It’s February 1st. If you made New Year’s Resolutions (NYRs) this year, how did you do last month? How are you doing with them?
If you’ve “fallen off the proverbial wagon” already, here are some tips to lighten up, get back on it, or not.
Are/were you ready to take on this resolution to change in the first place? Some people set and start NYR just because it’s tradition, that doesn’t make it rational! If you’re really not committed and not ready, look at your calendar and redecide for later, even if later is next week or next year.
2. Be Realistic. Reset them, keep it simple and aim low.
Too many NYRs are to lofty, irrational and out of reach. Back off your goals from “I’m going to exercise 30 minutes, five days a week,” to “I’m going to exercise 15 minutes three times a week.” Don’t sabotage yourself. Just start and keep going.
3. Don’t have more than two NYRs.
More than two goals — which mean a change in life patterns, thinking, routine and habits — will register as TILT in your brain. Resistance is sure, followed by failure and guilt. Who needs that?! If two is too many, choose just one. Concentrate on it and do it well.
4. Share it with another.
There are different schools of thought on the sharing of goals. One says that NYRs are best kept to oneself, the other is to tell lots of people so that you are making a big commitment. It’s a personal choice. But, do tell at least only one other who you trust not to say anything about it, because after all, we do change our minds.
5. Commit it to paper.
When we can see it on paper — and better yet, cut out pictures of the “end goal” to keep the mind focused on the outcome, not where you are now — it becomes more real and more of a commitment. Write it down, plan it out, read it to yourself daily several times to instill the new thought pattern while keeping it fresh.
6. Reward yourself.
Maybe against my better judgement I’m including this one. I don’t respond to the “reward yourself” theory. Some people do. Giving yourself just a little of whatever it is on the way to your outcome goal sometimes makes the trip easier and better, and less like deprivation and detox. Like GOAL: No more shoe shopping. REWARD: One pair of shoes a month instead of three. GOAL: No chocolate until I lose 15 lbs. REWARD: One small piece of chocolate each week in place of daily snack. Clearly this doesn’t work with major addictions, but if it works, use it.
7. Move your NYR until spring.
Who says you have to do this NYR thing in January? Take charge of what works best for you. April and May are good months to begin change as the season changes and things feel and smell and are just so fresh and wonderful, especially if you live in cold, dark winter regions.
8. Get help.
Invite a NYR buddy into your life. Do your exercise, weight loss, stop smoking, etc. with a friend. Hire a life- or physical coach. Go to a group on your issue, or a professional in mental health if your issue to “resolve” is just too hard for you to do yourself.
There’s no shame in NYR setting, doing or not doing. Set yourself up to make it work. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
My core question to my readers and audiences is always, “What do you want?” Answer that and your goals and dreams will begin to fall into place!
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