The number one question I get whenever I talk about goal setting, list making or New Years Resolutions is How In The World Do You Stick With Them? Many people share stories of being tired of making that Resolution List every year only to look back months later and realize they haven’t achieved anything on them. “It’s useless!” I’ve heard more times than I would like to admit. Or “looking at that list actually makes me feel like a failure.” That’s probably the one that saddens me the most. So while I write about how to make resolutions and goal set often, in this post I want to address those points of contention specifically.
First let me explain that to me New Year Resolutions are more of a draft. A work in progress if you will. They are simply ideas on things I would like to do or stop doing that will improve the quality of my life. I don’t believe they are meant to be hard and fast. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a good idea to look at your list and update or revise it often. It’s the same philosophy behind taking good notes in school. You aren’t meant to take them and only use them to cram the night before the test and expect good results. Even if you are a person with good short-term memory, you still just memorize and dump so the information doesn’t stick with you. I actually used this method a lot during undergrad, but with grad school, I realized that I needed to hold on to what I learned to ensure that I would really do well in my chosen profession. So I began to use my notes in a different way. I began to interact with them and not just the night before a big test. I began reading them, rewriting them, highlighting and underlining them often. Letting it all soak in. This is how I believe resolutions are meant to be done.
Here is my formula for approaching your resolutions in a more interactive way, ensuring that you’re more likely to make them stick!
Start with the big picture goal. What is it that you want to achieve. What is your why? If I wanted to lose weight it might not be as simple as losing a few lbs. It would be my why for wanting to do that? I’d ask myself what do I really want to do? Have more energy? Live a healthier lifestyle? Feel better in my own skin? Whatever that why might be for you write that down.
Break it down into actionable steps. This is actually where the magic happens because the smaller steps are actually the joy in the journey. So joining a gym, or deciding to take a brisk walk daily might be the actionable steps that lead you to have more energy, leading a happier healthier lifestyle and feeling better about yourself even if you don’t lose the magic number of poundage.
Check in on your goals-do this monthly or quarterly. How are you doing? Did you keep up with the walks? Did you join the gym and find that you hated it? That’s okay. If that isn’t working for you what else would you be willing to try? Add to your actionable steps. Let your list evolve. Remember the big picture is the goal. The things you try to get there can be a work in progress. The more actions you are taking in making progress towards your goals the more likely you will achieve them. Don’t just write a list, tuck it away and expect a miracle. Work on it. Revise it. And keep letting it unfold. And remember to enjoy trying new things without the pressure because the thing you try isn’t really the goal.
And most importantly- Be kind to yourself-When I come up with my big picture goal, break it into bite-size actionable steps and then check in regularly I am so much more likely to stick with those resolutions. But the most important thing I do with my resolutions is I give myself permission to let it be a rolling list. I’m kind to myself when it comes to the list. I don’t berate myself for not meeting a goal. I just let it roll into the following year if it’s still important to me. For the example-The the first year we moved to a new city I really wanted more couple friends. My husband and I both had a good set of our own friends but I wanted the couple’s parties and meetups with people we both loved spending time with (not the obligatory spouse tag along). I wrote that down for a few years before it became a reality. And you know what? Acheiving that goal a few years later felt just as satisfying as when I met the other goals within the year. Don’t give up on your goals and more importantly don’t give up on YOU!
I’d love to hear your thoughts are on New Years Resolutions or goal setting in general.
Until Next Post,