New Year New You?
New Year’s Day is a day usually marked by large crowds gathering in Time Square and parties around the country watching the ball drop on television. But just like everything else this year, it was slightly different. January is usually a day that gyms usually see their highest spikes in memberships, but probably won’t be as high this year. Although Covid-19 has changed or altered nearly every normalcy we know, one thing that has not changed is our New Years Resolutions.
Most people’s new year’s resolutions require a lot of dedication and hard-work. Resolutions like: quitting smoking, lose weight/get in shape, learn a new skill, or stop eating out so much. Most people who start these types of resolutions usually make it through the month of January, but through February. This year poses significantly different challenges and higher than usual stress.
A Goal Without a Plan is Just A Wish!
One big issue we often make is we don’t really have any sort of plan for our goal/s. For instance: We may say I want to learn to play guitar this year. But, if you don’t make a plan, you’re unlikely to succeed. How are you going to learn to play? YouTube Videos? Online Course? Find a teacher? And when exactly are you going to practice? How many times a week? At what times? If you don’t know the answers, you’re not likely so succeed.
In order to be truly successful you have to take your goal and break it down into smaller steps. As yourself the following questions:
- What is my overall Goal?
- What smaller Steps do I need to do to achieve this goal?
- How can I add this to my calendar/schedule?
- What are some bench marks I can add to make sure I’m making progress?
- If I’m trying to break a habit, what are my triggers?
- What Can I do to counteract those triggers so I don’t just go back to the bad habit?
You must be able to answer at least some of these questions if you have any hope of success.
Giving Ourselves an Excuse Before the New Year.
Bad habits became bad habits for a reason. They made us feel good, it was just easier or we were just being lazy. These small choices over time become habits. We go into the new year thinking this is going to be the year I finally do X or finally give up Y. When tell ourselves that I’m going to change X about myself on January first, we are also telling ourselves that it’s okay to indulge in or participate in that bad habit currently.
“I’ll just have this one last cigarette, because I’ll quit next year.”
“I’m just going to eat this last piece of cake because my diet starts next year.”
“I’m going to stay on this couch and watch T.V. because I’ll get in shape next year.”
When we tell ourselves stuff like this, we are telling ourselves two things:
- I really like this thing that’s very bad for me or I really like doing X activity, so I’d better do as much of it as I can before I have to stop.
- I can just put it off until later.
If you go into the new year with this type of mindset, I can guarantee you won’t even make it through January. A resolution is a goal and goals have to have positive mindsets to be achieved. If you go into something thinking like, “I have to go on a diet even though I live cake and fast food,” you’re telling yourself that you don’t really want to go on the diet.
It’s All in How You Say It
Try Something like this instead:
- I am going to quit smoking now because it’s a disgusting habit, it’s costing me too much money, and it’s affecting my dating life.
- I am going to start eating healthy right now because the stuff that’s in fast food and high sugar foods are shortening my life.
- I’m going to get off this couch and stop binge watching TV shows because these shows are steeling to many hours from my life.
Make sure when you’re talking about your goals you talk with urgency. It can’t be I’ll get around to later. It has to be right now, because your mind will respond to the way in which you phrase things (even if it’s just in your head).
Forgive and Move On.
There will come a time when you may slip and either fall back into previous patterns or indulge in the thing you were trying to avoid. It’s important to remember to forgive yourself for one slip, but not to the point where you give up on the goal entirely.
It’s also important to analyze why it happened. Analyze why you slipped and how you can prevent in the future. It’s also extremely important that you not give up. Don’t just throw away all the work you’ve done because you messed up (even multiple times). You are not a robot and live is not easy and can be very stressful. As human beings we often want to return to that which is familiar and comforting. But, that’s often where the bad habits started in the first place.
New Year’s Resolutions are hard, because they are life-changing goals, and life-changing goals are not something you can accomplish overnight. Most of these goals may actually take multiple years to achieve. But the keys to success, whether new years or not, are the same. determination, hard-work, and will power. No one said it would be easy, but that’s kind of the whole point.
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