How to Create Meaningful New Year’s Resolutions That Will Last All Year Long
Feature Image: Thought Catalog
The new year is around the corner, and so are our desires for self-improvement. Many of us want to better our lives in the upcoming year, so we make our attempts at quitting smoking, eating healthier, learning new languages, taking more trips, and so on. But how many of us stick to our New Year's resolutions? How many of us actually achieve our goals? Probably very few. Well, I am on a mission to make this year different from all the rest, and with the following strategies achieving your goals may not seem that hard.
“Tell me what you want, what you really really want”
In my opinion, many New Years resolutions fail because we are not willing to make the necessary changes. Oftentimes, we project someone’s else expectations and adopt them as our own. For example, let’s say you’re happy with your body, yet still feel the need to lose weight because society tells us how we’re supposed to look. If you make losing weight your New Year's resolution, but don’t really care to lose weight, you’ll have a very small chance at succeeding. You will be working on making other people’s wishes come true, not your own, so your motivation will not be long-lasting. All in all, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want and need for the new year.
Attach pain and pleasure points to your goal
I learned this exercise from a Tony Robbins course (when I decided to choose the risky, but highly rewarding entrepreneurial life over the corporate world). In the center of a page, write down your goal, then divide the page into two columns. In the left column, write down what you think will happen to your life if you achieve your goal. And in the right column, write down what you think will happen to your life if you fail. Try to come up with at least 2-3 points from various areas of your life that may be affected by a certain life change. This exercise will help you understand the pros and cons of making a certain change in your life. Additionally, it will help you visualize your goals, and it demonstrates all of the good that may come from achieving your goal. Trust me, this exercise will transform your thoughts from “I wish” statements to “I must” statements.
Sharing is caring
No, I’m not talking about Christmas cookies and holiday meals here.
It’s often hard for people to stick to their New Year's resolutions, because we are not being supervised by a boss, nor do we have an enforced deadline, and there’s probably no financial punishment if we don’t stick to our resolutions. This means that, whether you like it or not, no one except for yourself is interested in your success. So how can you hold yourself accountable? My recipe for this is fairly simple — I pick a few people that I respect and care about and share my plans, goals, and resolutions with them. The fear of letting myself down in front of these people gives me the extra push I need in order to achieve my goals or stick to my resolutions.
Set up ambitious, yet realistic goals.
I know, it’s tempting to make a resolution that sounds challenging and meaningful, so we can brag about it from time to time (I do it, too!), but it’s important to be realistic about our goals. Setting up goals that are nearly impossible to achieve at the very beginning of your journey will only leave you discouraged. No one knows you better than you do, so evaluate your chances of achieving something and then aim for something a little bit higher. You can continue to raise your expectations and standards little by little as you see the results and get the taste of success.
Make goals clear and the steps traceable
You can get easily get overwhelmed with your New Years resolutions if you don’t divide them into small, traceable steps. For example, last year I promised myself that I would learn how to speak Spanish fairly well. But, whatever I did in order to achieve that goal felt insignificant and unproductive because it was still very far away from me speaking Spanish fluently. I decided to divide my big goal into smaller goals — to learn three new words and one full sentence a day and to read one Spanish article a week. I started to celebrate every small victory on the way to the big one. Now, my learning experience is less stressful, more productive, and the goal of speaking Spanish fluently is closer than ever.
Whatever your goals or resolutions may be, you can do it. Remember, you’re stronger than you think. Be bold. Happy New Year!
What are your New Year's resolutions?