The coming of a new year ushers in a whole new world of fresh starts, the very idea of a new beginning brings hope, strength and a renewed vigour of change. For these reasons, it is not uncommon for people to set New Year resolutions which often comprises of elaborate promises and statements of things that they will and won’t do in the next 365 days. This has not only become a culture but a well-accepted norm all over the world.
Why then has it become increasingly difficult for people to stick to their new year resolutions? The reasons for this is not farfetched, resolutions are often made from a position of wishful thinking and desire. As the New Year approaches, people expect that the idea of a new timeline will provide them magical strength or will-power to let go of old habits and mind-set without actually laying out plans to achieve these goals. Even more common is the bland nature of these resolutions, these self-promises are often black or white, absolute statements and ideas with no bankable plan for a follow through. It is therefore important to realize that while making out plans and objective, one must set out a procedure to be followed if the goals are to be achieved. It is also important to understand that such resolutions often fail because they provide an unrealistic ultimatum that brings unnecessary pressure, by understanding that old habits may be hard to break, you give yourself more wiggle room to stick to a goal and achieve your desired plan.
A great new way to avoid all of these shortcomings is by setting goals. Rather than piling on a list of things to avoid and new habits to pick up, goals require that you maintain a certain level of focus and dedication to your target. The very concept of a goal requires that you stay persistent and consistent in the face of adversity, and the defining factor here is the presence of a plan that brings it all to fruition. There are a few steps to note when setting out your goals and some of them are:
- Set realistic and specific goals- Every goal you set should be beyond your reach but not impossible to achieve. These types of objectives not only serve as a motivation with each consecutive milestone you cross but also help you to perform beyond your expectations. It is also important that these goals be specific rather than vague goals or resolutions that simply hope that you “put in your best effort”.
- Create elaborate plans to match these objectives: Objectives without plans are merely statements. When setting out goals, it is important that you create step-wise plans of what you intend to do to achieve each goal. This could be in form of a checklist or even a quick mental note for smaller goals that brings them closer to realisation.
- Eliminate the “ultimatum factor”: Ever wanted to quit a serious addiction or get rid of on old habit? Well, starting out the New Year with a strong resolve is the best way to go. However, you must understand that progress is in steps and relapse doesn’t mean failure. This not only helps you to dust yourself up and get back on the horse, it provides you with helpful insight on the problem and the progress that has been achieved, this is true for all sorts of goals, maintain your own pace and let that inner strength radiate through your entirety.
- Write down your goals: Writing down your goals is a great reminder of where you want to be and the obstacles you want to overcome. This constant reminder helps you to internalise these values and spurs you into action. In this same vein when creating a physical frame of your goals, remember to paint each goal in a positive light as this removes the restrictions that destroys restraint and allows you to look forward to something. Rather than saying, “I will not be so in-active this year” you say “I will live a more active lifestyle and take a short walk once a week”. Rather than telling you what you cannot do, this shows you what you can do and puts you in a position where you look forward to taking your weekly walk.
- Take one day at a time: Rather than focusing on what the end result would look like, you should always approach each goal with a positive one-at-a-time attitude. This allows you to avoid overwhelming yourself and provides a refreshing de-loading effect after every day.
Regardless of what your plans for the forthcoming year is, the key is to always stay committed. Whether it is to lose weight, perform better at school, work harder, take up a hobby, start-up your business or anything at all, always remember to set goals and stick to them. Have a great year ahead.