New Year’s Resolutions can be great; it’s a fresh start to a new year, a clean slate – what else could you ask for?
But if I was going to make a bet, I would bet with good certainty that you failed to accomplish your resolutions or goals in 2016.
“Meagan, that’s rude.”
Okay, well statistically speaking, less than 10% of people actually stick to and accomplish their resolution. So the smart bet would be that you did not accomplish your goal.
This isn’t just to your fault, though. Maybe the resolution wasn’t specific enough, maybe it wasn’t realistic, maybe the support wasn’t there – hell, maybe it just wasn’t your year.
But not this time. 2017 is going to be your year.
Here are 8 ways to ensure that you kick the shit out of your New Year’s Resolution:
1) Make Sure Your Goal is Obtainable.
This is by far the number one mistake that people make: creating a resolution or a goal that is not achievable within a given time frame. When you do this, you’re setting yourself up for failure which feels a hell of a lot worse than success.
Don’t underestimate yourself, set your standards high, but make sure you’re being realistic.
Yes, paying off $50,000 in debt in 2017 would be awesome! But are you really going to be able to save 961.54 extra per week (on average) for an entire year? Probably not.
But if your goal is to be able to do 50 push ups by the end of the year, push for 75. If you want to lose 30 pounds, push for 40.
Think about what you want to achieve, take into consideration the time, effort, and/or money it will take to accomplish the goal, and then create your resolution.
2) Make Sure Your Goal is Clear and Specific.
Another common mistake: having too broad of a goal. What exactly do you want to achieve, and how are going to achieve it? Don’t leave any unanswered questions.
Say you want to run a marathon – that’s great! But, what now?
How far of a marathon do you want to run? A 5k, half marathon, full marathon? Which race do you want to run in? When is it? Where is it?
In order to accomplish a goal, there needs to be a finish line – something you can keep track of and work towards. So instead of saying “I want to run a marathon”, say “I’m going to run a half marathon in October 2017”.
Good. Now let’s start training.
3) Track Your Progress (Better Yet: Track It Publicly).
One of the most beneficial things you can do to ensure your success is keeping track of the progress you’ve made.
Whether this is by keeping a log/journal or by taking pictures, it’s important to have something to look back on in order to remind you of how far you’ve come.
For example, one of the most common resolutions for people is to lose weight. The up side of this goal is you will generally see quick results in regards to your weight and stepping on the scale.
The down side is these results slowly start to slow down or fade which causes a majority of people to get down on themselves and their goals. (Realistically, you can’t lose 3, 5, or even 10 pounds every week).
The fix? Keep track of more than just your weight:
- Take measurements of your arms, chest, waist, hips, and thighs.
- Take pictures (“selfies”) of yourself in minimal clothing.
Now instead of just one form of measurement, you have three. And I can tell you that the progress you see in your measurements and in your comparison pictures is going to be WAY more motivating than the number on the scale.
Bonus: keep track of your progress publicly either by using a social media outlet (instagram, facebook, twitter) or by updating your friends, family, trainer, etc. When you have someone else expecting an update besides yourself, it’s harder to get off track.
4) Find What Motivates You
When you first start your journey, your excitement is going to be enough to keep you going for a while. Maybe this will last a month, or a week, or even just a couple of days.
And then all of the sudden, you start second guessing yourself; you start wondering if it’s even worth it.
You just really want that mountain dew, or you really want to skip your workout, or you think “one more piece of pizza isn’t going to kill me…”, or you really want that cigarette even though you haven’t smoked in 8 days.
It’s in this moment that you need an extra bit of motivation; a “kick in the ass”, some might say.
Think of why you started. To set a better example for your kids or loved ones? To feel better about yourself? To be able to fit into the dress you bought for the wedding in September? To prove something to yourself? To prove something to someone else?
