New Years Resolutions are a tricky thing. My A-type personality secretly loves them. In fact, there have been years where I have written a two page document with a third page for my signature and a witnesses signature! This is no joke. I can be quite the perfectionist! While this might be fun and a good idea for some, for those, like me, who can beat themselves up over not sticking to their goals, it can be extremely daunting and damaging. Not to mention a complete waste of time! I never stuck to those goals. Probably not even one. I was overwhelmed and out of touch, and didn’t have the tools I needed to succeed.
The more centered side to me believes that each day affords us this same opportunity – to start fresh and be the best version of ourselves. It is important to keep this in mind, as undoubtedly we will all fall off track at some point or another during the year. So my best advice is to approach these resolutions with a healthy mind – they are fantastic guiding tools, they set up our year on a positive, hopeful note, they keep us motivated, they can offer real change… HOWEVER… they are not the be all and end all. You may slip up, skip a day here, miss something there… That’s not failure, that’s human, and it’s OK. You can start fresh any day of the week, not just Monday, and not just Jan 1st!
Another common mistake is to think that this is the only time of the year we have to set goals. Not true! We can set goals at any time of the year we choose. We can set them several times a year! When you look at it like this, you take some of the pressure off your NYR – they are not definitive. You can change them, add to them, take away, and rewrite them entirely. In fact, I encourage you to. You may notice along the way that some of them aren’t serving you (this is not failure), or perhaps that you can reach higher than you originally set out to. Make the necessary adjustments and remember, our NYR don’t have to be perfect and neither do we!
So, whilst I don’t believe there is any perfect way to set out resolutions, I have found some tricks that are helpful at ensuring ALL goals are within reach. In setting my own recently, I thought I would share them with you. I hope these help you too!
Set some time aside the next few days to actually flesh out your hopes for 2016. It’s not too late, but don’t expect them to fall into place this Friday if you haven’t put any thought in to them. Block out about 2 hours to yourself for a brainstorm/visualisation session where you come up with how you want your year to go and what it is you want to achieve. Put in the time to give them the best chance of success.
Positive goals v Negative goals
A positive goal is something you want to do, whereas a negative goal is something you want to stop doing. Louise Hay says that the more we focus on what we don’t want to happen, the more likely it is to occur because we are continually creating it. This is because the brain is an obedient servant and listens to the subject matter you are focusing on, “What you put your attention on grows and becomes permanent in your life”. Move away from the negative and start focusing on what it is that you do want to happen. This is the power of positive affirmations, and you can use these to achieve your goals. Don’t make your goal, “I don’t want to do….” frame it in a positive light, and say daily positive affirmations that support it.
Spell it out
By now, we all know we must write our goals down but let’s make sure they aren’t vague, ok? You want to commit to yoga 3 times a week? Great! What days? Where are you going to take these classes or what online platform will you use? Better yet, once you have written it down take out your calendar or use your phone to set reminders on the days that you are supposed to go. Be specific.
Not too many… Keep it simple
As I said, I used to write whole files for my NYR… Not anymore! Stick to a few important goals so as not to overwhelm yourself. I like to have about 5 main goals and I will have smaller ones underneath which contribute to the overall goal, where appropriate.
Telling a friend is the best way to stay on track. You can both keep yourself accountable. I personally tell my partner – but a mother, sister, best friend or work colleague would work too. Obviously, you want to tell someone you are comfortable with, and someone who isn’t afraid to pull you up when you fall off the wagon.
Set a date for reflection, perhaps in 3 months time, to see how you have been going and to reward your progress. This is a nice way to have a more “in sight” silver lining to your goals… it’s not the end… but it is a date where you can acknowledge your hard work (closer than December 2016!), and is like a little pit stop. Take time to reassess, see what is working and what isn’t, adjust for the coming months, and reward your efforts! You deserve this! Maybe it’s a massage, a delicious treat, a weekend getaway… do something that makes you feel good and reminds you how far you have come in your year so far. This isn’t the finish line, but 3 month check-ins and little treats are a nice way to keep motivation up and momentum going.
This is not one to help you stay on track, rather, it is one for your wellbeing and sanity. BE KIND to YOURSELF. No one is perfect. There will be days when you just can’t stick to them or day’s when you just don’t feel like it. Accept where you are at and pick yourself back up the following day. It is a learning process… learn what works for you. Remember, each day affords us a new opportunity to be the best version of ourselves. Some days, that really is to just rest, skip the work out, eat the cake, have a cry, whatever! Allow yourself this opportunity to be authentic, forgive yourself, let it go and continue on.