Welcome to 2017! It's that time of year when many of us will make New Year's Resolutions. Now everyone has a different or unique goal they will make for their resolution. Many will be roughly the same. Eat healthier. Lose some weight. Quit smoking. Be a better parent. In 2016 the top resolution was to "live life to the fullest." That's very subjective, but people want to live a full life.
We have all also set a resolution for the year and failed to follow through during the year. The hard part is getting our big ideas to stick past January or February. We dream up really big resolutions and that's fantastic, but we don't have the structure to actually accomplish a resolution. Practically speaking, we are in no position to actually achieve them because we have no plan in place to make it happen.
So here are 5 tips to creating resolutions that will actually stick with you throughout the year.
We make resolutions and then we go out and try to do it on our own. The "Lone Ranger" mentality doesn't work. If you set a goal to run a marathon this year, you will find this resolution will more likely stick if you find a friend who has the same goal. If you will partner with that person and ask them to train with you and keep you accountable, you will be more likely to follow through. When you work on a project together with someone, it makes the resolution stick and also more meaningful.
I set a course for my campus in 2017 at the end of 2016. I told my team that I am physically unable to do this alone. I told them I needed them to work with me to get there. We have to make the strides forward together, keeping each other accountable as we go. We will be more successful in the long run this way.
Maybe you want to lose 50lbs this year. You have a big goal ahead of you. Our tendency is to beat ourselves up if we haven't reached it by the end of January. If you want to lose 50lbs in 2017, break that down into a smaller goal for January. Maybe your goal is to lose 10lbs in January. This will require you to cut back on soda and eat a little better. Then by the end of February maybe you will be in position to reach your next goal of losing another 10lbs.
Resolutions that we actually achieve are done so when we have bite-sized goals. We are more likely to continue toward our resolution when we can see the progress along the way.
So what resolution are you aiming at in 2017? How can you break that down into bite-sized goals each month? What does that look like for you?
Make a Plan
Part of the plan is to create your bite-sized goals. They simply work hand in hand. You won't go through the holidays by eating terribly and waking up January 1st and going cold turkey to a Whole 30 approach to food. By the end of January, you will hate the plan and you'll burn out. So create a plan that allows you to reach each goal you have created.
If you are looking to lose 50lbs, part of your plan probably needs to be 50% less soda consumption in January. Down to 75% in February. You are incorporating bite-sized goals, but they aren't out there by themselves. They are structured into a plan that makes it achievable. Not creating a plan to go along with your resolution can doom your resolution to failure.
Celebrate Along the Way
Let's go back to weight-loss. Your bite-sized goal is to be down 10lbs in January. Your plan is to cut back on soda, eat better and walk 10,000 steps per day. By the end of January, get on the scale and you see that you have lost at least 10lbs. You have reached your goal. Now it's time to celebrate. This is crucial to the success of your resolution.
Celebrating along the way makes you want to continue. At the end of January, you don't blow your diet, but maybe you treat yourself to a really, good meal. Maybe you go to a great steakhouse. That's what I would do anyway. Go and celebrate how far you have come. Take your spouse on a date or your entire family. Invite some friends to come and celebrate with you. Have a small party at your house.
This celebration will give you the incentive to say, "I can do this one more month."
Then when December rolls around and you have achieved your resolution, now you celebrate big time. Go on a big vacation. Head to an amusement park. Take a cruise to some exotic location. Celebrate your wins along the way and watch as you wake up in December totally crushing your resolutions.
You aren't necessarily going to drop 50% in a month or run a marathon after 30 days of training. But you can start running. You can start the class. You can choose better meals. You can drink less soda. You can smoke fewer cigarettes. You can save a little bit of money by not eating out as much. There is a 1% change you can make somewhere in your life to get you closer to your goals!
What's the 1% improvement that's going to get you closer to your resolution, goals, plans, accountability or celebration?
I believe if you will incorporate these 5 things into your New Year's Resolution thoughts, you will accomplish your goals by the end of the year.
What things have you done that have worked?
What do you do differently than I do?
Leave me a comment and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.