It’s now the end of January, so I have a question for you: how many of your New Year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside?
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they’re easy to make, but hard to keep. I don’t know about you, but my New Year’s resolutions always tended to be a wishlist of things I wanted for the coming year, such as
and inevitably after a couple of weeks of initial good intentions (well, on the ones I remembered about, anyway) I’d be back to my old habits.
One year, when I was feeling disheartened about not being able to stick to my resolutions, I started thinking about why I couldn’t keep them, and came to realise that it was because I wasn’t making them achievable. Although I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it (be skinny, healthy, organised and rich – not asking for much at all!), I hadn’t thought much about how I was going to get there, or whether it was actually something I could do.
So now, every year, I sit down with my ‘resolutions’ and go through them one by one, asking myself the questions below. It might seem like a lot of effort, but in the long run it’s worth it – if you’re serious about achieving your resolutions, anyway! I often find it helps to talk the more complicated ones through with a friend or family member, particularly when I’m not sure how to make it achievable. Finally (I say this about everything), don’t forget to write it down!
The questions are:
What is the ultimate goal?
These are the broader things that you want to achieve, such as ‘I will be more organised’ or ‘I will lose weight’.
What do I actually mean by this?
For some ‘goals’ this might be easy: ‘I want to lose x amount by a certain time of year’.
For others it may be harder to identify exactly what you want, so it might help to think about why you’ve picked that particular goal. For example, if you want to be more organised, is this because you miss appointments, lose paperwork, or have a messy office?
How am I going to do it?
Again, for some goals this might be quite straightforward (keep a diary, join a gym, cut out chocolate) and for others you may find that there are lots of actions you could take and that you need to narrow it down to just a few or even one.
What else do I need?
Unfortunately it rarely comes down to just willpower. Now you know what you want to do, what do you need to do it? Think about things such as equipment, services, money and time.
A Reality check!
At this point it is worth taking a step back and thinking about whether the original goal was realistic: a) is it something you really want to do? and b) is it something you think you can do? If the answer to either of these is no, then…
Can I make adjustments?
Don’t give up just yet!
Could you make a change to the goal? Perhaps you could do it over a longer period of time, or aim to do part of it… lose less weight, or only eat healthily during the week.
If resourcing your goal is the issue, is there anything else you could do to free up the necessary time or money, or get hold of equipment that you need?
Once you have a realistic plan, don’t forget to ask yourself
How will I know if I’m on course to achieve my goal?
Set yourself milestones. This might sound a bit scary, but all I mean is make sure you know that you’re getting there. It could be as simple as writing a to do list and crossing the actions off when you do them, or you might set yourself deadlines ‘by the end of March I will have done x’.
Either way, it will do wonders for boosting your esteem and motivation as you give them a big tick!
What will I do if I’m not meeting my milestones?
Is there a plan b? What can you do to get yourself back on track?
So there you have it. Just because it’s almost February, there’s no reason why you can’t revisit your new year’s resolutions now. Or you can set yourself new goals at any time of the year. Go on, check out those ones you haven’t quite got round to embarking on and make them work!
Other Peace of Mind PA blogs that you may find useful are: