Most years, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, because I’m the type that, when I think of something that I want to do, I start in that moment. Run a marathon was something I decided I wanted to do the month I graduated high school. Starting a blog was something I decided to do last March. Instead of waiting for an opportunity, I make one!
However, this year I wanted to try the resolution thing, not only to challenge myself, but because I thought that with my blog, it would be a great way to document my experience. And now that I’ve admitted to these goals online to all of you, I feel compelled to ensure they workout.
These are the tips I’m using to make sure I’m feeling accomplished and powerful by the time December rolls around!
Tell as many people as possible
Like I was mentioning before, when you tell someone your plans, you feel more obligated to keep them. That’s why it’s important to tell as many people as possible. If other people are conscious of your goals, they’re more likely to ask about your progress (and if someone tells you their resolutions, be open and encouraging. Ask them how they’re doing. You may be the support they need).
I’m really good about telling as many people as I can about my goals, because once I do that, it gets to the point where it would be harder for me to explain why I’m throwing in the towel than it would be for me to suck it up and see my plans through.
It’s also a great way to build yourself a support system. Tell people who care about you. Let those people who want to see you succeed know what you’re up to so they can become your personal cheerleaders on your road to success.
Which leads me to my next point:
Get an accountability buddy
Find someone who has similar goals as you and join forces. Become each other’s support system. If your goal is to lose weight, find a workout buddy. If your goal is to save money, find someone that likes couponing, or going to sales, or simply wants to have a friend to help set up budgets.
Also, remember, as much as you need support, other people need support as well. Even if your friends don’t have the same resolutions, still be there for each other. Have weekly check-ins where you get together (maybe over lunch) and discuss how you’re doing. When someone has a bad week, make sure to give them the love and encouragement they need to get back on track. And when someone has a major success, be sure to celebrate it.
Remember: everything is more fun when you can share it.
A big reason why so many resolutions fail is because of the sheer fact that you’re trying to accomplish too much all at once. When I decided I wanted to run a marathon, I knew it was going to take months and months of training. It’s the same thing with any good year long resolution, it should take twelve months!
We live in a world of instant gratification so we tend to get frustrated easily when the results aren’t instant. Don’t fall into this trap. If your goal is to save money, then one week of not eating out isn’t going to make you a millionaire. If your goal is to lose weight, realize that three pounds in a month is an amazing thing.
Don’t get so caught up in the big picture that you forget all the steps along the way. Instead of looking to the end constantly, make sure to stop and look around. And never forget to recognize what you’ve been through to even get this far.
Document your progress
This tip feeds off the last one a bit. A good way to keep yourself from getting discouraged if you’re not making quick, instant strides, is documenting your progress. This helped me so much when I ran my first marathon, because I was getting so frustrated that I wasn’t getting to my twenty milers soon enough. But when I realized I started at a three miler and was doing fifteen milers, it was a pretty amazing thing.
When you document your progress, you not only have a record of your successes, but you also have something to look back at to remind you of how much work you’ve already done when you get overwhelmed with all the things you still have to do. Keep it as a token of how awesome you are and the amazing things you’ve already accomplished!
Break it down
Another great way to keep you from getting too caught up in the big picture is to break down your goal into smaller chunks. Doing something that is going to take twelve months is sometimes too overwhelming. And when things start piling up, you’re more likely to want to quit just to get rid of the pressure.
So make smaller goals that lead to your bigger one. If you’re budgeting, divide up your yearly goal by either six or twelve. Then, work toward that monthly or every other month. This way, you can see success more often and you can feel good about your success along the way!
Speaking of success, make sure you’re celebrating all your achievements! If you’re working to lose weight, celebrate hitting each milestone by doing something you love. Go shopping with your friends, see a movie with your family, have a spa day. Do something to recognize your achievement.
When you have a reward to look forward to, not only does it make you feel good about yourself, but it also gives you a reason to keep going. Make it something that you’re excited for so you’re sure to be diligent in your efforts.
Recognize defeats (and learn from them)
Just as it’s important to recognize when you’ve achieved something wonderful, it’s also crucial to recognize your defeats. Everyone has setbacks. It’s part of the deal. When you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll usually hit a plateau when your body loses some water weight or gets used to your new diet. When you’re budgeting, it’s inevitable that you’ll have some kind of unexpected, dramatic expense.
But when you have a setback, don’t take it too hard. Don’t give up when it gets hard. Your defeat is your best chance to learn. Take some time to figure out what went wrong, then come up with a plan of action to fix your mistake. Sometimes they’re things that are out of your control and that’s okay. Find a way to work toward something that is within your power to change and get it done!
These are my favorite ways to stick to a resolution. What are your favorite ways to make sure your January plans are December successes? Let me know in the comments below. Also be sure to follow my blog for more goal setting advice.
Until our next adventure, stay curious.