Posted by Christy Williams on January 3rd, 2017
The approach of each New Year spurs resolution setting by millions of people. The resolutions cover the gamut from health and spirituality to romance, career and much more. Benefits of setting resolutions include reflecting on past actions and setting new goals. Another benefit is the anticipation of doing or accomplishing something.
New Year’s resolutions allow you to replace old bad habits with new desirable behaviors. Some cons to setting resolutions each year include feeling overwhelmed, facing failure and choosing wrong areas of focus. With the arrival of 2017, take a different approach to setting resolutions to increase your likelihood of sticking to your goals and achieving your desired outcomes.
Set Realistic Goals – Many resolutions fail because goals are unrealistic. They might be difficult to measure or present more obstacles than you initially anticipated. Attach specifics on when and how you will go about tackling each objective. For example, instead of just creating an objective such as eating better, be specific about how you will approach that goal. A specific example would be to replace a precise number of weekly fast food meals with meals prepared at home each week. You can better track your progress with a detailed, realistic plan than you can with an arbitrary method.
Create Positive Goals – Negative goals are framed around something you want to stop doing (i.e. quit smoking). Positive goals are anchored on actions you want to perform (i.e. develop a healthcare plan). Positive goals allow you to learn and adopt new behaviors rather than trying to unlearn old habits.
Change Your Environment – For some behavioral goals, it is necessary to change your environment in order to be successful. Position yourself to make undesirable behaviors more difficult to access and desirable behaviors easier to reach. For example, if your goal is to stop drinking alcohol, remove the alcohol from your home environment. Further support your efforts by changing your regular restaurants to ones that do not serve alcohol. By making it more difficult to access the undesired behavior, you are promoting a greater ability to stick to your goal.
Be Persistent and Optimistic – As the year starts it will be necessary be kind to yourself. Recognize that behavior changes take persistent effort. While you may fall short at some junctures, do not take the failure as an overall indicator of your progress. Instead, look at your progress optimistically. Reframe the times that you fall short as learning opportunities for the future.
While many people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, it is possible to increase the success rate by adjusting your attitude and activities. Maintain a persistent, optimistic outlook towards a specific goal to reframe your approach. Set positive goals and change your environment to increase the probability of sticking with your resolutions well beyond the first week, month or quarter of the year. Send your old habits out with the old year and usher in new ones with the new year.