Whatever it may be, keep a reminder of that motivation somewhere easily accessible. Put a picture of your kids as the background of your phone. Put your favorite motivational quote on your mirror. Tape a picture of the dress you ARE going to fit in to the fridge (shit, tape your dress to the fridge, I don’t care).
Keep that motivation at bay; it’s going to be your saving grace.
5) Invest In Yourself
First and foremost, this goal needs to be something that you want for yourself. It shouldn’t be something someone else told you to do (unless a doctor told you to do it… you should probably do what he or she says).
But seriously, if you’re not 100% committed to making this change, whatever this change may be, then you’re not ready.
Now that we’ve established a baseline, it’s important to understand what investing in yourself mean.
If there is something that you’re unhappy with in your life (weight, money, your eating habits, smoking, drinking, etc.), my assumption would be the reason you got to this point is because you weren’t putting yourself first.
Maybe you started smoking because your friends did it. Maybe you want to lose weight, but your friends/family don’t want to change their eating habits to help you out. Maybe you want to save money, but if you tell your friends you can’t go out one night, you never hear the end of it.
Well I’m telling you right now that if you want to accomplish your goals for 2017, you’re going to have to put yourself first.
Investing in yourself means taking the time that is going to be necessary for you to accomplish your goals. It means taking time for yourself whether it’s to make sure you get your workout in, or to make sure you get 10 minutes of personal development in.
Investing in yourself means putting yourself first, for once.
6) Plan Rewards
This step might just be the most important part to ensure your success. Surprising? I’ll tell you why I say so.
When you make a goal or a resolution, it generally has to do with giving something up. And that “something” is probably something that you’ve been using or doing on a regular basis for a very long time.
Point being? Giving it up is hard. Very hard.
Human beings are creatures of habit, so when we get used to doing something, it’s hard to break that habit. Likewise, when we aren’t used to doing something, it’s hard to make it become a habit.
This is where the rewards come in.
Plan to take some time off from your new lifestyle to enjoy what you love. Maybe it’s a pizza night once per week or maybe it’s a shopping spree once per month.
It doesn’t have to be anything extreme, but reward yourself for your hard work. Reward yourself for your dedication and for sticking to your guns when 90% of the population won’t be able to say the same (see statistic in opening lines).
But a word of caution: the only way that this is going to work is if you are actually sticking to your goals. You’re getting your workouts in, or you haven’t had any soda, or you’ve lost 5 pounds this month, etc.
You can’t reward yourself for something that you’re not doing, it doesn’t work like that.
Be honest with yourself. Crush your goals first, and then, for the sake of all that is good in the world, enjoy that ice cold beer. You deserve it.
7) Have Patience
This point comes as a bit of a combination of the first five steps.
Today’s society is all about convenience: what is the quickest way to accomplish what we want to get done. We want to take short cuts wherever possible, and we will continuously try to take short cuts, even when it ultimately ends up taking longer than just taking the long route the first time around (that’s a mouthful, eh?).
Don’t make this mistake with your New Years Resolution. Don’t look for a short cut… There isn’t one.
The truth is, progress takes time. No matter what your goal is, it’s going to take time to either get used to your new lifestyle (ex. no smoking), or to accomplish it (ex. lose 30 pounds).
You’re going to go through hard times where you want to give up. You’re going to get discouraged because it’s not as easy as you thought, or because it’s taking longer than you thought it would. Hell, you might even get off track and fall back into your old habits.
But don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on the reason that you started. Don’t give up on becoming the person that you want to be.
In Summary, have patience, because It all takes time.
8) Believe in Yourself
Lastly, just a quick reminder to believe that you can do this.
No matter how hard it might get, no matter how frustrated you might be, no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed, no matter what other people are saying.
You can do anything that you want to. You just have to believe it too.
“The Only Thing Standing Between You And Your Goal Is The Bull Shit Story You Keep Telling Yourself As To Why You Can’t Achieve It.” -The Wolf of Wall Street
Till’ Next Time