a better way to achieve your goals –
New Year’s Resolutions – we all make them. Yet by mid-January many have fallen by the wayside and by the end of June we can barely remember what they were. So, what’s wrong with them and why don’t they work?
The whole logic behind New Year’s Resolutions as a way to create change is seriously flawed. Think about it….
New Year’s Day is just another day
New Year’s Day is actually no different from its 363 brothers and sisters across the year. Sure it marks the start of a new year but, so what? There’s no reason why you can’t resolve to achieve a goal or make a change on any other day of the year. In fact other days may be far better for starting a new challenge.
New Year’s Resolutions often lack the ‘how’
In the excitement leading up to New Year’s Eve, we often decide that next year will be different. Maybe you’re thinking you’ll lose 10kg, stop drinking on Wednesdays or make sure you leave work on time. Noble as these are, they’re often based on a wish that’s rarely underpinned by a solid plan to achieve them. Without a plan, a wish is like a pack of cards that collapses with the first gust of wind.
Going it Alone is tough
If you’ve ever tried to achieve a goal all by yourself, you’ll know how hard it is. We mistakenly believe that if we achieve it on our own, the satisfaction will be even greater. Yet, on your own, your noble endeavour soon becomes a struggle and it’s easier to give it away than ask for help. Besides, if you haven’t told anyone about it, you haven’t lost anything if you fail, right?
How to Set Yourself up for Success
Before your shoulders drop and you sigh with despair, here are three simple ways to create positive change and pull of the seemingly impossible this year:
#1. Free the goal from New Year and do it at the best time for you
New Year may not be the optimal time for you to embark on a challenging goal. For example, if losing 10kg is your goal, starting your diet and exercise plan during the holiday season may be setting you up for failure. Goals are easiest to achieve when your motivation is high and saboteurs (eg summer holiday partying) are low.
If the thought of going out in shorts with those 10 extra kilos is scariest right after winter, aim to get your wellbeing plan started in spring. By the time New Year comes around, you’ll be well underway, your commitment is established and the extra daylight hours will help you step up your exercise plan.
#2. Set SMART goals and work out a detailed ‘how’ plan
Converting a wish into a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed goal instantly increases your chances of success. Link it to ‘why’ (the benefit and positive outcome of achieving the goal) and develop a ‘how’ plan. This should include what you’ll actually do by when and what resources you’ll need. Identify everything you can that will make it easier and put the plan up on the fridge where others will see it.
#3. Enlist the help of trusted friends.
Once you tell people what you’re going to achieve, it becomes real. If you’re going to back down or opt out, you’re going need to explain it to someone else which will create a sense of failure. Having someone to hold you accountable, encourage you to keep going and celebrate each achievement along the way will increase the satisfaction of nailing it.
Ask a friend to exercise with you, give you gentle reminders that it’s time to leave work or mind the children when you have a monthly ‘date’ night with your partner. Sharing the goal will also give you the opportunity to better support your friends and strengthen your relationships by paying back the favour.
There you have it – 3 simple ways to achieve your goals that have nothing to do with New Year’s resolutions! Be kind to yourself; take the pressure off; let down your hair, relax and have a wonderful New Year.
Here’s to a happy and successful new year.