New Year's Resolutions After the First Weeks...
You already failed at your New Year’s resolutions? It’s ok, really!
It's ok to fail, most people do. But it's not ok to give up.
New Year’s resolutions appeared in the 17th century when writer Anne Halkett wrote a diary entry titled “Resolutions”, where she wrote promises such as “I will not offend anymore”. Since then, it has become a common tradition around the world to set intentions and goals at the beginning of each year. It has also become a common practice to abandon these goals by the second month of the year. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February.
Personally, I am 100% guilty of this and I think it’s because I set huge goals without a plan and then I am demotivated when I can’t make a 180-degree turn to my lifestyle… If you also feel this way, keep reading because I think I found some solutions. The first step is to realize that it’s ok to mess up and fail, most people do. What is not ok is to give up. So the real question is, How can we set realistic goals that will not make us feel like a failure if we don’t see success in the first week?
"In order for resolutions to be kept, they must be: small, focused, motivated, manifested and written down."
So, how do we set goals up for success?
Big and quick changes are not realistic. It is next to impossible to drastically change or implement a new habit into your life. In fact, it takes around 66 days for a habit to become so. The goal should be to set small and manageable resolutions to promote gradual change and build on small successes. A good way to make your resolutions small and focused is to use the ‘smart’ methodology. Smart goals are:
- Specific: ‘quit smoking’ instead of ‘be healthy’.
- Measurable: ‘save 10% of my income’ instead of ‘saving money’.
- Attainable: ‘reading 1-2 books per month’ instead of ‘1-2 books per week’.
- Relevant: the goal must be important for you and the reason why has to add value and benefit to your life. These things will provide the motivation to act.
- Time-sensitive: with smaller goals, deadlines help to maintain motivation.
For example: This year, I will become a marathon runner (Specific). I will go running three times each week (Achievable), and I will use a fitness app to track my progress (Measurable). I'm going to run my city's half marathon in June (Time-bound). I'm committed to this New Year's goal because I want to feel fit, healthy, and strong (Relevant).
When you structure your goals this way (whether NY’s resolutions or regular goals…), you take the focus off of the big goal and more on the next step. It also allows you to see where your goals need changing, if you need to save less or change the type of exercise… As long as you constantly review them throughout the year, you are bound to achieve (at least some of) it.
Write it down and manifest it.
That’s why it’s recommended that you write down your goals in a journal, a word document or an email to yourself. Anything you can refer to in the process of achieving the goal. While writing your resolutions down, some things that can help are manifesting and positivity. To manifest your resolutions, and add motivation, the best practice is to write them as your future self explaining how it feels to have achieved the goal. Adding to this you can also write some follow ups every so often to write about your progress in a positive way (even if you haven’t made any).
For example: ‘I’m grateful that I can enjoy my day with the necessary energy now that I have learnt to manage my sleeping schedule’, and as a monthly follow up: ‘Today, February 15, I am happy that I have a new opportunity to improve my skills and test a new strategy I have learned about managing sleeping habits’
Look for a support system...
The most common New Year’s resolutions in 2021 are:
- Managing finances better
- Eat healthier
- Be more active
- Lose weight
- Improve mental wellbeing
- Improve social connections
And honestly, I don’t know who read my diary and shared it with the rest of the world but these are most of my resolutions and I can bet that a lot of you feel the same way as I do about this. What I’m trying to say is that if so many people have the same resolutions, why not look at each other for support? Having people to rely on, get support from, keep us accountable and share our successes and misfortunes is probably the best way to actually reach the finish line. You can find this support amongst your groups of friends or in online communities. But, the most important advice of all is to be nice to yourself. Forgive yourself when you don’t finish a task, be patient with yourself if you have to change your goal, be nice to yourself if success doesn’t look like you thought it would. And remember that the line towards success is never straight, it’s ok to have good and bad days (or weeks). Some goals might need two years to complete, and that’s ok. Rome was not built in a day so if you fall off track, forgive yourself and get back on it.
"Rome was not built in a day so if you fall off track, forgive yourself and get back on it."