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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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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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