I know it’s only December but it’s never too early to start planning your New Year’s Resolutions, right? Maybe if I start planning sooner what I’d like to do this next year, I’ll actually stick to it longer. I usually make it through January and February just fine, and then fizzle out in my motivation by March. So how can we stay focused and keep to our resolutions longer? Here are some tips I’m going to try this next year:
Pick a goal that means something to you. Don’t just pick something because you know people will ask you what you’ll work on, or because it’s what you’d love, if everything in the world were perfect (I’d love to become a billionaire within the 2017 year). Really take a moment to think through the goals you’d like to accomplish and get to the bottom of why you’d like to do better in that area. Weight loss is a popular New Year’s resolution, so if you choose that, why do you want to lose weight and eat healthier? So you can fit in a bikini? Or so you can be fundamentally healthier and live a longer, better life with your loved ones? When you’re totally honest about picking a resolution that means something important to you, chances of sticking with it will increase.
Make your goal realistic: “I’m going to be a billionaire within three months!” Not likely. To achieve this eventual dream, I’ll need to start smaller with goals I can actually reach and that won’t overwhelm me. So let’s say my ultimate resolution is to get my entrepreneur business started. That might take a year all by itself! Then, I can set smaller goals within that overall resolution, and I’ll have something to measure once 2017 is over and I can look back at what I’ve accomplished towards the billionaire dream.
Have someone to be responsible to, and check back with them often. Let me suggest that this not be a good friend. Good friends get busy and understand excuses and you both usually end up giving up. Ask someone you aren’t as close friends with to hold you accountable. This can be as easy as them just asking you how you’re doing, or if you’re really tenacious, you can create a chart to check in on. You’d be surprised how helpful this can be. Many people are motivated by how they are perceived by others. So if you don’t want someone to see you slack off, you’ll stick to your resolution.
Encourage others. If you know someone who is trying to take their New Year’s resolution seriously, check in on them every now and then with genuine interest. Encourage them to keep up the good work, and let them be your inspiration to keep your resolutions as well. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish with a good support system behind us!
Forgive yourself for getting sidetracked and start again. No surprise, I totally slacked on my 2016 New Year’s resolution. I had planned to write something I was grateful for in a journal every day. I made it through March and then life got busy and I started excusing myself from this goal. When June rolled around, I decided to pick it back up again! That lasted maybe another two weeks. I then gave up completely and felt kind of guilty about it. Next year, I plan to set a realistic resolution and then forgive myself when I inevitably forget to work on it here and there. Shrug off the set backs and start again!
I hope these suggestions and reminders inspire you to get ready for 2017, your best year yet! If you have any other suggestions of things that have helped you stay focused on resolutions, please share them with us! I know I could use all the help I can get!