Lose weight. Save money. Exercise more. These are probably the resolutions made most often and therefore the resolutions broken most often. So why not make a resolution not to break your resolutions? Imagine how good you’ll feel when you stick to your plan and achieve your goals. Here are some ideas that will help.
- Don’t overdo it. When you make too many resolutions you set yourself up for failure. You know yourself well enough to know how much you can handle. If learning to speak French is on your agenda, think about how much time you have every week to invest in studying. Consider what “speaking French” means—how fluent do you want to be? And what steps will you need to take to get there? The same is true when you make unrealistic resolutions. Is it realistic to expect you can quit smoking in a week? What is your plan for quitting? You can do it, for sure, but it will take time, energy and focus. You only have so many inner resources, so apply them wisely. When you make unrealistic resolutions—and too many of them—you’re doubly damned. It’s good to stretch yourself, yes, but it’s even better to set goals you can really reach.
- Cut yourself some slack. Your expectation for perfection can be a barrier in keeping your resolutions. Even the most disciplined person falters once in a while so allow yourself to be imperfect. The key is to keep going and keep trying. If you eat that sugar bomb Danish, don’t let that be your excuse to give up entirely. Just because you fell short of your goal one time doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and down a pound of fudge. Yes, you ate that Danish. It was one mistake, but now it’s time to go forward. The line toward your goals may not be linear—you can take three steps forward and two back and still get there.
- Make a commitment. When you go on record and formally state what you intend to achieve, you’re more likely to achieve it. So write it down. Include what you need to stop doing as well as what you need to start doing. List the steps you need to take and the time frame in which you expect to take them. Tell your friends. No, not the goofball ones, but the friends you respect and admire whose opinions matter to you. When you announce your intentions to them you are more likely to keep them. And get a friend to partner with. When you are working along side someone else, figuratively or literally, say, running together, your dedication will be buoyed by your partner and vice versa. You can be resolution buddies. That will help you reduce the pain of breaking that unhealthy habit and increase the chances of hitting your target goal.
- Reduce the toxins in your life. You know, that toxic person who sucks all your energy? Or the stressful work situation? Or the impossibly busy schedule? Try to reduce your contact with people and situations that cause you stress because when you’re stressed you’re more likely to fall off the wagon. Perhaps it would help to introduce some meditation or deep breathing exercises into your life so you can remain calm and keep to your resolve. Because it will take awhile for you to reach your goals. It takes about a month to make a consistent behavior into a good habit. And it takes even longer for that habit to become second nature to you. So give yourself a fighting chance and you’ll get where you need to go. Just don’t give up.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact