Want to Make New year's Resolutions That Actually Work?
Now, I’m not going to be the first person to talk to you about New Years Resolutions this year, but I may just be the person who has the key to have you stick to them!
The common practice of writing New Year’s Resolutions is one we all know well. We write down a list of all the things we so desperately want to change about ourselves in the coming year ahead. We are so full of hope and have a renewed vitality that comes hand in hand with ending the year past whilst looking excitedly forward to a future full of potential.
We truly believe that if we can just stick to our new year resolutions we will manage to become the 'best version' of ourselves.
You know... That person we've always dreamed of being, who gets everything right, that finds life EASY, has the perfect partner, stays the perfect weight, has the 'right' amount of money in the bank...
But what actually happens?
Well, by January 26th it’s all out the window and we are reaching for the TV remote and slumping on the sofa with a pack of biscuits.
But why?!! Why does this always happen?
Because it’s too bloody OVERWHELMING! That’s why!
Because our list was ten items too long!
There are just too many things on the damn list! So we don't even know where to start! The gargantuan shift from the 'old' us, is just too far removed from this new 'perfect' us that we are trying to live up to. There's too much to do, too much of a shift to even make it possible. You may also have noticed - they’re not SMART goals - there’s no measure, no clarity, and absolutely no accountability.
So let’s look at what actually does work. Oh, and by the way, I should say, first of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you anyway!! Nothing you need to change! You are already whole, complete, and perfect exactly as you are. And yes, you can transform some things in your life if you desire to. There are always going to be things you may want to improve upon. There may also be some unhealthy habits that don't currently work for you. It doesn't mean you are any less! You are worthy, faults and all! You may just have things you are or not committed to working on right now.
So let's get realistic and change what IS actually important to you and WILL make a real difference to your life.
What I have found works, is to keep your commitments (or resolutions) extremely simple. In fact, I suggest only making one to two at most. (ps. This is something that works whether it is a New Year or any time of year!)
To help you choose what to focus in on, it helps to ask yourself this question;
“What is the one thing in my life that is going to make everything else I do easier?”
For me, right now, that would be improving my health.
Now, of course, my own statement is extremely vague. and therefore it's unlikely to work! But it does give me the AREA i want to go to work on.
So now I’ll make it; clear, measurable, systematic, attainable. Something like this should do it...
“I will workout 6 days a week, doing HIIT for 10 mins at 11am on Mon-Sat”
Ok! Now there we have a clear goal!
And guess what? It doesn’t even have a clear result!
You see most people get very hung up on results, and that often stops them from achieving them! The real secret is to create healthy habits and systems in our life.. So try to focus on the system itself, instead of the goal.
Simply having a clear, actionable goal, however, is not what is going to make the difference here. Of course, the next step is taking action!!
And it’s all about taking MASSIVE action and keeping that action up!
Now, if I was to take my goal and really keep it up, but then I did not see much improvement in my health within a few weeks or months, perhaps it would be time to return to it, review and decide on a new action or add another action to my current system. Because not every action we take is always going to work for us.
And let's not also pretend there won't be times I’m going to fail! There will be days when I am not able to exercise at 11am, there will be days when perhaps I forget, or I simply put it off. But the task is all about keeping it up, regardless of how I feel, regardless of whether I want to, regardless of what else is going on, and by prioritising it like it's a matter of life or death!
To just do it anyway, no matter what!
If I do occasionally fall off the wagon, then it’s about getting back on that wagon as soon as possible!
No time should be spent on beating yourself up and flogging yourself for ‘failing’ (again!). All that is important is taking another action.
By mastering a goal like this, you will begin to know yourself as somebody NEW, somebody that actually cracks new habits. A thing that once seemed so hard or impossible to you, will become who you ARE in life. It becomes a way of life, something that if by chance you don’t do - it really messes with your day!
By mastering your new resolution, you begin to know yourself differently, and this is what truly makes the difference to everything else in your life.
You become someone that can take on new challenges - and master them, and you realize you can stretch out your new-found ability to conquer anything you set your mind on, and really there’s not much more satisfying in life!
So remember every time you are setting a new goal, to keep your focus simple - because when we overcomplicate our goals, they become overwhelming, and that is what stops most of us.
So, what is the one thing that would make the biggest difference to your experience of yourself and your life in 2021?