It’s that time of year again – time to make your New Year’s resolutions.
And in a few weeks’ time, it will be time to break it.
Not to be rude, but that’s just how it works, right?
When was the last time that you remember actually following through on your New Year’s Resolutions?
If you’re like most people, it’s been a long time.
If you’d like things to be different, here are some ideas that can help.
1. Resolve to do something you really want to do. Sometimes, we make a resolution that we have to white-knuckle. We resolve to quit smoking when we actually like smoking, we resolve to eat well when we really enjoy junk food. What you actually want is the benefit of those actions, like better health. Stay focused on your goal, and word your resolution to reflect that.
2. Don’t set the bar too high. In the spirit of a fresh and brand-spanking new year, we get a little carried away. We make grand statements about how everything is going to be different from now on. And we resolve to never do this and always do that in the future.
Remember that the New Year really is just a reminder of a fresh start. It doesn’t hold any special power that will make this change any easier than other changes in your life. So while you should take this time to reflect on the positive new changes you want to make happen, remember that they still will require focus and hard work.
3. Look at your “shadow beliefs”. Shadow beliefs are your unconscious beliefs about your life. They may be holding you back from making a change. Maybe your shadow beliefs say you’ll never be thin, you’ll never be successful, or that you don’t deserve this or that. Until you uncover and change these beliefs, working on behaviors will be an uphill battle.
4. Set up mini-goals. If you do have a big goal for this year, make sure you set up mini-goals that mark your success along the way. They help you feel like you are making progress on the sometimes long road to something big.
5. Create support and accountability. As with any change, you’ll need support and accountability. Don’t keep your goal a secret. Telling everyone you know about your plan can help you to keep up your efforts. You’ll also need to feel you have someone in your corner if the going gets rough.
6. Take the long view. Making any change is just too hard to strive for perfect. If you’re resolving to lose weight, for example, don’t throw the whole resolution out the window if you have one bad day. Recognize that change will occur because of continued effort over time, not because your behavior was perfect.
Keeping a realistic view of change and taking some time to set yourself up for success can help you keep your resolution for 2013. Good luck!