How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution and found that a couple of days, weeks or months into the year your good intentions seemed almost impossible to keep?
Trust me, my friend, you are not alone. No matter how good our intentions are, resolutions are simply hard to keep for the vast majority of us who set them.
Setting goals tend to be quite easy, but staying on top of them is a whole different ball game. This is something I know all too well. However, the new year can be a great opportunity to re-focus, set goals and get your life back on track.
“You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.”
C. S. Lewis
Reflect over the previous year
One of our greatest opportunities for growth and change is in reflecting on the lessons of our past.
Take some time to reflect on the previous year. Certainly, there were some highs and some lows, but what were the major takeaways?
This type of reflection is important because it helps you to learn about yourself. It gives you the opportunity to analyze things that happened, how you reacted, and what, if anything, you might change in the future.
One of the best things that you can do is to look back on previous experiences – whether good or bad and to learn from them.
Create a master plan
After reflecting over the previous year, the next step in sticking to your resolutions is to decide what goals you want to achieve and determining what you actually need to do to achieve those goals.
When listing your goals, it is best to focus on one or two small goals as opposed to a long list. That way, you don’t spread yourself too thin.
Next you’ll want to list the necessary steps you should take in order to accomplish your goal. Writing down your goals, and having a clear plan of action is critical when it comes to knowing exactly what you want to achieve. It also helps you to know the exact steps you should take in order to get there.
As you achieve a goal, you’ll build your self-confidence, and
Remember that achieving your goals is the result of self discipline, not just hope.
Be willing to change
When you start to write out your resolutions or goals, you have to be willing to change in order to actually reach those goals. Otherwise, you won’t stick to them, my friend.
If you are doubtful or hesitant in any area, it may not be the best time for you to start working towards that specific goal. Give yourself some time, then revisit that goal at a later date.
You should also keep in mind that change is gradual. Like anything you’re working towards, you have to remember that it takes time for new routines and habits to feel normal.
Start small and work your way up. You will not have mastered each of your goals by January 31st. Be realistic with yourself and your goals, so that you not only follow through but that you adopt the new habits as part of your daily lifestyle going forward.
To stay focused on your New Year’s resolutions and be motivated for the long haul, celebrate your successes. For every milestone, you achieve, reward yourself by doing something you love. It may be a sweet treat, a delicious meal from your favorite restaurant, or my personal favorite – online shopping.
The key is to reward yourself with something that will entice you to work hard without actually getting in the way of the goal itself.
Learn from your mistakes and adapt
You don’t ever have to wait for a new year in order to start new habits. You can reaffirm your goals and get back to work on achieving them anytime during the year.
If you fall off of the wagon, simply dust yourself off and hop back on. Missed a few days of working out? Did you smoke a cigarette after lunch? It’s no big deal. Figure out what triggered your setback so that you will know what to do differently in the future.
After a few weeks (or maybe even days), your motivation may start to dwindle. Find a source of inspiration to keep you going during the rough times. And remember, each day that you wake up, you’re given a fresh start.