I will be the first to admit that I hate New Year’s Resolutions. The whole idea seems like a setup to fail from the beginning. With everyone around you trying to do new things there is an unheard mantra of how long can I keep this up instead of declaring it a new lifestyle. This is also the reason that I never make them anymore. There is a good pressure to keep up the resolution. Its usually how new things become habits. But when you stop there is no reprimanding frown, no heralding of the accountability committee. Why? Its expected of you to fail. It’s actually one of the things that makes it easier to quit. No one likes to admit that they follow others around them. We learned in grade school that we aren’t to do everything Tom, Dick and Harry do. However, without realizing it we do. When they fail we are watching them and before you know it we fail. It gets lonely to stand in the gap alone. Part of the desire to make a resolution is to change your current state of being not to subscribe to a trial version of how life could be.
I am more of a birthday wish type of person. It’s more personal. Unlike New Years resolutions where there is a culture of breaking the habit a birthday resolution wish relies solely on you. When you fail to achieve the desired goal you feel the weight of your unwillingness to see it through. This doesn’t mean I’m any better. I have been known to experience a shame or two when blowing out candles reminiscing over a past wish. In fact my current birthday wish was something I had promised myself I’d do the year before. I aim to get it right this time. By my birthday 2017 I should feel pretty darn proud of myself.
Regardless of which way you decide to go here are a few tips to help you keep up with your resolutions.
- Be realistic. I am so serious. You have to be realistic in order to achieve the goal. There is nothing like saying that you will lose 50 lbs in 4 weeks to make you give up quickly. Know yourself and then make a goal that you can aspire to. That doesn’t mean making it so small it doesn’t count.
- Break it down. If I make a goal of losing weight or something equally as long term I break it down. This is the only way I am going to feel like I have accomplished anything. If there are no benchmarks to look forward to then how can you reflect on your progress.
- Reward yourself for any progress. Yes I said it, any progress. You should be glad to achieve any success you have on your resolution or wish. This is after all a new step in your life. It is an attempt to change your state of mind or state of being. Any thing you’ve done to chip away at the old self is a step in the right direction. Smile and then reward yourself.
- Keep a journal. Keep a journal to monitor any progress you have made. This step is important because you can always look back see how far you’ve come. You can also write about the people around you. Take note of how they notice your changes and what doors have opened for you since the change.
- Beware of triggers. Don’t go where you used to go if it kills your progress. Don’t do what you used to or hang with people that promote a lifestyle opposite of what you want. There is a misconception that you can still keep certain things in your life that are contrary to your changes. Theses things, places or people will eventually penetrate your atmosphere. Don’t fall behind by keeping some of the past with you.
- Above all, have fun! While it is important to be serious about your lifestyle changes don’t suck all the fun out of it. If you aren’t having any fun then you won’t look forward to it.