How often have you achieved your New Year’s resolutions? Many of us use the start of a new calendar as a reason to reinvent ourselves. We set ambitious goals – like swearing off carbs, learning a new language, running a half-marathon or switching careers – often committing to several plans at once.
While it’s certainly healthy to make positive changes, it’s important to remember that goals are almost impossible to achieve if they’re unclear or unrealistic. It’s also an uphill battle when we dedicate ourselves to too many resolutions at once.
That’s not to say that we should ditch the idea of New Year’s resolutions altogether. Rather, perhaps, it is time to carefully consider the types of goals we are setting ourselves, as well as what we’re doing to achieve them.
Here are five tips for setting more realistic resolutions – and sticking to them.
- Choose quality over quantity
When you set too many goals at once, you run the risk of losing focus on some and perhaps even all of these plans. Instead of biting off more than you can chew and setting yourself up for failure, why not rather arrange your goals in order of priority? Which of your goals matters most to you right now? Choose the top two or three resolutions on your list for this year and keep the rest for the next year. This way, you can give each of your resolutions the focused attention that they deserve.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint
If you have an ambitious goal in mind, it makes much more sense to break this journey down into smaller, more realistic steps. For instance, if you want to lose 10kg, why not rather plan to lose 0.5 to 1kg per month? This seems a lot less daunting than losing 10kg as soon as possible. Once you have broken your goals into bite-sized chunks, view each of these chunks as a milestone and set yourself a specific deadline for achieving each of these. This will make it a lot easier for you to track your progress and keep moving towards the end goal. And if you do fail to meet one of your milestones, don’t give up! Just try to hit your deadline next month.
- Be clear about what you want to achieve
If you set a vague resolution, you are more likely to lose your sense of purpose as the year progresses. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know where to start? The best way to clarify your goals is to write them down and assess whether you have expressed them as clearly and realistically as possible. For example, instead of vaguely resolving to spend more time with friends, why not rather aim to set up a monthly social supper club or a weekly friendly tennis game?
- Understand why you want to achieve these resolutions
Many people fall into the trap of setting goals that align with their ideal vision of who they should be instead of who they really are. It’s important to remember that you’re setting New Year’s resolutions for yourself and not to impress or please anyone else. If your goals do not resonate with the true you, then will you be motivated enough to achieve them?
- Measure your progress
The best way to stick to your resolutions is to set regular appointments with yourself to review your goals and the progress you’re making towards them. No matter whether it suits you better to reflect on your resolutions once a week, every month or at the end of each quarter – just setting this time aside is an important step towards achieving your dreams. It’s all about looking back to see what you have done right and whether you need to change your attitude or actions going forward.