Every year we make New Year’s resolutions. We set these resolutions with the best of intentions, so why can’t we keep them? While we start out strong cutting the carbs or hitting the gym, we get discouraged when we still do not see results after weeks or months of hard work. So how can we become more successful with our good intentioned goals?
- Set a New Year’s resolution (this is the easy part) – and notice that it’s actually a long-term goal.
- Once you have decided what the long-term goal is, break it down into monthly and/or weekly goals. For example, if you goal is to lose weight this year, make your monthly goal to work out at least 12 times this month (or if you prefer, at least 3 times each week). Do not pay attention to the numbers on the scale. Instead, see if you can commit to the monthly goal without the worry of weight loss. Taking care of your body is not just about the number on the scale.
- Break down your monthly/weekly goals into specific daily goals. For example, this week I will work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Or, even more specifically, today I will go sign up for the gym and tomorrow I will work out at 7 P.M. Breaking down long-term goals into more specific short term goals allows ourselves the instant gratification of our success.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. If you know you are not a morning person, don’t plan to work out before you go to work. Or, if you know three times each week might be too overwhelming, start by doing just one or two days. It is always better to set your goal low and exceed it than to be an overachiever and set yourself up for failure.
- Find a resolution partner or support team. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone when attempting change. Also, having a partner or support team helps you to stay accountable for your goal. For example, if you know that you have to pick your friend up to go to the gym you are less likely to talk yourself out of it. So go ahead, find out who else wants to quit smoking, join the gym or start a book club. There is a good chance you are not alone in your resolution.
So whatever your resolution, give yourself a break. Allow yourself many successes with multiple, realistic, short-term goals rather than beating yourself up over a failed long-term goal. Good Luck!
Tiffany Tumminaro, LCSW, CADC