I always love the promise of a shiny New Year; the possibilities it holds, the opportunities for personal growth, the feeling of a fresh start.
I know I’m not alone. Research shows that most of us make New Year’s resolutions in January. However, less than 10% of us make good on them by the time February rolls around, leaving many of us feeling defeated and unworthy of change.
With some insight and tangible strategies you can implement today, you can help tip the scales in your favor and turn those plans for change into actual change! Let’s dig deeper and ask ourselves why resolutions seem so easy to make, but so hard to keep.
Many New Year’s resolutions are broken within weeks, days, or even hours. The biggest mistake I see people make is feeling like they must deprive themselves or participate in activities they don’t actually like. Using our willpower is draining, and we can quickly run out of reserves and give up.
A simple shift in thought process can change this:
For example, if your goal is to get lean and fit in the new year, you might look at it like this: “I have to force myself to exercise 4 days a week and I can no longer eat all the delicious food I love.”
If that is your thought, your feelings will be of deprivation and doing things you don’t enjoy. You may last a few days, but chances are you will become unmotivated and give up on your goal.
If you shift that initial thought to something positive like “I am choosing to get lean and fit in the new year because I will feel great, have more confidence, and enjoy every aspect of life more” then you will feel excited and connected to exercising and eating nourishing healthy food. Now you don’t feel like you are depriving yourself, but rather giving yourself the gift of health and wellness.
Choose the initial thought surrounding your resolution carefully. Check in and make sure that it is serving you well and will inspire and motivate you to stick to those resolutions not because you have to, but because you want to.
Why do we so often get tripped up in this process? Setting an unreasonable goal is the biggest mistake I see. If you are determined to accomplish something that is not possible, then you will quickly feel discouraged and defeated and lose motivation. I like to tell clients to think about their ideal goal, think about a much smaller and minimally acceptable goal, and then choose the sweet spot between those two goals as their stated goal. You want to stretch yourself just the right amount so that the goal will take work, but will also be achievable.
So, what can you do to increase your chances of carrying through on your resolutions this year?
The key to carrying through on your resolutions is setting “S.M.A.R.T.” goals to put you on a path to success.
S - Make sure your goal is specific. Vague goals don’t work. State exactly what you want and why you want it.
M - Your goal needs to be measurable. How will you track your progress? What does success at each stage look like?
A - Is your goal achievable? Make sure the stated desire is something that you can take the steps to make happen.
R - Is your goal reasonable? Knowing the constraints or present conditions of your life, ensure that the goal and action steps you are choosing can fit in with the realities of your current day-to day.
T - Make your goal timely. Set a plan of when you will do each step and find a way to hold yourself accountable to the mile markers along the way, so that you reach your goal and run through the finish line!
An added benefit of making and achieving goals in one area of your life is that it will automatically impact the other parts of your life such as wellness, relationships, career, and sense of happiness. For example, people that hone in on their personal health and wellness gain massive amounts of increased energy and confidence. Not only does that focus translate to success in the gym, in the studio, or on the track, but it also creates more positive energy while you are at work, parenting, or spending time with your loved ones. Likewise, if you set your goal to improve your relationships, that transition will increase the energy you have to take care of your body, dig in at work, focus on finances, and relieve overall stress. It’s all connected!
Keep in mind, we all sometimes feel off track and discouraged. No one always has their mojo. But you don’t have to wait for it to arrive. You can choose to create it at any time.
No matter what happened last year, last week or even an hour ago, the future is yours to start creating right now. The next chapter has not yet been written, and you are the author. Take some time to think about what you really want and why you want it. How will life improve if you reach those goals?
If you’re really stuck, working with a coach can really help. A good coach can help you break down your larger goals and desires into manageable steps that are specific, reasonable, and stretch you just the right amount to get you moving in the direction of your dreams. Rather than simply wishing for the changes, we can start making the changes.
Mica Diamond is a Professional Life Coach. She works with clients on career development, management and communication skills, dating, relationships, parenting, life transitions, health&wellness and the general enjoyment of life. Mica was certified as an Executive Coach by iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She holds an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management from Columbia University. Additionally, Mica holds a B.A. degree in Business and Economics from Lafayette College. Mica lives in Sag Harbor, NY and NY, NY. Please visit her website to learn more about how working with Mica can help you meet your goals for the new year. www.micadiamond.com