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10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True

10 Tips For Making New Year’s Resolutions Come True

New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing, aren’t they? Everyone gets together and promises that this year they’re going to do better. They’re going to achieve this, change that and ultimately be fulfilled by the end of the year. Then the booze and excitement of the night before wears off. Reality hits. That goal you just saw the New Year in with, that seemed feasible, now seems like an overwhelmingly large mountain to climb. Sure, you might try and stick to it. Maybe even keep it up for a couple of weeks. Then life has its way of taking over, and eventually you give up. “I’ll try again next year,” you comfort yourself with. Wouldn’t it be great if you could change that? If you could set a New Year’s resolution and actually stick to it? How incredible would it feel to set a goal, put in the work, and achieve it? You don’t have to wonder. You can do it.

This year can be your year of change. It can be the year that you actually achieve your resolutions. Want to know how? Of course you do, you wouldn’t be reading otherwise. So here it is, 10 tips you can use to set a goal and achieve it.

1. Tell People about Your Resolutions

By telling people about your resolutions, you are consciously committing to them. Just think about it: If you’ve told someone you’re going to do something, people are going to be expecting you to do it. You’ve not just made the commitment to you, you’ve made it to everyone you’ve told.

Another nice benefit of telling people about your resolutions is the support that comes with it. When the right people know about your resolution, they’ll stand behind you in achieving it. They’ll act as a support net, to spur you on even when you think you can’t do it. This may seem to contradict what some scientists including Derek Sivers say, but if you read this article from an inspiration expert, you will see that what Sivers and others meant actually correlates with this point.

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2. Clarify Your Resolutions

Ensure that your resolution can be actively tracked. Take, for example, a resolution of reading more. This is too vague. How will you know when you’ve achieved this goal? Will you be satisfied with reading a book once a month? A week? A day? The only way to know if you’ve achieved your resolution is by clarifying them so that they’re achievable.

If you want to read more, then you’re far better off setting a tangible and achievable goal — such as reading two books a month. You can track your progress, you’ll know if you’ve slacked on it, and you’ll know if you’ve achieved it! As thought-leader Michael Hyatt once explained, the clarification of goals makes them seem more feasible in your mind. You can find a very well-written post by him, on clarifying goals (in writing) here.

3. Make a Plan

Tying into point 2, about clarifying them. Once clarified, you can then create a plan to break down the clarified goal into smaller sub-goals that you can achieve daily. If you imagine your resolution as small, actionable steps, the achievement of the goal becomes a lot more feasible in your head.

Take the reading example. If you want to read 100 books a year, that could seem pretty overwhelming. If you break that down to reading one book every 4 days, it becomes a lot more realistic. This way you can also actively monitor your progress, and you’ll know whether or not you’re on target to meet it. You can find a great post explaining how setting goals helps, as well as how to adequately plan them, over at MindTools.

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4. Re-Frame Your Resolutions

Your resolution should not be putting you down. Don’t allow your resolution to become a passive way of saying, “I won’t be good enough until I achieve this.” This is a sure-fire way to become demotivated by the idea of achieving them, and can really get you down in the long-run. Take a new perspective on goals. Remind yourself that you’re good enough, each and every day and that your goals are just serving as a means to be better. You’re not doing it to be enough, you’re doing it to be MORE. That’s the kind of perspective that really begins to push your preconceived limits.

5.  Stop focusing on the end result

As Jeff Haden beautifully broke down in a post you can find here, when we commit to a goal, we really should commit to the process. The idea of the goals can often feel like we’re holding them at arms length. As though we should just achieve them and we’re done. When we commit to the process, the journey, of the goal, however, it’s a lot easier to make it an enjoyable experience.

The goal is in the distance, getting there is where our focus needs to be. You can’t constantly be looking at the map to see your end destination while driving, otherwise you’ll crash on the way there.

6. Know When to Take a Break

Burning out is a very real possibility when you’re not taking breaks. Find the time each day to let your mind relax. No goal or resolution should consume your mind from the moment of waking to the moment of sleep. Taking effective breaks has also been shown to increase our productivity.

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With that said, checking your social media accounts and watching TV are not breaks for the mind – they’re probably more stressful. Meditate, sing, take a walk, have a shower, do a small workout or something similar instead. If you want to know more about the advantages of taking breaks, but don’t want to sift through an academic paper, there’s a great post on FastCompany that broke it down. You can find it here.

7. Push Yourself

There’s a great quote by Bruce Lee, that says:

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

How this relates to reaching your resolutions is very simple: there will be plateaus in your progress towards achieving them. There will be points where you’re uncertain that you can really achieve what you’ve set out to do. Not just in your New Year’s resolutions but in life, in general. This is where you need to push yourself. You can’t accept “no” for an answer. Dig deep, find the will within to push past the plateau. Discouragement can become fuel when we allow it to be. Setbacks can become fuel when we allow them to be. You’ve simply got to keep pushing. You will achieve it. Tell yourself you’ll excel. You’ll be surprised how much more capable you really are.

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8. Reward yourself

Temptation bundling is a strangely, yet unsurprisingly, simple way to push yourself to achieve more. The premise is simple, tie what you want to achieve (but seem to be struggling to do so) with a reward, and get the reward each time you work towards the goal.

A good example, as demonstrated in this somewhat contradictory post, is your workout. If you really enjoy listening to audiobooks, but don’t like working out, and your resolution is to workout more frequently – limit your audiobook listening time to the gym. If you like your audiobooks enough, it’ll spur you on to actually go workout.

