Resolutions is the buzzword at the turn of every year. But you and I know getting those items on your resolutions list done is a long haul. If you find yourself in this category of people who get all excited about your goals for the year and then a few months later start losing steam, here are ten (10) tips to help you stay on track.
1. BE SPECIFIC
The number one mistake many make is setting ambiguous goals like 'making lots of money' or 'losing weight'. But it's setting specific goals that will get you to achieve them. Specific goals make it easier to maintain a laser focus on something more realistic and achievable. For instance, your number one resolution for the year may be to lose weight. How about slashing this down to a specific goal like losing 10 pounds every month. This is more realistic and achievable than the first. Moreover, it falls within a time frame. Setting such specific goals helps you to keep tabs on your progress. Besides, it also makes it easier to plan how to accomplish those goals and stick to them throughout the year.
Set SMART goals.
Having a tall list of resolutions or goals can be overwhelming for you. You may not have enough resources like time or money to achieve them in a year. Moreover, adopting new behaviour patterns needed to achieve these goals may take time and effort. You need to pick a few realistic and achievable ones and focus your energies and resources on them. Sometimes, it's best to achieve one particular goal for the year than having many and failing to achieve them. In fact, you would be surprised how achieving one goal can be a confidence-booster to take on other goals later. So take a cursory look at your list and do some shortlisting. Try to pick the ones that are a priority.
A detailed plan is a launch pad for your resolutions. Planning is the key to your success. Besides, you are more likely to commit to your goals if you have a plan in place than if there is no plan. After wisely choosing your resolutions for the year, the next big step is to plan adequately. You need to put a lot of time and effort into this if you mean to achieve your resolutions come year-end. Make a detailed plan and write it out. First, write out the goal. Then after brainstorming, write down a list of tasks to achieve that goal. Second, include in your plan ways to track your performance. Then you must jot down the obstacles to your goal and actionable steps you will take to overcome them, so you don't get derailed.
4. START SMALL
Begin with baby steps but do not lose sight of the big picture. Overdoing it might get you burnt out in no time. For instance, you may have resolved to get in shape and your specific goal is to lose say, ten pounds every month, do not start by running a marathon or engage in some insane and intense workout at the gym every day of the week. You rather want to start by going for a walk two to three times a week. Then increase your physical activity gradually to say two jogs or a workout at the gym once or twice a week doing some moderate workouts. It is not taking giant steps that get you results but small, focused steps. Starting small makes it easier to adopt and commit to new behaviours or habits. Once you are able to change behaviours, you will be able to commit to your resolutions.
5. CHANGE RESOLUTIONS
Avoid having the same resolutions year after year. If you tried them and they did not work out after perhaps two attempts, then it's time to trash them. Set different goals. However, if you opt to make a repetition, make sure you change your approach for better results. Do a thorough assessment of your past resolutions to find out what worked and did not or what you did wrong, so you do not make the same mistakes.
6. BE PATIENT
It took you years to form those bad habits, so it won't take you a day to break them and build new ones. Achieving your resolutions is a process you have to trust. Take it one day at a time. Wait it out. Don't be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake (remember that it's all part of the process). Pick yourself up and get back on track. Having this kind of attitude or mentality does not make you abandon your resolutions.
7. GET HELP
Don't be a lone ranger in this journey you have embarked on. There's no shame in getting help along the way. Join a support group that shares the same goals. It motivates you and makes you responsible for achieving your personal goals. Alternatively, you can rope in your family and friends. Tell them what your goals are and ask them for their support. For instance, if one of your goals is to quit drinking, you can join an AA group. Or your resolution may be to get back in shape. In that case, hook up with a friend with the same fitness goal and do walks or jogs together. You will draw a lot of encouragement from the camaraderie. Besides, it will make achieving goals fun.
8. GET MOTIVATED
It's easy to be enthusiastic about your goals early on in the year. But as the months go by and you begin to experience discomfort or cravings related to changes in your behaviour, you may not be too keen on reaching your goals. For instance, when you have to wake up at 5am every morning to get on your treadmill to achieve your goal of getting in shape. Or having alcohol withdrawal symptoms like nausea because you want to stop drinking. Trust me, you will feel like quitting! That's when a little motivation comes in handy. You need to constantly remind yourself of the joy of the end result of your goal. Like being the belle of the ball at your company's end of year party because you finally got in shape). And celebrate small wins.
9. KEEP GOING
You need to continue working on your goals even if you encounter any roadblocks. Do not give up. Reexamine your strategies and make some adjustments. This may mean changing your plan altogether or even your goal. But being flexible will make you successful. You also have to be proactive about working towards your goals. Keep a journal to record your successes and failures. Write down what is working for you, so you keep at them. On the flipside, brainstorm solutions to the causes of your failures and write them in your journal. Refer to them to help you cope with these failures. Rewrite the reasons behind your goals in your journal to inspire you all the time. Adopting this attitude of forging ahead despite the obstacles will help you stick to your resolutions throughout the year.
Adopt a positive approach to your failures. Instead of throwing in the towel, learn from them and get better at reaching your goals. Note down your failures and what may have caused them and think up ways to prevent them in the future. Given that failures or setbacks are a major reason why people give up on their resolutions, finding a way to work around them will help you stay on track.
Have a great year!
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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