It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel like we have to completely overhaul our lives for this year to turn out better than the last. New Year’s Resolutions are HARD! I finally stopped making them. I just couldn’t live up to the expectations I had built in my mind of how I was going to lose that extra weight, spend more time with my kids, save some money, finally organize my house top to bottom, and on and on…before I know it, it’s December again and I haven’t gotten anywhere close to beating those resolutions. Then I realized there’s an easier way to make and meet goals for a new year. I’m not saying New Year’s resolutions are a bad thing. In fact, if you have a specific goal in mind, then starting at the beginning of a fresh new year is ideal. It’s a blank slate just waiting for you to write on it. What I have learned is that making grand, sweeping resolutions rarely work. If you’re interested in learning how to set realistic goals that you can stick to, read on!
If you want to make resolutions that last beyond January 31st, it’s important to change how you think. Most of us start out the year positive and motivated, but by week three reality sets in and suddenly those goals don’t seem all that important anymore. A few tweaks to how we handle New Year’s Resolutions could make a world of difference in whether we reach them.
- Don’t Post Your Goals on Facebook. According to Shawn Daugherty, PsyD at the Medical Center of Aurora in Colorado, posting goals on social media can cause a lack of motivation. If you post too soon, all those likes and feedback you’re likely to receive can create a false sense of accomplishment and weaken your commitment to your goal. It’s a much better move to post AFTER you’ve reached your goal and wow your followers then. According to research, people are much more likely to achieve their goals if they keep them to off social media.
- Find Your Tribe and Lean On Them! Your close-knit group of friends are likely to be your best support system and are great at holding you accountable. They can also help you plan social activities that are in line with what you’re trying to accomplish. Find friends who are going to be positive about the change you’re trying to make.
- Treat Your Goal Like An Internship. Some studies say it can take 66 days for a new habit to become part of your routine. We know using your BrainTap and the BrainTap Pro App can make that time much shorter and make accomplishing goals faster and easier. Use this “internship” time to research the habit you’re trying to change. Read up on things, take notes, set a strategy that breaks your long-term goal into doable short-term learning goals. According to Dr. Daugherty this type of mindset can help you stick with your resolutions long past the end of January.
- Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes. No one can be perfect all the time. We are human and we’re going to fail. The important thing is that you don’t let a setback become a spiral. Just like big changes are made up of small victories over time, they also include setbacks. Plan for mistakes and envision yourself getting back on track if you slip off.
- Be Mindful of Your Motivation. Why did you choose this particular goal? Are you afraid something bad might happen to you if you don’t–like getting sick if you don’t stop smoking? Or did you choose it because you want to improve your life and have a better time–like being able to be active with your kids by summer? Keeping positive “what if” scenarios in your head instead of worst-case scenarios can help you stay motivated towards your goals. Remember to feed that motivation with small rewards along the way as you reach mini milestones.
- Keep it Simple. Having a goal of losing 50 pounds this year can be overwhelming. Break that goal into the smallest possible steps first. For some people this might be as small as walking on the treadmill for one minute a day or cutting out one dessert a week. That’s okay as long as you stick with it, persist, and build on those small steps. The hardest part of change is making it automatic. Tiny habits will grow if you stick with them.