We’re one month into 2019. How are your New Year’s resolutions going?
Even though at any time of the year, we could set our good intentions for goals or changes we want to make in our lives, New Year’s eve or New Year’s day is the trigger for many of us to reflect and resolve to do better.
Of course, life speeds up again after the holidays and despite our firm commitment to conquering the challenges, our best intentions fall by the wayside. The official statistic from US News is that 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions by the 2nd week in February.
Wait! Don’t lose hope! Here are 7 ways to help you keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and actions:
I like posting little stickies in prominent places that I look at daily.
Nothing like starting the day seeing a note to self on my bathroom mirror. If you commute by car, put another one on the dashboard. Or on the door, at work on your computer, or on the refrigerator or cupboard.
Buy a colorful sticky pad to make your notes to self even more noticeable. I love the pink hearts! Refresh your notes frequently so they don’t fade into oblivion.
Make them encouraging. Stay positive. “Remember to take your vitamins” versus “Don’t forget to take your vitamins” is a better affirmation that doesn’t sound like you’re nagging yourself. Writing affirmations is a highly successful way to train your mind and body to stay committed.
Want to exercise more frequently? Schedule intentions for walks, going to the gym or yoga classes right into your ca
lendar. Set reminders to pop up an hour or two in advance so you can start to get ready in time to get there.
3. Take a class that supports your goals.
There are so many online classes, it won’t be hard to find one that is relevant to your goals. Get more proficient in a 2nd language, manage your money better, learn to meditate. There’s a class for everything you can think of and best of all, you can take them anytime of day. Once you have more skills to fulfill your goals, you’ll find it easier to keep your forward motion.
The best way to accomplish a goal is to avoid overwhelm. Breaking down goals to incremental steps gives you the tools to get started.
Here’s an example. You want to lose weight. Analyze your diet and what changes you can make without too much pain. Decide on your first step. Maybe it’s to rid your cupboard and refrigerator of sugary snacks that aren’t supporting your goals. As part of this step, cut up apples and celery to keep them handy for when you feel the urge for a snack.
Keep that intention for at least a week before you make any more changes. Then in the second week, take the next step to eliminate and replace a food or beverage that will help you lose more weight. Gradual lifestyle changes like these are more successful in the long run than going on a strict diet.
If you’re ready for the next step, tackle it in the same way. Let’s say your goal is to save money. This is actually the #1 goal over 50% of people make for their New Year’s resolution.
Commit to a small but significant goal of dollars to save in your first month. Decide how and where to save it. Maybe you decide to save money eating out by making your meals at home and bringing lunch to work. Or you decide to brew Teeccino instead of spending money at Starbucks!
Calculate how much you’ve been spending and put aside that amount from every paycheck. When you’ve successfully saved money for the first month, set an incremental increase for the second month.
Keep going as you take each step until you reach your goal. Being successful on one thing will allow you move on to the next thing with confidence.
Talking about your resolutions with others helps!
Keep yourself pumped by sharing progress and receiving encouragement.
There are lots of support groups online for all kinds of goals. Or create an informal support group with friends and check in with each other once a week on how you’re all doing. A group text or email is an easy way to stay informed with everyone’s progress. Be a good cheerleader for others and ask for the same back!
Make a deal with self. If I don’t eat any sugar this week, I’ll allow myself to have one (fill in the blank) this weekend after my exercise class. If I save X amount of money, I’ll treat myself to a (fill in the blank). If I exercise X times this week, I’ll reward myself with (fill in the blank).
You get the idea. Keep yourself motivated by giving yourself a reward for accomplishing your commitment over a relatively short period of time. Maybe it’s just a day without sugar. Then reward yourself with something you love to do that feels satisfying but doesn’t compromise your goal.
Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Just start again. The path to success is filled with failures but successful people learn from their mistakes and start again.
Same goes for New Year’s Resolutions. Ok, so you didn’t keep your commitment today. Tomorrow is a new day so get on with it! Figure out what happened that caused the slip and decide how you’re going to get past that hurdle the next time it appears.
Here’s how I’m keeping my New Year’s Resolutions:
Personally, I committed to taking my vitamins every day. I used to be so good about taking vitamins but life has sped up so much, my good habit has fallen by the wayside.
I decided to commit to drinking my morning smoothie sitting down at my breakfast table rather than gulping it in the car on the way to work. If I sit down to drink my smoothie, I’ll take my vitamins too. If I don’t, I rarely take them any other time of the day. However, as a back-up plan, I’m keeping a stack of my daily vitamins at work. I’ve set a reminder on my phone for 1 PM, the time I usually take lunch. If I didn’t eat them in the AM, I’m reminded to do so at lunch. It’s working!
I also committed to spending more time in nature. I live near a wonderful hiking trail and yet it can be embarrassing how long I can go without hiking it. I’ve set aside Sunday mornings for a weekly hike up the mountains. To help me keep my promise to myself, I’ve scheduled hikes with friends each Sunday.
What a wonderful way to reward myself for climbing 54 flights of ‘stairs’ and walking 3 miles. That’s the statistic that my iPhone tells me I’ve accomplished after my hike. The real reward though is spending time in the beauty of nature with people I love!
I’d love to hear from all of you about how you’re doing on your New Year’s resolutions. Share with us ways you’re keeping yourself on goal!