8 Steps To Achieve your New Year's Resolutions | Facades and Nuances: 8 Steps To Achieve your New Year's Resolutions

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

8 Steps To Achieve your New Year's Resolutions

Around this time of the year, I tend to make around fifty New Year's Resolutions, actually attempt about ten, and then completely give up after the first week. This year, I am committed to actually completing one - keeping my resolutions this year. And in order to achieve that, I have compiled a list of all the tips and tricks I could find to achieve any of my goals and resolutions that I make on New Year's Eve or anytime down the road.

More below...

1.  Make fewer resolutions.
It is so easy and enticing to decide to make a bunch of resolutions at the start of the new year. A new year means a fresh start and should herald the "new you" - i.e. the version of yourself that does everything you ever wanted to do. But it's so much easier said than done. The reality is that we are creature of habit and even making a resolution as simple as flossing your teeth everyday or waking up a little earlier takes a lot of willpower and planning. So instead of making a lot of resolutions at once, make one and work at it until it becomes a habit. Then you can introduce a new one later during the year. Sure, it takes more time but it will probably last more than that one week you try to do everything you ever wanted to do. Speaking of the new you...

2. Don't make resolutions from a  negative place.
Be kind to yourself. Saying you want to lose 10 pounds because you feel fat will work against you. Working towards that goal will be tainted with negative connotations. Reword your goals and use that positive psychology to start stay optimistic and motivated!

3. Make appropriate and realistic goals
There is no way you are going to be able to run a marathon in a month if you haven't exercised in ages and there is no way you can control if you are going to get a promotion. For the former, that's just ridiculous and for the latter, you simply can't control outside forces. Make goals for things that you can control and things that are feasible. Sign up for a half-marathon in 3 months or work on improving something at work.

4. Write down your goals or make an inspiration board
It's a pretty simple concept. Writing down your goals gives you something tangible to look at instead of keeping your goal in your mind as a fleeting moment. Make sure you keep it somewhere you can see it regularly in order to stay motivated. After awhile, the initial excitement fades away and you are no longer driven achieve your goal. Remembering why you started in the first place can keep that perseverance going.
An inspiration board functions in the same manner. Make a pinterest board or collage of pictures and words that inspire you towards your goal.

5. Make a schedule and focus on the progress
This has to be one of my favorite tips. Focusing on a goal is a lofty premise and for a perfectionist like me - it's intimidating. Instead, make a schedule of what you will do every day. Focusing on what you do every day is far more productive and manageable. One of the best examples of this principle in action is NaNoWriMo.  The premise is that during the month of November you write a 50,000 word novel. Sounds crazy, right? But the idea is that if you write 1, 667 words a day, you will complete your goal. . If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I (kinda) participated this year. Now, I didn't have an actual novel idea so I got nowhere near 50,000 words - but, the experience and the schedule got me back into the rhythm of writing and instead of having 0 words on paper, I have 25,008.
This also has another benefit. A goal is finite whereas a schedule is far sustainable in the long run. Even after you achieve your goal, you can still keep going and improving.  

6. Prepare for your goal and be aware of the potential obstacles
As I mentioned in my NaNoWriMo example, I didn't have a novel idea charted out so it was difficult for me to complete my goal. If your goal is to eat healthy, and all you have are chips in your pantry - it's simply not going to work. Figure out what your goal is, how you are going to achieve and get the supplies you need to make it happen! Don't get caught up in a second of inspiration; instead, focus on a long-term plan of diligence.
Also, think about potential obstacles that can happen and try to devise ways that you will overcome them. Psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen has devised the WOOP method which stands for "wish, outcome, obstacle, plan" which allows you to envision if-then scenarios that allow one to tackle potential setbacks that can occur in advance. This allows for more realistic goals.

7. Tell some people and but don't get too happy yet.
There are so many conflicting ideas on this idea. Some people recommend telling people about your goal so they can hold you accountable. Others recommend against it -  telling people about your goal can make you feel like you already achieved it and less likely to actually do so.  
I recommend telling your goals to your closet friends and family and then asking them to hold you accountable. That way, you have a close support system that has your back and keeps you positive but will also keep you focused on your goal.

8. Don't be too hard on yourself
Remember, we are focusing on the process. Don't be too hard on yourself if you can't fit in a morning run or fall asleep instead of writing. Instead of dwelling on every little setback, stay positive. Every step towards your goal counts. Just keep going.

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