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10 Killer Ways to Rock the New Year by Making Resolutions that You’ll Really Keep

10 Killer Ways to Rock the New Year by Making Resolutions that You’ll Really Keep

You know the drill—it’s always the same. Every New Year, millions of people get all ramped up to start the New Year off with a bang, setting all kinds of resolutions, making all sorts of promises to themselves and others, and by the beginning of February, the only thing that’s banging is their heads against the wall.

new year resolution

    Things really shouldn’t be this way, but alas, for most of us, they are. It’s not that we don’t want to make changes in our lives, but most of us are unaware of how keying into a few old-school tactics can help us to rock a new year in with resolutions we’ll actually keep. Here’s the secret: there is no special formula; no magic wand to wave over ourselves that will transform us into rock stars that actually do what we say, and no, there isn’t a pill for it yet either.

    The secret is this: it takes good old fashioned American work to succeed at anything!

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    It may be a New Year, but you’re the same you, and if you want to rock the New Year in with some killer success strategies that’ll stick, you have to be willing to work hard and believe you can make it happen. Here are ten strategies that will help get you on track, and keep you there:

    #1 Persevere

    Most people are gung-ho at the beginning of the year, all “Yippee!Go get em! Live the dream, set new goals, lose that flab, and get that makeover”, but hype won’t get you anywhere. That’s why most of us fail to do much of anything. The only thing that will work for you—whether you’re trying to lose weight, start a new business, or set new goals—is to realize that anything of value, anything that’s worthwhile takes time and perseverance to achieve. There are no shortcuts. No guts, no glory.

    #2 Dig Deep

    Most of us fail at keeping our resolutions because we lack passion, we’re too general in defining our goals, and we’ve had way too many failures on the front end of things. In other words, we expect to fail. To succeed, you have to dig deep and find out what’s really important to you. People who are passionate about what they’re doing don’t burn out as easily. That doesn’t mean they don’t get tired; it means they something more powerful is driving them. This could be a cause, a belief, a need, or the love of something. Find your own passion, and there will be no stopping you.

    #3 Give

    Most people who are successful pour into the lives of others. They’re generous with their time, and they want to build value for others. If you want to succeed in anything, learn to be a giver: don’t think about what’s in it for you—think about giving others what they need, and everything else will fall into place.

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    #4 Build

    Don’t overlook the importance of building relationships. Whether you’re working on a new business, trying to lose weight, or trying for that promotion, relationships can provide the client base or support you need.

    #5 Get Counsel

    Successful people are always learning: they look to other successful people to mentor them they are teachable, and they don’t try to re-invent the wheel.

    #6 Invest

    Whatever you want to do, you have to invest in it. That means time, money and plenty of effort. Buy the right food if you’re trying to lose weight and make a lifestyle change. It may be more expensive to go organic, but you’re worth it. Spend the money on that great online course by a reputable teacher; you can’t make money if you won’t invest it your own business. You have to be willing to do things others won’t do.

    #7 Think Positively

    We’ve heard this one forever, but how many of us actually do it? Most people aren’t aware of how their negative internal monologues affect their abilities. Start noticing what you tell yourself on a daily basis: if you’re prone to negative self-talk, learn to replace it by building positive counter-statements. For a list of thinking errors to watch out for consider this:

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    Nothing keeps you from reaching your goals like stinkin’ thinkin’.

    #8 Write it Down

    Don’t skip this exercise! Get a piece of paper and write down a list of what is motivating you to lose the weight, continue with your writing, start a blog, create a new business, or whatever else you may be wanting to do in the New Year. You can do this on 3 x 5 cards. When your motivation waxes and wanes, pull ’em out and read them—slowly. If you want to lose weight and you’re tempted to overeat, remind yourself why this is an important lifestyle change for you. Ask yourself the following:

    • How do you want to feel about yourself at the end of the day?
    • Will this action help or hinder your ability to reach your goals?
    • What do you need to do to re-focus on the bigger picture?
    • What next steps might you need to take to do that?
    • How will you plan for future obstacles?

    #9 Never Give Up

    Winston Churchill said this years ago, but it still holds true: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Most successful people have seen the bottom drop out plenty of times, but they suck it up and keep going anyway. When you want to quit, just take a break, regroup and come back into it when you feel ready.

    #10 Change Perspective

    When trouble or difficulty arise it’s easy to get discouraged: those last ten pounds that won’t come off, the rejection of another article, or the financial hit the new business took, for example. Discouragement can lead to despair—no bueno! Try looking at the obstacles through the lens of possibility, and see your challenges as opportunities for new growth or a change of direction. If you throw the towel in, you’re done.

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    So, now that you’re aware of some old tried-and-true ways to make your New Year’s resolutions stick, what the heck are you waiting for? Bring in 2013 with a bang!

    Back at you: What have you tried that’s helped you to turn a New Years resolution into a reality?

     

     

     

    More by this author

    Rita Schulte LPC

    Licensed Professional Counselor

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

    Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

    In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Step right up, don’t be shy!

    Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

    The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

    Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

    Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
    So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

    A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

    Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

    Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

    When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

    Culturally Conditioned

    We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

    I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

    The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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    Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

    Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

    Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

    1. Broadens Your Network

    After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

    2. Improves Your Communication Skills

    I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

    Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

    3. Continually Learning

    So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

    Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

    4. Increases Self Confidence

    Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

    Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

    So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

    How to Talk to Strangers

    Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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    1. Say Hello

    Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

    Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

    Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

    2. Ask About Them

    Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

    You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

    As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

    3. Just Do It

    One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

    When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

    Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

    4. Don’t Take It Personal

    One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

    When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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    5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

    I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

    One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

    6. Detach

    A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

    Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

    7. Share Your Stories

    Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

    To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

    So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

    8. Give a Compliment

    Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

    When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

    9. Relax Your Body Language

    If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

    When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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    If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

    10. Practice, Practice, Practice

    Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

    Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

    After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

    The Bottom Line

    As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

    There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

    Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

    Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

    More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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