Happy (almost) New Year, everyone! ‘Tis the season when we run around like maniacs to finish all of our holiday tasks and gear up for the New Year. You can get a jumpstart on 2016 by strategizing a plan of attack for your New Year’s resolutions. According to 2013 research from the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their resolutions. I’m no expert but that says there’s a lot of room for improvement on how to successfully make and keep your goals for 2016.
Start planning ahead today! Here are 10 tips that are certain to help you cross the finish line.
Less Is More
I realize that we all have many things we want to accomplish at any given time. But, you may set yourself up to fail if you make too many resolutions at one time. Less may be more in this instance since adopting three resolutions is easier to remember and work toward than eight.
Commit to the goals that you care about most and will provide the biggest payoff. Also, be honest about the amount of time, resources and focus it will take to accomplish these goals. You don’t want your resolutions to stress you out; you want them to motivate you.
Set Realistic Goals
Put a decent amount of time into crafting realistic goals. In addition to your number of resolutions, this is probably the most critical aspect to your success. If you plan to lose 50 pounds in a month, then that’s probably too aggressive. Set challenging, attainable and specific goals that keep you motivated all year.
Consider focusing on the journey to your outcome and not just the end result. There are things you can and should do while on your way to your ultimate goal. Factoring in baby steps will also ensure that you have chosen a realistic goal.
More than likely, there’s an app to help track or support every resolution on your list. Apps make it easier to stay focused on your goals through your mobile phone or tablet. They can aid with tracking your progress.
If possible, use automation to help keep you on track with monthly targets. For instance, if your goal is to build your savings, use automatic debits through your bank to ensure effortless and regular participation.
Also use your phone or computer to set up calendar reminders or alerts that will keep your resolution on your radar. A daily beep-beep may be just the kick in the pants you need.
Choose an Accountability Partner
Resolutions are much more pleasant when you have an accountability partner. That person can do more than just work out with you at the gym. Recruit a support person you trust who is willing to take on the role of calling or emailing to check in with you. Having an accountability partner is an effective tactic because they can provide unique insight and ideas from the experiences they’ve had. You might be surprised how their care, concern and involvement will impact your success.
They can serve as a living reminder to make responsible choices and behave in a way that supports your goals. You can schedule regular chats with this person to brainstorm, discuss your obstacles, challenges and victories. They may provide suggestions to motivate, mentor or inspire you to achieve maximum results. The key is choosing a person who will provide positive energy to support you through frustrating times and praise when you are making strides.
Craft a Plan
Make time to map out your thoughts on what your goal is and the necessary steps to achieve each resolution. This is a critical step because it enables you to visualize yourself working toward and accomplishing your goals. Your plan should also include a strategy on how to handle temptations. If they arise, stop to think before making a rash decision so you can focus on the bigger picture of your goal. It’s smart to surround yourself with people who can help reinforce healthy decisions in weak moments and visualize yourself making the right decisions.
Also, use a calendar to map out check-ins and target dates throughout the year. You don’t have to set hard goals; record estimates to take off a little pressure. Lastly, your planning period can be the time to begin positive self-talk to get motivated for the road ahead.
Journal Your Progress
Writing your resolutions in a journal gives you an opportunity to articulate them more clearly. Journaling forces you to think about the why and how you are executing the plan you’ve crafted. Your journal serves as a permanent record of your commitment and effort. Tracking your progress is an excellent method to stay accountable and keep the resolution fresh in your mind.
Commit at least 10 minutes each week to journaling your progress or setbacks. If possible, journal more often. More journal entries mean more detail and commitment to your resolution. Your progress journal will provide a level of accountability, even though it’s a private account of your progress. Revisiting journal entries allows you to compare progress from month to month and adjust your goal, if needed.
Create a Goal Poster
With a small investment, you can buy a poster board that can serve as a colorful visual aid and effective reminder of your New Year’s resolutions. The easiest way to create your poster is by cutting pictures and words out of magazines that represent your resolutions. Personalize your board to each area of improvement that you’re working toward.
Your goal poster should make you feel positive, motivated and ambitious. Be sure to post it in a high visibility area in your home. That way, you get more chances to soak up the inspiration and to affirm your goals daily. Preferably, you can look at your board at the beginning and end of each day to re-center yourself.
Don’t Give Up Easily
Too often people are quick to throw in the towel on resolutions after one or two slip-ups. Whatever happened to “try, try again”? Go into the new year assuming that you’re facing an uphill challenge. Accomplishing goals isn’t always easy and setting realistic expectations for each goal will help you to stay the course. You’re certainly going to face moments of weakness and fall short, but life goes on.
We use small slip-ups as excuses to give up on important goals. Remember to forgive yourself, move on and keep trying! Starting over is not the end of the world. The important thing is deciding to recommit yourself after a lapse in judgement.
Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends, family members or whomever will listen! They are the ones who will give you resolve to meet your goal. The more of your community who know about your resolution, the more inclined you will be to continuously talk about them.
The best thing about sharing your resolution is that it creates a sense of obligation and accountability to see your goal across the finish line.
Celebrate Your Victories
Celebrating your wins is important not only because you deserve it, but because it creates incentive to keep making strides. Just make sure the rewards you choose don’t work against your goal. For example, don’t go on a shopping spree if you’re trying to save money.
Try to think of ways to treat yourself with positive rewards that will help make a healthier, happier you. It may be something as simple as a bubble bath or going to a movie.
So, when it comes to your New Year’s resolutions, you don’t have to wait until January 1 to get going. Start right now! Do you have other helpful strategies to assist with your resolutions? Share them below.
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