Goodbye 2020- It’s finally a new year!
Shout out to anyone who’s taking on new challenges in the midst of pandemic life!
Love or hate them, it’s resolution season. New year’s resolutions get a lot of grief about how “they just don’t work.” The truth about change is that the preparation step, while not always glamorous and exciting, is at the core of being successful and is the one that often gets skipped. Now there’s some realities to embarking on change in the bleak post-holiday winter darkness that do make it challenging, but there are also some ways you can help your new goals hit the mark. Success in your resolutions isn’t an accident, and doing the foundational work on your goals is essential to making them happen.
Here are some guidelines to help you get started:
- Make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Based). “Get healthy” is a nice idea but it isn’t a goal. What does that mean? How will you know when you get there? This sounds like: “I will do yoga 150 days this year to improve my flexibility.”
- Write it down. Writing your goal makes you more likely to accomplish it. Ideally choose somewhere you will see it regularly or in the moment you need reminding. Trying to limit screen time? Set your home screen to an image that reminds you of your goal or an alternative (like that pile of books on my night stand).
- Connect it to who you are and why it’s important to you. “I’m a non-smoker because I want to be a healthy role model for my kids” is more likely to maintain your engagement than “I’m trying to quit smoking.”
- Use your brain. Visualization, playing through the images and story of your success (and overcoming challenges) in your mind helps give your brain a template for success and resilience. Checking tasks off a list releases dopamine (the “I did it!” chemical) in your brain which naturally boosts motivation to do more things.
- Stick with it. Prepare to get off track at some point (maybe that entire birthday cake gets the better of you) missteps are part of learning. Start fresh as soon as you can with compassion and accountability. Not having an all-or-nothing version of success gives you way more opportunity to find wins along the way.
- Get Help. Who can help hold you accountable and remind you of why you started this in the first place when you’re stuck in a rut? Partner up with a friend for a weekly workout and you’ll be less likely to skip it.
That may seem like a lot of steps before you even get started, but a solid foundation will pay you back with sweet success. Whether you’re a resolution person or not, there’s always time to grow and luckily these steps are helpful the other 11 months of the year too.