- You need to have a way of measuring your results. This way, you can gauge your progress and stay motivated.
- Goals need to be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you’ll lose focus and drop off early on in the process.
- Good goals are relevant. If a goal is irrelevant, you don’t really have any motivation to keep chasing it when your schedule gets busy.
- Goals should be time-bound. A goal needs to have a defined end date. In the case of a New Year’s resolution, this may be the middle of the year or the end of the year.
When you set SMART goals, suddenly your chances of accomplishing your resolution become much higher.
2. Set Check Points
It’s one thing to have a goal that says something like, “I want to lose 25 pounds by December 31, 2017.” It’s another thing to say, “I want to lose 2 pounds per month, every month this year.” The latter gives you something to work with. You need to lose 2 pounds every month, which keeps you on pace. If your only goal is to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, it’s easy to put things off until October or November (when it’s almost too late).
3. Keep a Calendar With Reminders
If you’re a visual person, you need to keep a calendar with reminders on it. Find a calendar that you like, hang it on your wall, and place little notes and progress reports on it. This allows you to look ahead and see what needs to be done during any given week or month in order to help you realize your resolution for the year.
4. Allow for Flexibility
One common problem people have is that they feel as if their resolutions are “all or nothing.” In other words, if the can’t fully check something off the list, they won’t do it at all. This is a dangerous way of thinking and you need to avoid it.
“The difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge,” leadership coach Kevin Kruse says. “If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can. If you have a slight cold or minor injury, decide to just walk the track for a couple miles. If you have a financial emergency and can’t save your full 10% this month, just save what you can. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.”
5. Have an Accountability Partner
The final tip is to have an accountability partner. When someone else is aware of your goals and resolutions, you’re much more likely to stick with them. Connect with someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable.
You Can Do It!
Keeping your New Year’s resolutions – especially one that’s mentally or physically challenging – can seem impossible. However, once you accomplish your first resolution, you’ll realize that it’s not only possible – it’s also rewarding and fun.
Follow these tips and you can be sure to make progress with your resolutions in 2017.
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