Each year, after our bellies have just started to settle down after the Christmas holidays, we come head-to-head with quite the momentous occasion.
We are tasked with the job of recreating, rerouting, and redoing our lives for the better.
The time for New Year’s Resolutions is upon us!
Every year, we are given a chance to completely change our lives for the better. No pressure, right?
For some reason, despite our best intentions, our NYRs have a habit of falling flat. The crux of the issue is that change is hard. A simple sentence on paper is much easier than transforming habits and, ultimately, a life that has operated within those habits.
With this in mind, I have compiled a list of best practices to help you attain your goals this year. These suggestions are not drastic, but instead are simple, common sense tips that I’ll be using to set (and hopefully keep!) my own resolutions in 2019.
1. Set SMART goals.
Goals should be…
For example, a beginning goal might be, “I will be healthier” or “I want to lose weight.” A much stronger goal would be, “By April 20th, I want to lose 20 pounds by eating more healthy foods and exercising at least four times a week.”
The second goal provides a far better chance of success because the goal itself is more specific and detailed. If the goal itself is superior, the results have a better chance of sharing this quality.
2. Create an action plan by breaking down the ultimate goal into smaller, everyday changes.
Nothing is more daunting than looking at the end result on day one, but we all can see the small, everyday changes that need to be made. Therefore, focus on the perceivable changes that you can see.
If your goal is to read 20 books this year, start with small steps in this direction. For example, you can make the decision to read for twenty minutes each night during the work week. This will result in 5200 minutes reading throughout the year. This is about 87 hours you’ll spend reading throughout the year.
3. Make it fun.
Incorporating competition is an enjoyable way to achieve your goal. Another example: if your goal is to read more, read books you actually enjoy. We are much more motivated to work toward a goal when it doesn’t feel like we’re actually working.
4. Progress over perfection- take the mess-ups in stride and use them as a learning tool.
Use your stumbling blocks as stepping stones. Identify the off-track behavior and what went wrong. Then, focus on a plan for avoiding the circumstances that caused the breakdown in the resolution.
5. Don’t go it alone.
Bring friends on board. Share your goals with a family member. Make it into a coworker-oriented goal.
Whatever your resolution, chances are others either have the same resolution or they are willing to listen and hear you out on this goal. Telling another person is accountability in itself.
6. Don’t stop with the list- actually go for the goals.
We all know that really warm, fuzzy feeling of success we get from just thinking of and naming the goal, and we so often settle for this being the end of the deal. Often, for me at least, the thought of doing something can take the place of actually acting.
For example, I can think or even write down the goal, “I will help more people out this year,” and I’ll feel content with just the thought.
The goal-creation part is easy- the following through in the everyday, mundane, nitty-gritty parts of life is very difficult.
7. Accept failure as happenstance; refuse for it to become habitual.
Eat sugar once? Forget to read your Bible one day? Neglect to read one night before you go to bed? Mistakes happen, and they should be just that- a mess-up that occurs and ends right there. Don’t allow it to kill the entire resolution.
8. Form habits and use them as a method toward success.
As humans, we are creature of habit, and this can certainly be used to your advantage! By acting intentionally over and over again, you teach your body and mind to act on autopilot.
When good decisions become a knee-jerk reaction, you have a better chance of reaching the big-ticket goal you have your mind set on this year.
9. Remember the why in the midst of the what.
Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to spend less time on technology? Why are you trying to spend more time in prayer?
When the going gets tough, it is important to remember why you wanted to make the change in the first place. The intention behind the resolution supersedes the resolution itself.
No matter your resolution, I wish you much success and a very Happy New Year!