New Years Eve a time for booze ups, resolutions and all round chaos . For most of us it’s about seeing off the year and seeing in the new year with hope and prosperity of it being better than the previous. While I love the optimism and quite frankly I think it’s great to want the New year to be better because no one exactly wants it to be worse do they? But it’s the way we go about it that we are doing wrong….
New Years Resolutions.
The typical new year new me mindset really plagues us all come January 1st but put your hands up if you’ve ever set a New Years resolution thats failed (my virtual and actual hands going up here). Some of the most common resolutions include to lose weight, eat healthier, BE healthier, stop smoking,take up a new hobby etc etc. The problem with these examples are although they can be communicated in very few words, they are actually very big and complex . It’s one of the main reasons that people don’t achieve their resolutions because they are too large to tackle and therefore either go hell for leather on them for 2 weeks and fall off the wagon because the extremities of them are not maintainable or just the sheer prospect of approaching them is enough for them to go running for the hills (I guess for those whose resolution is to run, they may be power walking to those hills ).
Here are my five top tips for new years resolutions…
1.DON’T SET THEM: New Years Eve is like an over dramatic Sunday. To elaborate, in the year when we are starting new diet, gym regime etc etc, we always tend to hide behind the trusty “i’ll start on Monday” excuse and thats similar to the New Years mentality in December “i’ll start in the New Year”. It dosen’t help that Christmas starts in November and Christmas themed cake and chocolates are flowing from office cupboards and supermarket aisles, so it’s no wonder that we don’t want to start the diet until the ‘new year’. I feel we wait for the new year like it’s a Monday ‘the magical day where every thing will start and happen’, but all that does is put it off, creates this excuse and everyone knows nothing grows from avoidance and excuses. Instead of waiting for the New Year where no doubt by one AM New Years day, your in the kebab shop inhaling cheesy chips and potentially puffing on that cheeky cigarette (there goes those two resolutions you set) look at the new year as a fresh start, don’t put all your hopes in one days worth of resolutions, because like Monday when the new year comes around and you may have already messed up on those resolutions, you don’t want to be waiting for a whole year to start them again.
2.Why wait for the new year? To elaborate on the last point, why are we waiting for Mondays and New Year’s to make a change? February 1st is as good as January 1st, just like starting your diet on a Wednesday is JUST as effective as starting on a Monday. Stop waiting, start DOING.
3.Set GOALS not resolutions: according to the dictionary a resolution is defined as: a firm decision to do or not to do something. Now compare it to the definition of goal:the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. See theres a huge difference, resolutions tend to be things your NOT going to do, where as goals are things you ARE going to do and want. Goals relate to desires and achievements and to me even the word sounds more appealing than resolutions and more importantly the definition behind goals are about adding to your life and resolutions most of the time seem to be about taking things away.
4.Make goals SMART: Specific/small, measurable, achievable, realistic, time based.
Specific, it’s SO important to be specific about your goals but also sometimes when they are big ones like lose weight, you need to break them down into smaller more manageable goals such as, go the the gym 3 times a week (or find an exercise you enjoy… check out my “5 things Exercising Consistently Taught Me“).
Measurable, take weight for example it’s easy to measure weight isn’t it? You can use the scale number or clothes size etc but how do you measure for example “to be more confident”. First things first that type of goal needs to be broken down into smaller more specific goals such as, doing a presentation at work or start reading more self development books. When the goals are specific and small enough it’s easy to measure it, even if you have to get creative.
Achievable and Realistic, now I truly believe if you set your mind to it you can achieve anything, however setting a goal for example to run the London marathon on two weeks training and you’ve not run for 5 years just ‘ain’t gonna happen is it?’. Being realistic is more for your benefit than anything else, because by being realistic your more likely the reach that goal instead of being disappointed when your striving towards something that’s not.
Time based, now i’m not a big believer in time scales and saying the end goal should be achieved in 2 months or 6 months, especially if they are big ones. I do think though in order to keep on top of your goal and tracking it, once you’ve broken your goals down into micro goals A,B,C these I feel should be time based. So for example a main goal may be to learn a new language, first step in achieving that goal (micro goal A) is to pick a language, now this may take some time doing some research in terms of class availability and proximity, but if you give your self the time scale of 6 weeks to establish the language you want to learn, then that way you are keeping on track to achieving the goal.
5.Goals are for life, not just for New Years: Never stop setting goals, as humans goals keep us focused, keep us inspired and driven. Without goals we simply can become autonomous. When ever you reach your goal never just stop there, each goal you set and achieve you will grow from. Therefore big or small always have at least three goals in your head, it doesn’t matter if at that specific time you’re not striving towards all three, but it’s so important to our mental well being to have that passion to achieve something. Keep in mind that not all goals can be achieved in a year, for example if you’ve got a goal to buy a house, then likely hood is that goal will take you longer than a year, therefore if you’ve broken down that goal into micro goals for example micro goal A setting up a bank account to START saving into, you can achieve lots of micro goals in the one year but the main goal may take you two. In addition to this goals such as to ‘get fit’ and ‘stop smoking’, these are life style changes although the initial goal is to get your fitness up or stop smoking cigarettes, maintaining that for the rest of your life is the ultimate one.
No matter what you do in 2017 keep setting goals and keep smashing them, the only one who can do that is you.