‘Tis the night for lofty goals and well meant resolutions for a better life. Unfortunately, most people are ill equipt to make these resolutions a reality. Just saying that you will do something, doesn’t make it so. We humans are creatures of well entrenched habits that we easily fall back on without a second thought. We don’t intentionally do it, but unless we have a well thought out, attainable path of attack, we get lost and fall back into the “comfort” of what we do know how to do, even if that habit of behavior isn’t in our best interest.
You can greatly increase your chances of success if you keep the following steps in mind when making your new year resolution.
Pick One Goal
Pick one resolution that you want to accomplish and focus all your effort on making it happen. When you choose too many things, multi-tasking your goals, will create a situation were none will get done in a very effective way. Focus your energy on the steps that will lead you down the path to success. Most people pick the hardest things that need to be changed. Doing that with one goal is hard enough. Add more than one goal and it is a recipe for failure across the board.
Be Specific About Your Goal
- Losing 20 lbs in three months versus losing weight.
- Go to the gym 3 times a week versus join a gym.
Specific goals will allow you to figure out what you need to do, on a step by step basis in order to accomplish that goal. It will also allow you to gauge the small success you are having along the way.
Have a Plan
What steps are you going to take in order to make your goal a reality? Your resolution will not miraculously happen just because you say you want it to. You are going to have to change your well entrenched ways to make this change and it will be next to impossible to succeed if you can’t visualize how you are going to from where you are to where you want to be.
Make Mini Goals
Most likely, your resolution will be for something that is a far from where you currently are. Making mini goals will help you realize the successes you are having on a day to day basis. The process of getting to your final destinaiton is a journey of rebuilding your beliefs and behaviors about the issue. If you can see that you are making progress, even in small steps, helps you remain motivated and help you reach your final goal.
Accountability, Accountability, Accountability
If left to your own devices, chances are you will readily fall back into your well trodden pathways. Share your goal with people and ask for their support. If you don’t have people around you that will support you, the internet has an amazing supply of websites that provide community interaction where you can get your day to day encouragement, whether you are trying to lose weight, get out of debt, or stop smoking.
Be Kind To Yourself
This doesn’t mean to be lackadaisical about the steps you know need to be done to get to your end result. This means to understand that you will have setbacks. This quote from Psychology Today really paints a picture about what you are up against when you are trying to change long term behaviors.
Making resolutions work is essentially changing behaviors and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking and “rewire” your brain. Brain scientists such as Antonio Damasio and Joseph LeDoux and psychotherapist Stephen Hayes have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it. Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.
Psychology Today – Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail
You will be doing a lot of rewiring as you journey from where you currently are to where you want to be. You have built up a lot of beliefs about your capabilities and your worthiness over your life time. You are able and you are worthy. Don’t let that old tired voice in your head convince you that you are a failure when you have a setback. See it for what it is – a temporary sidetrack. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and give yourself a pat on the back as you get back on track. Each moment is a new start for you. Don’t allow your setbacks cloud your ability to move forward. You will get there if you keep moving forward. Little steps forward are still movement towards where you want to be.