Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Going Beyond January 1st

Here we are again; another New Year’s Eve and another opportunity to start fresh and set those resolutions for the coming year.  Maybe you dream of losing 20 pounds, organizing your home, exercising more, or saving money.  Good for you!  It is an exciting time full of possibility.  Just keep in mind that a true resolution is not a dream or a wish.  It is a goal that needs to be approached strategically.  It will take work, but with some determination and the right strategy, you can accomplish anything.

Right now you are energized and motivated, at least until tomorrow, or maybe next weekend.  So many resolutions sound good on December 31, still seem possible on January 2, but then start to lose some steam and may die completely by the end of February.  Don’t let that happen to you!  Here are some tips to keep the dream alive.

Make it Real

You’ve got to put it out there.  If you make a resolution and keep it as your own quiet little secret, chances are you are not going to accomplish it.  It is just too easy to fail.  There are no consequences.  So write it down, say it out loud, tell your best friend . . . tell everyone!  Shout it from the rooftops.  Post it on your bathroom mirror or put it in a frame on your desk.

When you are defining and speaking about your resolution, use strong words of action.  Don’t say I hope to lose 20 pounds in 2016 or I’ll try to exercise more.  Words like hope and try are not words of action.  Use strong, action words like I WILL.  I will lose 20 pounds is a much stronger and determined statement.  It sounds like you actually believe you can do it, not just that you will sort of try a bit and accept failure if you don’t.

Make it Manageable

If you are like a lot of people, you may be resolving to do MANY things in 2016.  Your list is impressive, but chances are if you plan to do too much, you will become overwhelmed and won’t accomplish any of your goals.

By setting small, manageable goals you can accomplish all of the things you want to do, but just not all at once.  Pick one goal, accomplish that one and move on, or set a small goal for each month.  Instead of making your goal “organizing the house”, try breaking it into smaller more manageable goals/tasks.  For example - In January I will clean out the hall closet.  In February I will organize the kitchen pantry.  In March I will clean out my bedroom closet and donate items that I don’t wear to charity.

Break a large goal down into manageable chunks. Saying you are going to lose 20 pounds next year is overwhelming.  Instead, set a time frame for yourself and work backwards.  If you want to lose 20 pounds by June 1, that’s about a pound per week.  So let’s make the goal more like losing 1-2 pounds per week every week.  Write yourself a schedule and track your progress.  The advantage here is that you can celebrate each little win (or loss in this case!) and more easily recover from the small slip-ups.  If you don’t lose your pound this week, aim for 2 next week.

Make it SMART

Change your resolution into an actual goal and set your strategy.  One very popular method of setting clearly defined goals is to use the SMART method to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Using the SMART method, “I’ll try to exercise more” turns into “I will exercise regularly in 2016 by walking for at least 30 minutes every day at lunch time, taking a yoga class on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and going to the gym for an hour on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.” 

This is a specific goal. 
It is measurable - you can track your activity to hold yourself accountable
It is attainable – the time involved is reasonable, just a few hours per week
It is relevant – the activities outlined are relevant to your resolution to exercise more
It is time-bound – you are setting a schedule for the activity.

Keep your Motivation

When you write down your resolution, write down WHY you want to achieve it.  Then you can revisit this when you start to run out of steam.  I want to lose 20 pounds is sort of a generic statement.  Try drilling down into the core of your goal.  Ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal.  In fact, ask yourself why multiple times. 

I want to lose 20 pounds. 
Because I want to be healthier. 
Because I want to be more active. 
Because I want to be able to chase after my kids. 
Because I want to be a better mom and set a good example for my kids. 
Because I want my children to be active and healthy.

Refer to the “whys” of your goal when your energy and motivation begin to waiver.

Get Support

Have an accountability partner who will ask you regularly to report your progress.  If your goal is to exercise more, tell a friend or spouse your proposed schedule and ask them to check in with you daily or weekly to find out if you followed your plan.  Better yet, join up with a like-minded friend who has the same goal.  You are more likely to go to the gym if you know your friend is there waiting for you.

Don’t Give Up!

Don’t give up if you get off-track.  One backslide should not derail your entire plan.  You are not perfect and you don’t need that kind of pressure in your life anyway!  In my experience, strict plans fail because they are unrealistic and cannot be maintained over the long term.  For example, if your goal is to reduce the sugar in your diet and you eat a cookie, don’t give up and eat 12 cookies.  Just pick yourself up and move on from there.  January 1st is not the only day you get to have a fresh start.  Every day is a new beginning full of amazing possibilities.  Just keep believing in yourself and moving forward.  You will get there!

If you need support on your journey to improved health and wellness, I am here for you.  Click here to contact me for a free consultation.  If you’d like to get more tips and information, like my Facebook page or sign up here for my newsletter.

Happy Healthy New Year to You!