New year resolution is usually set at the beginning of the year, but many see them fail even before the end of the first month. The failure has nothing to do with willpower or lack of effort. It has to do with things that you can likely and readily change in how you approach resolutions.
Here’s a way to help you maintain your new year resolution.
Set intentions, not “musts.”
Resolutions tend to come with a “should” or a “have to,” and we
rebel against these kinds of directives. Resolutions can be said to be intentions. An intention is an aim — a direction in which we are moving. There is no set point or date by which to achieve.
Connect with your “why.”
Ask yourself, “Why do you want what you want?” Again, if
your answer includes a “should” or a “have to,” scrap the goal. When we have an intention that is a deep desire and we can identify and stay connected to that WHY, it makes for meaningful and achievable resolutions that create happiness in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Get out of your own way.
Just setting an intention isn’t enough if deep down you don’t think you can accomplish it in the first place. Perhaps the biggest misconception is that a good intention can overcome lifelong habits of thought and behavior. Positive change comes not from pushing through with determination and perseverance, but rather through getting out of your own way. This means clearing up any negative thought patterns we carry about ourselves, or our capacity for change.
So how can you get out of your own way?
First, it’s important to understand how negative thoughts drive our beliefs and behaviors. To do this, keep a journal of both your negative and positive thoughts throughout the day along with the behavior that followed. We typically find that positive, internal ‘self-talk’ drives positive behavior, and that the opposite is true for negative self-talk.
Then, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Negative thoughts are rarely accurate and only serve to sabotage us.
Think of a theme.
Create a theme, or “a one- or two-word mantra that supports you in moving towards being more of the person you want to be. Write the theme down and put it in a visible place — especially
helpful during challenging times.
Set goals that are in line with your values.
A strong resolution with a solid chance for success bridges that gap between values and action. So first identify your core
values, take your top five and use them to create a personal mission statement. Then set your New Year’s goals based on that statement.
An example: “To participate in enjoyable physical
activities three times weekly in order to feel
strong, boost my mood and improve my overall
sense of health and well being”
People tend to approach New Year’s resolutions from a place of deprivation, restriction and punishment. The quintessential
example is wanting to lose weight. People turn to diets or difficult-to-maintain intense exercise —both of which are the antithesis of lasting habits.
If we want to feel healthier, maybe we’ll start moving our body in ways that feel good to us and paying attention to what foods make us feel energized and healthy, this way, we aren’t in deprivation and discipline mode, but our energy and action can align with our intention in a positive, supportive way.
Remember that your goals shouldn’t be “trying and uncomfortable, but exactly the way you want this part of your life to look and feel like.
Check in with yourself.
Set weekly intentions, which you assess at the end of each week. Very compassionately look at what went wrong and celebrate successes. From that place of clarity, you can set intentions for the coming week.
Chop up each goal.
Big goals are overwhelming, so sit down and consider the ridiculously easy mini-steps that you can take. Make sure they’re reasonable and attainable.
Create a goal-friendly environment.
A common hurdle in accomplishing our goals is creating the
settings and circumstances that cultivate them. A resolution that results in real change requires a shift in priorities. New Year’s goals get a bad rap mostly because we set restrictive resolutions that don’t honor our values or ourselves. We set resolutions hastily, minutes before the ball drops, without considering what we truly want. This year, let the above tips help you create nourishing, positive and lasting goals.
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