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6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions

6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions
New Year Resolutions

    (Photo by brungrrl)

    The end of the year is always a good time for me to review my resolutions and take stock of what I have done over the past year.

    However, for some people, reviewing New Year resolutions can be a painful affair. Some of you may have goals unaccomplished. A resolution review is just a stark reminder of how little you have achieved. You may feel guilty and disappointed about your lack of discipline to follow through on your goals. As much as possible, you will want to avoid being reminded of these little failings.

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    From this perspective, I can certainly empathize with how painful this exercise can be. I can also understand why some people think that setting New Year resolutions is just a crap idea; it’s simply setting yourself up for lots of disappointment later on.

    I believe in setting New Year resolutions, though, and I have being doing this for the past 6 years. This yearly exercise has contributed much to improving my life; it gives me a sense of direction as I go about my daily activities. Before this, my life without goals was like sailing without a destination – you leave it to the wind to bring you to wherever you end up at. We only live once, and I don’t like to leave the outcomes of my life to chance.

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    Having said that, most of the time, I don’t achieve all my goals. I do achieve a good portion of my goals but there are always some I don’t achieve. I feel that there is nothing wrong with missing out on your resolutions and it is simply a matter of perspective. Today I like to offer some tips to help you review your New Year Resolutions guilt-free:

    1. Stop Beating Yourself Up! Most personal development literature tells us to set goals and go out there to achieve it. None tells us to set goals, leave it there and forget it. As such, the mentality of people setting goals is that we must achieve the goals or we would have failed. When we don’t achieve our goals, the resulting emotions are guilt, disappointment and a sense of failure. As such, it’s natural for resolution reviews to turn into a stressful affair. With such a perspective, I cannot imagine what else it can be. My advice – stop beating yourself up! I guess this has much to do with the inculcation of our education system – you either pass or you fail. No, resolution review doesn’t have to be this way. There are many reasons why you don’t achieve your goals, and not all of them are due to your personal failure. Let’s take a look at some of them next.
    2. Don’t Make Too Many Big Resolutions In this world filled with options, it’s easy for us to get distracted. You may have set too many resolutions at the spur of the moment and ended up with a long laundry list for the year. With so many goals to achieve, how much time and attention can you realistically commit to each? If you stretch yourself too thin, then you’ll only stress yourself out and disappoint yourself more when you have worked so hard and achieved so little. I believe it’s realistic to have only two to three major resolutions and less than ten minor ones for the entire year. A major resolution is any project that may take months of effort to complete. As such, by doing two to three, you’ve already taken up a good portion of the year.
    3. Do You REALLY Want That Resolution? The next question to ask yourself is if you really want to achieve that resolution. What will achieving that resolution mean to you? How will that make you feel? Successful people are successful because they focus on a small number of important goals at a time and worked really hard at it until they achieve the results that they want. If they are easily distracted by the next big-hit sensational opportunity or passing fad, then they wouldn’t have achieved the same level of success.
    4. Wrong Place, Wrong Time. OK, what if you have been focused and yet you’re still not achieving your goals? Look at the circumstances you’re in. Other than hard work, external elements also play a part to your success. If you are operating in an environment which is not in favor of your resolutions, then you’ll have a lesser chance of achieving it. Simply said, you are at the wrong place and the wrong time if you can’t answer “yes” to at least one, and preferably all, of these questions:
      1. Do you have a support group to discuss ideas and which provides morale support?
      2. Do you have access to the relevant knowledge, skills, experiences to achieve your resolutions?
      3. Are people around you in favor of your resolution – in opinion and in actions?
    5. Connect The Dots. Don’t view resolution review as a test where you either pass or fail. Personally, I use the resolution review as a self-discovery exercise to know myself better. As highlighted in earlier points, there are many reasons why you don’t achieve your resolutions and not all of them are about your failings as an individual. For those goals that you achieve, how did you manage to achieve them? Likewise, ask the same questions for those you didn’t achieve. Over time, you can see a trend in the things that you achieve, and the things that you always seem to miss. Perhaps, it’s simply not important enough, or you’re not in an environment conducive to this goal or it is simply not leveraging your strengths.

      Reviewing your resolutions allows you to connect the dots, which in turn, allows you to look forward with more self-knowledge and confidence.

    6. Drop Irrelevant Goals. Once you are able to connect the dots, you will start to see that some goals are just not meant to be. It’s not because you are not disciplined enough to follow through or that you are a failure; it’s just not meant to be. If you are not as smart as Einstein or as techno-savvy as Steve Jobs, you don’t have to feel bad about it, you are here for a different reason. There is certainly something else greater which is meant for you. By dropping unsuitable and irrelevant goals, you can focus on the more important ones relevant to you. So feel free to drop resolutions if they’re not suitable – guilt-free and honestly.

    View Your Resolutions in a New Light

    Learning how to view resolution review in a new light is fundamental to making this a consistent habit.

    I’m not saying that it’s ok to give up on your goals easily and find excuses to let yourself off the hook. I’m just saying that we have to be smarter about reviewing our resolutions – and sometimes this means going easy on yourself and reviewing the circumstances in its entirety, not just at your own failings.

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    When you step back and widen your perspective, you will be able to make a better judgment if the goal is worth pursuing in the first place. If it isn’t, drop it without guilt and move on to something else. If it is important, ask yourself why you aren’t achieving it and how you can do better in the New Year. Beating yourself up just ain’t going to get you anywhere!

    I wish you happy holidays and have a happy review!

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    More by this author

    Lawrence Cheok

    Lawrence writes about living a balance life and provide tips for improving your career.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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