We’re nearly three weeks into 2019. How are your goals shaping up? You likely had ambitious goals for this year.
It can be overwhelming to think of all the things you wanted to accomplish this year. Once February approaches, anxiety starts to set in. You may be tempted to abandon your New Year’s Resolutions. Or you could slip even further into the bad habits and poor choices that led you to make a resolution.
Without any real reason, we feel pressure to make changes as the start of a new year. We reflect on the past year’s choices and make a bold decision to make major changes in our lives. But are we just setting ourselves up for another failure?
Here are 5 steps to make sure you keep your New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Start Small
Choose a resolution that you can reasonably achieve. It’s easy to say, “I need to lose 50 lbs. by summer!” But is that realistic?
It’s better to set a small goal that will get a win under your belt sooner. For example, set a goal to eat healthier by cutting out sugar or sodas. Getting a win early on can encourage you to move on to a larger goal next. If you can go 30 or 60 days without soda, then you can add bigger change. For example, drink more water or do something physically active a few times a week.
2. Talk About It
We’ve all heard the question “If a tree falls in the woods and no one there to see it, does it make a sound”? Just like the tree, it’s easy to give up on your goal if no one is there to see you fall, right?
Talk about your New Year’s Resolution. Build some accountability among your network. Whether it is simply telling your friends and family about your New Year’s Resolution, or boldly posting it to your social media for the world to see, talk about it. Talk about your struggles and your progress. You’re much more likely to succeed if you have an audience.
Having an audience leads us right into to #3…
3. Ask for Support
New Year’s Resolutions are difficult enough on your own. Ask for support from your friends and family. Believe it or not, they also want to see you succeed! By committing to #2, and keeping people updated with your progress, you’re creating a good support system and increasing accountability.
You can also build support by joining groups focused on the same goals. Whether it’s joining a local walking club or an online group for healthier eating, a support group can offer strategies to adjust your goals so that they remain attainable. They can also offer positive encouragement during the tough times.
Speaking of tough times, because you know they’ll come…
4. Don't Beat Yourself Up
No one is perfect. You may slip a few times. That doesn’t mean you have to completely give up. Give yourself a little grace and resolve to get back on track. Success feels a lot like work because it is work!
If you have a soda on day 29 or skipped a week of physical activity because you were just too busy, it’s ok. Start fresh again and refocus. You’re doing this for YOU, so not only should you believe in yourself, but you should also love yourself enough to forgive a slip up here and there.
5. Change One Behavior at a Time
Just like we discussed in #1, choose something small first and incorporate new behaviors one at a time. If you decided to get healthier this year and you began with cutting out soda, then you can move on to setting a goal to be physically active next.
This next behavior could be to exercise for 20 minutes per day a few times a week. Once a behavior becomes part of your regular routine, you can move on to something more difficult. If you are trying to tackle several things at once, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and abandon all of them.
Focus on one thing at a time.
Regardless of your goal for this new year, remember to stay motivated. Even if you fail, it’s never too late to try again. Remember to start small, talk about it, ask for support, don’t beat yourself up, and change one behavior at a time!