9. Don’t give in to the critic

You’re going to have doubters. They’re a part of life. So why not use them to motivate and encourage you? Now okay, it’s probably not best to be striving to achieve something out of spite, but as Collis Ta’eed outlines in his post about achieving more, people will try to bind you to their own self-set limitations. Take their criticism, and tell yourself that you’re not bound by what they’re bound to. Go out, make it happen, achieve it. Then, when all is said and done, go back to the critic and respectfully tell them of your achievement, and thank them for their help.

Not only will you have achieved something, but you have the potential to help another being evaluate why they’ve set such limits for themselves. It’s a win-win. (Plus you can be a little smug, but only a little.)

10. Celebrate Your Achievements

Forget what others think about it, if you’re happy about the progress you’re making, you have every right to celebrate it and shout it from the rooftops. It’ll only empower you to continue pursuing that goal. So there you have it, 10 tips for actually sticking to and achieving your New Year’s resolutions. If you liked this post, go ahead and share it or leave a comment.

Featured photo credit: resolutions via static.communitytable.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

How to Calm Down When You Are Overwhelmed: 7 Quick Ways to Try

Do you sometimes feel that you add items to your to-do list faster than you tick them off? Do you spend most of your day worrying about your lack of time?

The truth is, no matter how much we love our job, or how productive we believe we are under stress, there comes a moment when the pressure rises above boiling point. The sheer number of urgent tasks multiplies in a geometric progression. New possibilities no longer sound inspiring, they sound overwhelming and equal more work.

If that’s where you are right now – keep reading! If not, it doesn’t mean you should wait until you get there to learn how to cope with a demanding work schedule and how to calm yourself down quickly when you feel overwhelmed.

Here are 7 quick and easy tips on how to calm down when you are overwhelmed:

1. Let go of a few activities

Yes, it’s that easy! Take a look at your to-do list and ask yourself, “If I don’t do it today, will it matter a month from now?”

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Not every urgent task is important. Just like not every important, high pay-off task is urgent. The best way to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and to manage your time is to know the difference between the two and learn to simplify your life by getting your to-do list down to three big tasks.

2. Take deep breaths to calm down

This advice sounds so simple it’s often overlooked. But it works better (and faster) than any other relaxation technique out there.

There is a direct connection between our emotional state and breathing. An anxious, frustrated or overwhelmed person breathes as if they have just finished running a marathon. A calm person breathes differently. Their breathing is deep, slow and steady. So when you have a panic attack, the best way to bring your heart rate down and to regain your cool is to change your breathing.

Try this now:

Take a slow, long deep breath in, filling your lungs with air and expanding your diaphragm. Hold your breath for four counts and then slowly release the air through your mouth. Repeat four times and notice frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed dissolve with each long exhale of these calming breaths.

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3. Make “Just one thing” your mantra

When we feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks on our to-do list, it’s easy to enter the ‘deer in the headlights’ state. You see deadlines approaching directly towards you, and you know that something has to be done about them, but you just don’t know where to start.

The best way to get your mind out of an ‘inactivity trance’ is to create momentum. This is what makes the “Just one thing” mantra so powerful. It helps to change our expectation that everything has to be completed right now, “or else.”

Next time you feel overwhelmed make grabbing a cup of coffee your “Just one thing.” You can do it, right? Then come back, pick one of the smallest tasks on your to-do list and tell yourself you’ll do just that one task. This is your next “Just one thing” that you will concentrate on until it’s complete. After that you can move on to the next task and so on.

It’s not “One thing at a time.” Saying this implies that there is a huge line of other tasks waiting to get done and that’s not the message you want to keep repeating to yourself. Learn how to focus here and stop getting overwhelmed.

4. Reduce the multi-tasking and multi-thinking

It’s been proven that multi-tasking is very inefficient, to the point of dumbing us down (more than smoking marijuana does). The same is true for multi-thinking, when your mind frantically jumps from one thought to another, trying to focus on and analyze several things all at once.

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Fortunately, there is help. A few minutes of meditation or brainwave music is all it takes to start feeling more relaxed, more creative and less overwhelmed.

5. Get moving

Any exercise you engage in – be it walking or dancing to your favorite beat – helps to release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ hormones, through your body and to clear your mind.

Staying active also increases your productivity, enhances your ability to combat stress and anxiety. It also helps you to release the tension, boosting your mood and changing the thoughts that induce the sense of being overwhelmed.

The best part is you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the mind-soothing benefits of exercise. Even as little as 15 minutes of dancing or jogging can go a long way towards making you feel better and staying calmer.

6. Change your surroundings

We all need and deserve to take vacations from work woes and family responsibilities. Unfortunately, spending two weeks lazing on a beach, toes in the sand and a Mojito in hand, is not always an option. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t take short ‘vacations’ from work stress and the technology buzz.

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Go outside for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine. Stop at a park instead of driving straight home from work. Sometimes changing your surroundings and ‘spicing up your routine’ is all it takes to change your perspective on things and find creative solutions to seemingly complex and overwhelming problems.

7. Get some pet therapy

Studies have shown what most of us already guessed – our pets can be a great help during stressful moments. Simple actions such as petting or playing with your dog or cat can lower high blood pressure, boost your immune system and boost your mood.

Besides, pets can make the best conversation partners to share your frustrations with. They listen, they love you unconditionally and they never talk back or say, “I told you so.”

Final thoughts

Don’t wait for stress to hit you to start practicing these quick ways to calm down when you are overwhelmed. The best way to enjoy a worry-free life is not to push yourself to the limit of being overwhelmed and frustrated.

Featured photo credit: Dardan via unsplash.com

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