You look at the clock. Only one minute until the ball drops. You gather around your friends as you reflect on another year that has come and gone.
You think about all the good things that happened this year. You also think about the negative ones and try to quickly shift your focus back to the positives.
As the ball drops, your mind is racing with all the possibilities the new year can bring. A new job? A new love? Happiness?
The crowd cheers, and everyone’s excited. It’s officially a new year — and it’s time to begin all those New Year’s resolutions you’ve been thinking about. But, how do you keep them? And how are you supposed to feel good about yourself if you don’t keep them?
I don’t always advocate for making New Year’s resolutions, but I know it’s important to a lot of you guys. So, if New Year’s Resolutions are your thing, I hope this post will help you make thoughtful resolutions that you can feel good about!
Make a Plan for Your Resolution
It is possible to keep and accomplish your New Year’s goals. You just need a plan. Here are five of the best pre-resolution plans to think about when setting your goals for the new year:
1. Focus on One Change at a Time
With a new year comes reflection. With reflection comes a barrage of positive and negative thoughts. While you may — and rightfully so — want to change many aspects of your life, trying to enact change on 10 different parts at once isn’t the smartest idea.
You’re already bombarded with too much information during the day as it is. If you start changing your entire workout routine, completely eliminate all meat from your diet, quit watching TV and start learning a foreign language, then you’re probably going to fail at every one of those goals.
You have to start slow and move from one thing to the next. Rushing into various changes will stress you out and overload your mind. Shift your focus to one major goal and slowly integrate the other goals over an appropriate amount of time.
2. Small Changes Will Lead to Success
You’ve probably heard the concept of going “cold turkey.” If you haven’t, it means quitting something suddenly and in its entirety. For example, going cold turkey on eating meat — no pun intended — you woke up one day and stopped eating meat. While quitting cold turkey works in certain situations, most situations require you to wean off an activity to be successful.
When you wean yourself off something, you’re reducing the activity little by little. For example, you may want to quit caffeine. So, you decide to slowly reduce your caffeine intake day after day. Eventually, your body begins to learn to function without the caffeine, and you don’t feel the urge to drink it anymore. The same concept goes for goals in life.
Large, sweeping and sudden changes almost always led to disaster. For an excellent pre-resolution plan, take small steps in achieving your goals.
3. Congratulate Yourself
Sometimes, you don’t give yourself enough credit. Whether it be for picking up the kids on time, scoring the sale at work or opening a door for a stranger, you do a lot of positive things during the day that you don’t even notice. When you commit to a goal, this self-congratulation is one of the keys to keeping the goal going.
Think about it this way: If you set a goal for yourself and you achieve it, you need to feel the success. Let it soak in for a bit. Big or small, it’s your goal — and your goal is important. Why? Because it’s yours.
Make sure to pat yourself on the back. Take a minute out of your day and think about all the hard work you put in to achieving that goal. Smile and continue chipping away at your larger goal.
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4. Keep Track of Your Progress
When setting goals of any kind, it’s important you have a system of measuring these goals. Setting goals is one thing. Attempting to achieve them and keep track of them is quite another. With a busy life, it may be difficult for you to stay on task with your progress. Sure, you’re keeping track in your head, but writing it down and making it visible makes a huge difference in your quest for success.
One great strategy is to physically write down your goals on paper. You can even type them out. There are also apps that can help you track your goals and keep you focused.
5. Recommit If You Don’t Reach Your Goal
It’s OK to fail. That may be hard to hear, but it’s the truth. Sometimes, you’re not going to reach your goal for whatever reason — but you can take a look at why. Was it lack of motivation to head to the gym every day after work? Was it not planning ahead for your weekly meals? Use what you learned to restructure your goal so it’s works better for you.
After all, failure can be used as a learning tool. Use it wisely and learn from your mistakes.
If a goal doesn’t work the first time, don’t be afraid to recommit to it. The only way you have a chance at succeeding is if you continue to try. This is one of the most important pre-resolution plans. Do this and you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s to the New Year.