Should We Make A New Year’s Resolution?
A little less then half of us in America will make resolutions this New years just like we have done many years before. Its a pattern we keep repeating even though the success rate isn’t very good.
Why do we keep making these resolutions? What can we do to make it different in 2015?
1. Its the opportunity to start again- it feels like a fresh start. A new year, a new beginning. Truth be told that means every Monday or the first day of each month has the same opportunities or to take it a step further, every new day is an opportunity to start fresh. So, start your goals anytime you want and with a lot less pressure.
2. The chance to be our best – which is a great expectation that we should all strive for. We have one life, we should live it to the fullest but to expect because the year changes our whole life will change for the better is unrealistic. We need to set the attainable, realistic goals and stick with them. So, find out what truly motivates you when setting your goals and for most of us the New Year isn’t enough motivation to succeed.
What does work for most is hitting rock bottom, an illness or trauma or the sadness/pain/hurt you feel is just too much. For others, the motivation is their kids and being a great role model. What’s your motivation?
3. Tradition – most of us think of New Years as a time of resolutions and goals. We have watched our parents set their goals since we were little kids, society put the pressure on us to make changes – join the gym, lose weight, etc. If every year we set resolutions out of tradition and then not succeed we have created a tradition of resolutions without motivation/action. If you are going to set goals, have motivation then make sure you also have an action plan for all your goals.
Setting your action plan:
-Set your long term goal ( 1 year or longer)
-Set 1-3 goals only – don’t overwhelm yourself with too much which will cause procrastination
-Set realistic goals
-Set a realistic time frame – I had a client who set her long term goal of finding a new job within a year ( and with our economy that is a realistic time frame).
-Set a realistic action plan – when working with the client above, we realized being a single mom with two kids left her with little time so if we set up weekly short term goals to reach her long term goal we would be setting her up for failure so we did bi-weekly goals. Bi weekly worked better for her. The short term goals should be bite sized. Start with baby steps.
*Positive reinforcement – keep the momentum going with positive reinforcement which is a mix of praise for your accomplishments and a reward system.
For example – when we lose weight, we buy ourselves a new sweater as a reward and then tell ourselves what a great job we did as praise
*Support – a great way to keep momentum going is to work with someone to reach your goal. Having a partner will hold you responsible for your actions towards your goal and help keep you motivated and offer you positive reinforcement.
4. Perspective and failure – if you don’t succeed in your goals or your thinking back to past years and past goals try thinking from a fresh perspective. Don’t think of your past unsuccessful resolutions as failures instead think of them as teachable moments and ask yourself these questions:
1. What can I learn from my past resolutions that I never accomplished?
2. What changes can I make?
3. How did I grow and develop?
4. What will I do differently this year to accomplish my goals? Sometimes just adding a partner for support or positive reinforcement can make the difference you needed.
5. Persistence – if at first you don’t succeed well you know the rest…… The truth be told, if you look at failure as a teachable moment then you can see; If you don’t succeed at first then try something different. Maybe you need to set smaller goals? set a realistic time frame? get help? change the goal a little bit?
If you want to reach your goals then don’t give up!
Always remember don’t expect perfection that just sets you up for failure! We can never be perfect and to try to strive for it is a losing battle. Be the best you can be and that is perfect!
Happy New Years!!