How to Make New Year Resolutions
Let’s talk about New Year resolutions!
The beginning of a new year seems like the best time for a fresh and new beginning. It is an opportunity for everyone to let go of bad habits and replace them with new ones that would help them grow physiologically, physically, emotionally, culturally, socially, morally and even spiritually. It is also a time to establish new routines that would help us be better persons in the coming year. To some people, New Year resolutions are a way to achieving goals, both long- and short-term goals. Some common resolutions often made are; losing weight, eating healthy, quitting drugs, becoming more financially responsible and getting organized.
While it is very easy to pick up a pen and write out your resolutions, the main challenge usually experienced is sticking to them. I had been biting my nails for a long time and one year, I made a resolution to stop gnawing them. 5 days into the New Year I kept up with the resolution and I was so proud of myself. But in the next week, I found myself biting my nails again and so I just continued because I already broken my resolution.
One of the major reasons that make it difficult for some persons to keep up with their resolutions is the mere fact that a lot of persons go crazy with the list, they set too much resolutions that are in fact “not achievable”. For example, a situation where a married man with at least a kid and earns $2,500 dollars as monthly salary with no other means of financial support decides to save $300 dollars every week. At the end of the month, he would have saved up to $1,200 dollars leaving him with $1,300 dollars to run the home for that month. We all know that with the financial state of things in the country, you cannot run a family of 3 with $1,300 a month, therefore he would have to draw from his savings every now and then in order to provide for his family within that same month. Has he kept to his resolutions for that month? The answer is no! These types of resolutions are unrealistic and would never be achieved.
As we begin making resolutions for 2020, I want you to have it at the back of your mind that the changes you make in your life as a result of your New Year resolutions are not just going to be like the previous resolutions. This is because 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade and so, there is something special about making new resolutions for it. Personally, I could even say 2020 resolutions are NEW DECADE RESOLUTIONS.
Trust me, you do not want to make these “new decade resolutions” and not keep them. Here are a few ways to ensure you make realistic New Year resolutions and keep them.
Just one resolution is enough
It is important that you avoid making too many resolutions at once because, establishing new behavioral patterns take time. You should focus your efforts on as little as one specific goal. This makes keeping a resolution much easier. It is better to pick one goal and focus your energy on it rather than spreading your energy across too many goals. The American psychology association has suggested that focusing on just one behavior at a time is much more likely to lead to long-term achievements and success relating to the said goal.
Avoid last minute resolutions
To achieve a goal, you must plan. I advise that you spend enough time thinking deeply about what behavioral or physical changes you would want to make as a new year’s resolution and how you would tackle these changes. Write out the changes you would want to make. Having a detailed plan makes it easier for resolutions to stick. This is important because it would provide you the opportunity to consider the roadblocks you might face in your journey to achieving your goals and also, the strategies that would be employed by you so as to ensure you stay on the path to success. When you make last minute resolutions you end up not planning enough for the task ahead. This means that at the sight of any obstacle, you find yourself giving up because you have no strategies to overcome them.
Begin with small steps
There is absolutely nothing wrong in starting small, even small steps eventually lead to success. If you have a plan to engage in a marathon the coming year, start by going on a jog 2-3 times a week. If you are trying a healthier lifestyle in terms of what you eat, replace some of your junk foods with healthy and nutritious foods. It may seem a slow start, but these little changes make it easier for your new habits to stick.
Choose a specific and realistic goal
The easiest way to make sure you stick to your resolution is by choosing a goal that is specific, well planned and achievable. The problem with a lot of New Year resolutions is that they are too ambiguous. Instead of listing “lose weight this year” in your resolution, while not try to be more specific. Try listing “loose 5kg every 2weeks”. In this case, you tend to be more motivated because of the specificity of your goal. This also allows you plan out how you would achieve your target goal and help you monitor the progress you are making. And seeing yourself make progress automatically keeps you interested in achieving your goals.
Be patient, change is a process
Change is a process. It took you a long time to develop those bad habits. It would also take you a long time to develop new ones. It might take longer than you expected but know that your behavior is something you can continue to work on as you live. Positive change is important. Be patient and respect the process.
Avoid repeating past failures
It is better not to keep making the exact same resolution every year. If you believe you can do something then you probably can, but if you have tried and failed, your self-belief will be low. This self-belief is very important in getting a habit to stick therefore, you do not want it low. If you however choose to reach the same goals you have tried and failed in the past, you need to evaluate your previous strategy and results and then re-strategize so that you do not repeat the same mistake.
Keep yourself motivated
During the first weeks of a new year’s resolution, it is natural to feel confident and motivated to achieve your goal. This might be because you have not faced any major challenges. But what happens when you have to drag yourself to the gym at 5am after you had not slept the whole night cos you needed to study for your coming exams? What then would your motivation be? As a person trying to lose weight, you can buy a dress size you hope you would fit into at the end of the whole process. Hang the dress somewhere you can see it every day and occasionally try to fit into that dress. The motivation you get every time you are closer to fitting into it would keep you on the path to achieving your goal.
Set a “prevention” system
A prevention system helps you avoid things you do not want to do or indulge in so as to meet your set goal. For example, you hope to lose weight this coming year. You should avoid eating unhealthy foods or even having them around you. You are trying to lose weight, what are you doing hanging around pizza, cake or ice-cream joints? When you go to the mall to purchase groceries for yourself, avoid going to the section with alcohol and snacks, except stated otherwise by the manufacturers, those things contain high number of calories and are not recommended for people trying to lose weight.
On your journey to achieving your goals and New Year resolutions, you may fall off once or twice. But it is important to know that you need to keep trying until your goals are achieved. A lot of persons do not know this. Once they have set a resolution for the New Year and they go off the road, they just stop trying. Quitting is not an option here. Learn to bounce back and never quit!
Happy new year!!!