Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve have come and gone. Now, your focus has shifted to having a fresh start at things. You want to get in shape, drop some bad habits, let go of toxic relationships, and replace them with new and more fulfilling ways of living and being. You’re filled with excitement and determination, but is that enough to create long-lasting change?
Most people abandon their resolutions after a short period of time. Feelings of sadness, regret, and failure often trickle in a bit later. Sometimes, difficult emotions like these can last for days, weeks, or longer.
To avoid the pitfalls of New Year’s resolution disaster, here are some tips to help you succeed in the short and long term.
As you learn to look for new thoughts, inspirations, and feelings while making changes, you start recognizing that the actions you’re taking aren’t just about the goal—they’re about renewing your commitment to yourself.
Keep your goals realistic
One of the reasons people fail to achieve their goals is because they realize, after they start, what it takes to accomplish the vision. Often, when they start seeing what’s really needed to attain their goals, they give up quickly. Feelings of zeal and enthusiasm become moments of dread and discouragement.
Here’s a solution:
When setting goals or making resolutions, be realistic about what you can achieve.
For example, if you haven’t been even an occasional runner but now you want to be able to run a marathon in six months (that’s 26 miles) you have to ask yourself whether this goal is realistic. Have you done all the research to determine how long it would take you to become a marathon runner? Do you know what other changes or adjustments you will have to make? Do you know what equipment you need to acquire? And where to look for support?
Perhaps a more realistic goal would be to be able to run 5 miles in six months. If you exceed your goal, that’s great! But if you simply meet your target, you would also experience a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. And that sense of accomplishment will give you enough confidence to create a new goal for yourself and go after it.
Even if you don’t get to 5 miles—let’s say you worked yourself up to 3 miles—you’d still be closer to achieving your goal than you would be if your goal was to run a full marathon. And being only 2 miles off your goal will produce much less disappointment than being 23 miles off your goal.
Being realistic about your goals will help you stay connected and committed to them. Not being realistic is a large step in the direction of not getting what you want.
Learn to Become a Good Planner
Very often, people fail to reach their goals because they don’t spend enough time planning how to get there. They spend a lot of time dreaming about the rewards, but not enough time on how to execute the plan.
Truth: You can have and create almost anything you want as long as you go after it in an achievable way.
Don’t just set a goal, plan it! Look for the various steps you think are needed to get what you want and begin acting on the first one.
Using the example of a 5 mile run, before you start running, you may need to make sure you have the right shoes and clothing. If you think having a gym membership would help, visit a few in your area to see which one best suits your needs and budget. Perhaps think about joining a running club, and make inquires as to which one might be the best fit.
We often overlook the planning stage of goal setting because it can at times feel like a buzz kill. The reality is that planning effectively is an excellent strategy. You need it to be successful.
"Resolutions may come and go, but a journey can last a lifetime!" - Joseph Eliezer