3 steps for keeping your New Year’s resolutions
We’ve all been there. As the year comes to a close, we are filled with emotion for what could have been and ambition for what could be. We then start to reflect on all the things we would like to change in the coming year. And as the count down to the new year begins so begins the count of all the goals for the year ahead.
- This is the year I am going to lose the weight.
- This is the year I am finding a job I love.
- This is the year I am going to find him (or her).
And so it goes. Until we reach February and that resolve starts to slowly diminish and we slip back into the way it has always been. Maybe we have formed some new habits, but as our life gets in the way (as it always does), we let our well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside.
So how do we stick to New Year’s resolutions or should we stop making them altogether?
That depends. The reason why so many of us make New Year’s resolutions is there is something ceremonious about start of a new year. A new beginning. In reality, though, there is no reason to wait until January 1 to make a change. As the saying goes “there is always tomorrow”.
As to how to stick to our resolutions, whether it is January 1 or June 9, it all comes down to these three steps...
How to stick to New Year's resolutions
1. Understand the why behind your goal. That may sound obvious, but in order to achieve a goal, you must really want it. Some of us think we want something but it may not really be our top priority. Do you really want to lose weight or is that what your partner wants? Perhaps it is even what society makes you feel you want. However, if losing weight (or whatever goal you have) is truly something you want, then you must understand why you want it.
Again, with the weight loss example your why may be to simply feel better or to look better or maybe it is to have more energy when playing with your children. Once you understand the why, it will make the goal much more meaningful because it will not only be something you want in your mind but also in your heart, and what you want in your heart will get you through the days where achieving your goal feels tough.
2. Set realistic targets. Let’s face it, quite often the resolutions we set for ourselves are not only ambitious, but they are also life-changing. That being said, they probably won’t happen overnight. To set yourself up to achieve your life changing goals you need to set smaller interim goals. These interim goals will keep you moving ahead.
For example, if you want to change your career you may want to set monthly goals where your first update your CV, then attend a certain number of networking events each month, then apply for a certain number of jobs online, etc. These are tangible steps you can take on the journey to your greater goal. You will get there and by making progress along the way by achieving interim goals, it will keep you motivated to stay the course.
3. Stop looking back. In the past, you may have already had some of the things you are now desiring and that makes it bittersweet to have to do it all again. It can feel as if you should already be there by now since you were there at one time in your life. That can make it demotivating to start again.
Maybe you thought you found the love of your life 10 years ago and can’t believe you are now still single. You keep comparing your life to another point in time and it is now getting in your way. Life moves forwards not backwards. And what we have in our life can look different each year. Focus on the present and the steps you can take to get what you want, even if you once had it.
So next December 31st (or whatever arbitrary date you may choose to make a change), when you are setting your resolutions, consider these three steps for each of your resolutions. If you don’t have a strong why behind each goal, then take it off your list. Once you have goals that are meaningful to you, eyes forward (not backwards) and set those interim steps. You will get there.
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