How To Actually Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions... For Once
Yep, this is your year!
So we’re now at the end of the third week of January, how are your New Years resolutions going?
Yea, we thought so - just like ours, not going at all.
Well lucky for you Lysn, Australia’s online support for mental health, psychologist Stella Franzese has given us some tips on how to actually achieve your New Year’s Resolutions.
According to research from the University of Scranton, a measly 8% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions.
With these five simple steps you’ll need to find more New Year’s resolutions to complete.
BREAK IT DOWN
Stella Franzese from Lysn suggests breaking down these goals into smaller steps. It is important to have the end goal in sight without becoming lost, overwhelmed and demotivated, step by step is the key! So if buying a house is on your list, start smaller and look at things like your savings budget and breaking down the steps to achieve your financial goals. If you’re looking to lose weight this year, break it down into kilos and time frames so that you’re only focusing on losing smaller amounts of weight each time. It is crucial that each “step” is achievable, otherwise you’re only setting yourself up to fail.
TIP: Make a visual chart with your ultimate goal at the top, with each cumulative step underneath.
BUILD A PLAN
The biggest mistake you can make when goal setting is working on a goal without actually having a plan on how you’ll achieve it. How many times have we said “I’ll start my diet on Monday” without actually planning our healthy meals or exercise schedule? This usually results in a breakdown in commitment, a lack of action, us becoming frustrated with ourselves and making the same vague promise two weeks later.
Stella Franzese suggests working towards a plan that is underpinned with structure, clarity, commitment and focus. It is crucial that your plan includes goals and actions that are measurable and achievable. For example, a goal to “get fit” is not as measurable as “being able to run ten kilometres”. A measurable goal assists in planning and increases success! Now that you have a measurable goal to work towards, your plan might include five kilometre runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons for the month of January, to increase to seven kilometer runs in February etc. As another example, if your dream is to start a blog, your plan could be to get up an hour earlier every day and work on the content before you head to your 9 to 5 job.
INSPO QUOTE: They say a goal without a plan is only a dream, and that couldn’t be more truer when it comes to achieving your New Year’s resolutions.
SET A DEADLINE
Setting a deadline is a key component in building a plan, because without one, other tasks will take priority and before you know it, 6 months have passed and you haven’t even thought about your New Year’s resolution. Stella Franzese suggests making clear deadlines to help you focus and prioritise your tasks, but be sure to make sure that the deadline is realistic and achievable. That brings us back to the breaking it down point, if it seems too unrealistic and out of reach, chances are the goal will seem overwhelming and you won’t work towards achieving it. With clear and achievable deadlines, you can easily work away at tasks, ticking off goals each time. Ensure that your deadlines are set, don’t change them at your own convenience or laziness.
DO THE WORK
Sounds like really simple and obvious advice, right? Well it’s surprising how often this point gets overlooked, because whilst having goals is important, many people fail to realise that you actually have to put in the hours to make things happen.
Stella Franzese suggests setting some time aside each day to work on your goal, even if it’s only an hour each morning, add that time up at the end of the week and you’ve spent 7 hours working on your goal (which is a lot more productive than the time that would normally be spent hitting the snooze button). Breaking down our workload also helps with procrastination (for our fellow procrastinators out there), feeling overwhelmed and helps you make a start.
Try to remove whatever fuels your procrastination (for example, put your phone away if you’re a procrasta-facebooker, or stay away from the kitchen if you’re a procrasta-eater). Moreover, it is important that you enjoy what you are doing, otherwise your motivation and goal-directed behaviour won’t last long.
Also, have a Plan B for when life gets in the way of our plan despite our best of intentions (for example, your cat becoming sick, your car breaking down etc). Last but not least, be sure to praise yourself for your achievements and hard work. Once you start to see the fruits of your labour, you’re more likely to keep going!
ASK FOR HELP
Stella Franzese suggests asking for help can make navigating unknown terrain much easier, can save you time and provide inspiration or generate better ideas. Another idea could be to connect with someone who has already achieved your goals and use your inspiration to fuel your goal-directed actions. Alternatively, you can ask a friend to keep you accountable and monitor you, to ensure that you keep your eye on the prize! Although almost embarrassing to share your challenges with others, sometimes it is better to push your pride or fear aside and reach out to those that are willing to support you.
Image credit: Getty Images/Scott Barbour
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