Why You Should (Still) Try New Year’s Resolutions This Year
These days, people often scoff when you mention New Year’s Resolutions. There are some people who swear by them and others who just think they’re a waste of time. I get it… there are two sides to every coin and this is no different.
Honestly, I see both sides. But as a psychotherapist, I see more of the good. No matter where you fall on this scale, resolutions can still be a useful tool to you. Because you decide how you want to spend your time. You decide how resolutions help improve your life.
And why else should you still try New Year’s Resolutions this year? From a mental health perspective, there is no better shot of confidence and self esteem than setting a goal and achieving it… big or small. Plain and simple. It uplifts your mental health and wellness as it reminds you to prioritize your needs and dreams for your future.
Here are five simple, but often overlooked strategies you can add when you try again to set and stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.
#1 – PAIR THEM DOWN
Often, when you take a look at the goals you have for yourself when you want to improve and change your life, the list is enormous, even to the point of being overwhelming. And your New Year’s Resolutions often reflect this. They become a long and lengthy list. But, I propose that, to help you stick to them, choose! And choose wisely.
Choose 1 to 3 that are your top priorities as opposed to ten. Take a look and review the resolutions that matter most to you and have the best possibility to make a lasting and meaningful difference for you, and choose those first.
Also, feel free to pair down your resolutions by concentrating on one resolution at a time. And as soon as you are pursuing and focused on it daily, completing tasks, and accomplishing the goal on a regular basis, add in the next, and so on. Remember, “little by little” wins the race. And focusing on one thing at a time still wins the race as well.
#2 – Be More Specific
Likely, there are things you want to change in your life. Often, people will set a very broad resolution, and wonder why they fail by mid-January! You have goals and dreams, but do you have actionable steps to get there? A great way to set resolutions or goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T. system.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Essentially your goal should be specific, clear, well-defined, measurable, with steps of progression you can track, achievable, within your capabilities and something attainable, realistic, within your current circumstance and resources, and finally, timely. Lastly, you should attach it to a start and finish date to create a sense of immediacy or urgency.
For instance, if every year you want to lose weight and always fail, perhaps you need a better, more specific resolution. Instead, you could challenge yourself to work out three times per week for at least 20 minutes each time. This is a more specific goal that can help you achieve your overall goal of losing weight. It is also measurable, realistic, and achievable for most people. You can break this down even further until each goal has several action steps that are easy to manage.
If your goal is to work out three times per week, you will want to set a time in your calendar for your workouts. You may want to purchase new workout clothes or gear to inspire you. These small steps can really make a difference to help you achieve your goals. This is just a common example. The SMART system can work for any goals you have.
#3 – WRITE IT DOWN
When you make a goal, any goal, it’s vital you get it from out of your head. Write down or “record” your resolutions, or essentially, get them from out your head and into some form you can review and amend. Here are ten ideas to write it down and record your resolutions and goal steps:
- Smartphone notes
- Word document
- Google drive
- Task or to-do list app (Evernote, Wunderlist, OneNote, Todoist, etc)
- Project software (Asana, Trello, etc)
- Sticky notes
- Vision board
For the latter, a vision board is simply a collection of pictures and words of things you want to bring into your reality. You can do this with magazine cutouts or make a digital version on your computer. This is one of the reasons I love Pinterest. It is a vision board, digitally personified! Got to love that. So you can even use Pinterest more intentionally with this in mind for achieving your goals.
#4 – REVIEW IT EVERY DAY
Finally, once you’ve set your resolutions, made them specific with S.M.A.R.T. steps, written them down or recorded them, there is one last step. You also want to review them every day. Specifically, revisit these resolutions every morning and/or every evening. Make it a part of your regular routine to starting up or completing your day.
By reviewing your resolutions, goals, and goal steps daily, you keep them mentally at the forefront of your mind. And consequently, you give them your top time, energy and attention, and make decisions that better turn away from distraction and instead keep your focus solid on getting your resolutions accomplished.
#5 ADJUST ACCORDINGLY
If a resolution stops resonating with you or your goals change, that’s okay! In fact, that’s often a good thing. It signals that you are paying attention. You can always adjust your resolutions throughout the year… because you change because life around you changes. Just because you had a goal on January 1st, doesn’t mean that it is something you still want or still works for you come July. Plus, when you adjust, you’re giving yourself a form of grace. That you forgive yourself if you have to change the original plan you were so excited over. Then you keep going.
Remember, you don’t have to just set resolutions on New Year’s Eve. You can set them anytime you want and create actionable steps to achieve your dreams. But more importantly, even when others bad mouth them, you can still create and keep New Year’s Resolutions just for you. It’s just about approaching them with more strategy and focus. Ultimately, no matter what, you can always try again.
Did you set New Year’s Resolutions this year? It isn’t too late if you didn’t! Let me know what your resolutions are/were and how you hope to re-commit to them.