Track your progress and be accountable. Keeping your resolution inside your head might not help you achieve it. You may find that it is more helpful to create a more concrete way to measure your progress and the strides you are making towards achieving your goal. Using a calendar or chart to keep track of your progress can be very productive. Having a box to check off for every successful step you take can be very motivating.
It’s a new year. For many people, that means tackling a list of good intentions called “New Year’s resolutions.” The idea of starting a new year with a positive outlook and a willingness to improve yourself and/or your life is great.
Of course, making New Year’s resolutions is a whole lot easier than keeping them. In fact, research has shown that far more people end up abandoning their resolutions than actually achieve them.
Part of the reason so many of us give up on our resolutions is because we expect too much from ourselves. We set huge goals that are difficult – and often impossible – to attain realistically. In addition, we often build our resolutions upon a negative opinion we have about ourselves and/or whatever it is we are trying to change or do differently. And…then… we think we should be able to make the change quickly and get to the finish line overnight.
For example, someone who wants to become more organized, starts out the New Year already feeling guilty or bad about being disorganized. Then, when those old habits keep popping up again and again as the person tries to make changes, it can be very easy to throw in the towel and quit. Let’s face it… it’s a heck of a lot easier to beat yourself up about something you don’t like about yourself or your life than it is to put in all the time and effort needed to change it.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the odds of success are greater if we start small, keep our resolutions simple, accept that it will take time to achieve our goals, understand there will be setbacks, and feel good about the fact that we are trying to make a positive change. If you have made resolutions for the New Year, we applaud you and we are rooting for you to succeed. The following suggestions may help.
Maintain a positive attitude. Keep reminding yourself that you are doing something important for yourself and be proud of the work you are putting in to achieve your goals.
Be realistic about your progress. Understand that you will have setbacks. It is perfectly okay and should be anticipated. Don’t let a slip up be an excuse to give up. And do not expect to cross the finish line too soon. Remember… by virtue of its name, a New Year’s resolution gives you a full year to accomplish your goal.
Set time limits. Do not spend huge amounts of time focused solely on your resolution. Think in terms of minutes, not full days. For example, dedicating 15 – 30 minutes each day to working toward your goal is less intimidating than setting aside a full weekend to complete the task.
Reward yourself often. Make sure to pat yourself on the back for even the smallest steps that bring you closer to achieving your goals. Perhaps you may want to set time aside to celebrate each month you continue to move forward. It might be nice to even give yourself a little gift now and then as a “thank you” and “good job.”
Set up a system of reminders. Visual reminders or audible signals can help you avoid forgetting the things you must do to turn your good intentions into reality. Leaving yourself notes or even voice mail messages can help you remember the steps you want to take and when you want to take them. You can also use technologies available through your mobile phone and computer to set up reminders. There are actually apps designed specifically to help people meet goals, including New Year’s resolutions.
Visualize your goal attained. See the change you want to make. Picture what it will be like when you have kept your resolution, achieved whatever it is you set out to do, and reached your goal.
Don’t tackle too much at one time. Break up a resolution into manageable pieces, and then focus on one piece at a time. For example, instead of organizing your entire home at once, try organizing one room at a time.