Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had an amazing time with family and friends, time off work, time away or whatever else you did. Now that we are fully back into the swing of things with the new year, it’s time for a blog post about resolutions and life.
I can bet that you have already had many friends shoving their New Year’s resolutions in your face and forcing you to make similar resolutions, which we all know won’t stick. But how on earth do you make a New Year’s resolution stick?
Like most people, I have fallen into the trap of setting goals that are way too broad or way too unrealistic each year, and surprise surprise! They tend to disappear after a few weeks, waiting to resurface again a year later, like the little Grinch’s that they are.
Everything can be solved if you just slow the f*** down. Here are a few tips on how you can be sure to set goals that will stick:
Take time in planning your New Year’s resolutions, think about what you truly want to achieve and be realistic when setting your goals. A little exercise that may help is to write down from start to finish, what you believe would be the perfect day. From there, you can pick out things to make your resolutions, for example: the time you wake up everyday, how often you work out, when you read each day.
Be as specific as possible. Broadness will give you loop holes to not do x or not complete y. If your New Year’s resolution is to be more fit, then don’t make your resolution ‘Go to the Gym’. Instead, make it ‘Go to the Gym every two days at 5am after waking up’ or ‘Go for a 20 minute run every evening after work’. Not only are these more specific, giving times and days, but they are also linking your goal to something that you already do everyday, i.e. waking up and coming home from work. If your goals are linked to things that you already do, then you will be more likely to do them.
Don’t burn yourself out. If you go in too hard and too fast, you’ll burn out and won’t be able to keep up. Tying back in with the first tip, be realistic. If you have never worked out before then setting a goal of going to the gym every morning of everyday is quite unrealistic. Try starting off with three mornings a week and go from there.
People like to throw around an amount of time that is needed before a habit sticks, three weeks, 30 days. I’ve seen them all. I truly believe that it takes a lot longer than 30 days. A habit has only stuck when you do it without thinking, the way you start biting your nails when you’re nervous, or the way that you pat your pockets to make sure that your phone, keys and wallet are there every time you go out. You don’t need to force yourself to start biting your nails, you don’t need to think about it. This is when your habit has truly stuck. However, on the other hand, I believe that it only takes two days in a row to break a habit that hasn’t fully stuck yet. Say you’re trying to read every day, missing one day is acceptable because of whatever reason, but missing two days in a row isn’t an accident. You knew that you missed the day before, so you should have put more effort into making sure that you read the next day.
Now I could sit here and talk about habits forever, but I need to save that for future blog posts. So that’ll be it for now.
Just remember when setting goals: Slow down, be realistic, be specific, don’t burn yourself out.