Are you great at setting resolutions, yet find it hard to take measurable action? Do you get excited about how good it will feel to turn your resolution into reality but don’t know where to start? Do your resolutions look great on paper but seem too far out to achieve?
I love setting resolutions. As one year ends, and a new one begins, excitement fills the collective air. We take stock of the past year and resolve to make the new one better. Setting resolutions is the fun part, taking action to get there can be hard. When it gets tough it becomes alluring to give up. As the weeks tick off, January turns to February, resolutions seem like a quaint holiday ritual we slowly let go of and move on from. Thus, some studies show that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them each year. This doesn’t have to be you!
Keep reading to learn the 8 simple ways to stick with your resolutions so you can create the life of your dreams.
A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Resolutions differ slightly from goals. A goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. A resolution leads to goal attainment. You first have to resolve to do something, from that resolve of action or inaction a goal is either attained or not. To resolve is to empower yourself to create change. This can be scary and daunting when it comes to the action phase, which sets in on January 1, 2020. When the holidays are boxed up and put away, and routine life sets back into motion, the resolve can begin to wane…pretty darn fast.
To avoid resolution fatigue, and becoming the 92% of people who don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions, follow these simple steps to make your 2020 resolutions your reality.
Sticking with resolutions starts with the resolution(s) itself. Often people set resolutions that are too broad, too varied and/or too many. This can lead to resolution fatigue. You want to do so much that it overwhelms you and then you end up not doing anything at all. To avoid this pitfall, I suggest you start small, be specific, and set 1-3 resolutions max.
If there is a lot you want to accomplish in 2020, I suggest you break your resolutions down in to smaller monthly resolutions. Write each month on a sheet of paper or in your journal. Then list 1-3 micro goals for that month.
For example, if you have a big resolution to lose weight, write out micro resolutions that will support the big resolution of losing weight. January could be:
Breaking down a big resolution into monthly ones makes it much more likely you’ll stick to it.
If you live in a northern climate where walking for 15 minutes outside each day would result in hypothermia, then perhaps you resolve to practice yoga for 15 minutes each day (inside!), then add the 15 minute daily walk to the month of May when the weather is warmer.
Be sure when you’re crafting your resolutions, they are rooted in your desired outcomes not someone else’s. We live in a very “other” focused society where it is easy to fall into the comparison trap of comparing our life with others. Just because certain resolutions are trending on social media or your coworkers are all jumping on the resolution bandwagon doesn’t mean you have to jump on with them. If your resolutions happen to align with friends, family or coworkers, that’s great! Just be sure they originate and resonate with you first.
It’s important to be crystal clear on why you want the desired outcome of a resolution. Being deeply connected to your why will keep you on track when you feel your motivation and discipline waning. Write out your why for each month and spend 60 seconds each morning reading it aloud to yourself. Repeat it mentally while you brush your teeth, meditate on it in the evening, journal about it in the morning. Your why is what will get to take the small steps each day to turn your resolutions into your reality.
To carry the weight loss example forward, if you resolve for the month of January to add 1 serving of leafy greens each day, then plan time in your schedule to shop for the greens so you’re sure to have fresh options on hand.
Use meal planning strategies, look for recipes, keep a food log to hold yourself accountable. If you’ve resolved to practice yoga for 15 minutes a day, research online practices that you like, set up a space in your home where you can easily roll out your mat, explore creating a 15 minute playlist that motivates you to get on your mat, schedule in your calendar when you’ll practice. Set yourself up for success by taking a little time to prep for the small daily actions.
As you flow through the months of 2020, and you create positive change with your intentionally set resolutions, be sure to celebrate your wins. Plan in advance how you will celebrate at the end of each month. Measurable weight loss could be celebrated by donating the now too big clothes to a women’s shelter, buying yourself a new pair of jeans, scheduling a massage or facial, or planning a night out with a loved one.
If you have worked through these steps and still feel stuck, overwhelmed or like you are self-sabotaging your efforts, seek support. There is no shame in asking for help. A good coach, or therapist will guide you and teach you the necessary tools so that you can create positive change in your life with the resolutions you’ve set for yourself.
Finally, if you have a day, or week, or even month where you didn’t stick with your micro resolutions, don’t be hard on yourself. Get curious about why things got off track. Consider external events that played a role. Was it a particularly stressful time at work? Did you have the flu? Was there unexpected travel? Learn from the past and make improvements and adjustments in the present. Turn disappointments into learning experiences which will not weaken you but make you stronger.
The new year ushers in excitement and the opportunity to start a new. A fresh start, a new beginning, and resolutions for a better year. Set yourself up for success by following these 8 steps. Change is within your reach friends. Cheers!
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Ashley Logan is a Certified Integrative Health Coach, writer and workshop facilitator who helps women create actionable strategies that support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness for optimal health.
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