As I am writing this, it is turning into a cold, wet chilly day here in Northern Arizona. Yes, just got some snow yesterday, but at least the sun is out today! Also, as of today, we have less than 2 weeks till Christmas, everyone ready for that? Luckily for me, I don’t have to buy many gifts and am not living in a spot where I can bake or get all my Christmas stuff out, so it’ll be another chill year which is always nice.
Anyways, since Christmas is approaching, it also means the New Years is just around the corner. Which also means, people are getting their New Year’s resolutions ready only to be broken a short time after...for many of you that is. Yes, I myself have fallen victim to this in the past as well. However, I know the importance of setting goals has on the success rate of actually achieving those goals. So, a few years ago I wanted to figure out a better way to set those so-called New Year’s Resolutions, but in a way that people don’t drop them 2 weeks later. After pondering different options, I created what I call “The New Year’s Aspirations, a better way to crush your goals.”
First, A Few Facts
Before I go more into what the New Year’s Aspirations is, let me talk about a few facts I found while I was researching this topic. The following facts I found in several articles covering different research studies. Yes, I cherry picked information out of them as I didn’t want to create a book on the topic. The first section includes a few facts I found in those articles on why New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Except for the first fact, these were things I was already aware about due to counseling others.
35% break NY resolutions by end of Jan; only about 20% make it through the year.
People tend to set “unrealistic expectations” making it harder to accomplish them.
They tend to have an “all or nothing” attitude and try to do too much at first. They start working on all their goals at once which leaves them burned out.
Finally, people tend to make our goals based off of what others think.
This next section is a list of the 10 most common resolutions that people create:
Learn a new skill or hobby
Live life to the fullest
Save more money/spend less money
Spend more time with family and friends
New Year’s Aspirations
Now, let’s talk about my solution to the New Year’s resolutions. I will go into some tips on setting realistic goals, but first I want to explain how the New Year’s Aspirations came about. I have been like most who set goals only to fall off the wagon after just a few months, then just gave up. And like most, as the New Year approached, I saw it as a fresh start versus what it really is, just another day and a series of days.
It’s the same mentality people have with Mondays. They see Monday as a day they can start fresh and so they let loose during the weekend sabotaging any progress they were making the week before. This type of mentality does not aid in increasing goal success. In fact, it can do it more harm. What I have seen in watching others, this keeps them in a vicious cycle which stalls any progress or just really slows it down.
So, I started thinking, how can we break free from this cycle and increase success in achieving goals? The answer is to treat New Year’s resolutions like any other goal setting process and realize it will be an evolutionary process. Goals don’t have to be stagnant, by that I mean, as life happens you may need to tweak your goals, ie the long-term goals, or the process in achieving those goals, ie, the short-term goals. You may even need to toss some while adding others that will fit your life better.
Time To Set Up Your New Year’s Aspirations
Okay, first thing first. The New Year’s Aspirations starts with taking a few minutes and writing out your goals. Here are just a few tips on how to set realistic goals:
1st: Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. The more specific with your goals that you can be, the better chances of success. If you are unable to make them SMART, don’t worry, just get them down on paper first. As time goes on, work on trying to get them a little bit more specific. Once you have done this step, try breaking down those goals into smaller steps, ie the short-term goals and make them S.M.A.R.T. as well.
2nd: Ask yourself: what are your reasons for making these goals? This is really important! The “whys” will help remind you of the reason for wanting to make changes in your life. This is your motivation behind your goals and will help you in being discipline in working towards them when the initial motivation and excitement of working on those goals start to wane.
3rd: Decide when is a good time to start working on some of these goals, will it be in January or August. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you don’t want to plan on starting all your goals at once. Starting too many at once can make it more overwhelming and harder to achieve. Secondly, some goals you may not be able to start right away for whatever reason. However, listing them will help remind you of them and so you don’t forget to start them when the time is right. Once you have your goals broken down by months, you can start each month with just a few goals to focus on. And remember, this is when you start those short-term goals which will lead to the success of your long-term ones.
Now, here are a few more tips to help you stay on track:
Define your support system which will help you through your journey and help you with any habit changes. Be cautious of those friends who are your “partner in crime”. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones who have the best intentions of helping you but will easily sway you away from it.
Keep a journal of your journey. List what is helping you, what may not work and your successes along the way. When you are struggling to stay focus, or feel like nothing is working, reading what you wrote on what works will help you focusing forward.
Celebrate mini goals. How will you do that? As you are setting up goals, think about that. Achieving the overall goal is great, but achieving the mini steps to get to that overall goal is just as important to take note of.
Also think about how will you sustain your new goals? Example, losing 20 lbs of fat is great, but how will you keep it off? Getting that new job that you want, is great, but what will you do afterwards? This also goes back to thinking about your “whys”.
Review areas which may impact your goals. ie: stress on fat loss or certain relationship which impact your anxiety. These may not be things you can avoid, but being prepared for them will help you cope with any issues better.
Gather whatever resources you can to help you achieve your goals and healthy aspirations. The more tools you have in your bag, the more likely you will achieve your goals.
I hope these tips will help you get started towards achieving those goals. Again, remember, life happens so as time goes on, tweak, add or delete any goal as needed. You got this!!