A new year means a time for change. We have all gone into a new year with the hopes of it being the "best year yet." But what if this year actually was? Setting resolutions at the beginning of the year is a great way to put your intentions for the year, but we need to understand how we can actually make change. It starts with a bit of motivation, a lot of planning, and, most importantly, a positive mindset. Changing your mind is a strength, not a weakness. Here are a few tips that can hopefully help you fulfill those new year's goals.
1. Start small
When we set a goal, looking at the big picture and what we need to do to get there can be daunting. So, it's important to have smaller goals that help you achieve your overall plan. For example, if you think you want to run a marathon but haven't worked out in over a year and are overweight, start walking every day. You want to ensure you are hitting smaller goals to build confidence for the future. Try breaking your main goal into smaller increments. Instead of trying to dedicate yourself for 3 months, 6 moths, or a year, commit 6 weeks to being consistent. You can make complete changes in 6 weeks, even if it's small! This will help establish good habits and motivate you to stick it out to the end.
2. Understand your Why.
There is a reason you have the same or similar resolutions year after year. What is your reason for wanting change? Digging deeper into understanding what is holding you back and your reason for change will encourage you to push forward when things get tough. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, finding out why that's important to you matters. Is it to look a certain way, feel a certain way, or maybe the real reason is to get healthier so you can play longer with your kids? Or go on bike rides with your spouse. When you find the root of your reason, you have a better chance for success.
3. Positive thoughts & Daily Affirmations.
Your mind is your biggest weakness. However, there is proof that changing your thinking can lead to physical changes. Most of the time, we are our own worst enemy. While time and life can get in the way, it's usually our minds that talk us out of accomplishing our goals. Remind yourself of all the good things about you and what you are capable of every single day. Find a few positive affirmations to say to yourself at the beginning of each day or when you start to think negatively, and tell them over and over until you believe them. Here are a few you can start with: "I am capable. I am confident. I am loved. I am worthy of success." I know that sounds cheesy, but try it; you might surprise yourself.
4. Track your progress.
You have probably heard this over and over, but have you ever actually done it? There is nothing more motivating than seeing actual change – this can be hard if you have no proof of where you started. Take pictures, use an app, track your weight, and use a journal. Whatever your goal is, find the best means to track it and start immediately. It will be hard at first, and you might hate looking at the beginning, but once you get a few weeks in and start feeling unmotivated, look back at where you started, and I guarantee you will find the motivation to keep going.
5. Anticipate problems and failure.
Everyone fails; it's ok. But start back immediately. Don't say, "I'll start again on Monday," because then you start giving yourself the excuse every time you hit a road bump. Accepting failure is a part of growth but pushing past that failure leads to success. However, this doesn't mean you should give yourself excuses. For instance, we all live busy lives, and I'm sure many of us use time as an excuse, but there is enough time in the day. It's up to you to dedicate that time to accomplish the things we want. For example, if you want to read more this year, wake up an extra hour early and take just 15 to 30 minutes for yourself to read your favorite book. Before you know it, you will love that extra "me time" in the morning before the craziness of life begins.
6. Reward yourself.
I believe rewarding yourself along the way is just as important as rewarding yourself at the end. Sometimes our goals can take months or even the entire year, but you need to recognize the success that is happening throughout that time. Daily rewards for accomplishing your goals can be something to look forward to each day. For example, if you worked out or read 50 pages, give yourself a small reward at the end of the day – maybe that's one piece of chocolate or an hour of Tv. But remember, you only get to have the reward if you actually complete the task. And, of course, plan a big reward at the end of your goal. If it's 6 weeks, plan to treat yourself to a spa day if you stick to your plan. If it's 6 months, plan a mini vacation. Having something to look forward to can help keep you motivated throughout your journey.
Whatever your new year's resolution or goal is this year, know that change takes time. It won't happen overnight or in a few days, but staying consistent and reminding yourself of what you are capable of will lead you to success. We all have the desire to change, so grab a partner, set your goals, and get started. There is no better time than now.
"I am capable. I am confident. I am loved. I am worthy of success."