I love new beginnings and always take the opportunity to set goals in January. Over the years I’ve found some really helpful techniques that help me make effective New Years resolutions – in short, New Years resolutions that work. Here are my top tips.
Be kind to yourself
“I’m getting too fat and I need to lose weight” isn’t going to encourage or support your goals, nor is “This house is a mess and I need to de-clutter.” Use positive language when setting your resolutions – Try “I resolve to make healthy choices about the food I eat so that I look and feel better” or resolve to “make positive choices about the things I keep in my home, making sure that everything is either beautiful, useful or sentimental.”
It’s always good to be optimistic but when it comes to effective New Years resolutions, it is more important to be realistic. You need to think about what you are more likely to achieve so that you get that wonderful sense of accomplishment that spurs you on to keep moving forward.
Break your goals, and the year, into sections
Instead of looking at your goals in one big chunk, divide them down into steps with time specific goals. If your resolutions to lose twenty pounds have been ineffective for years, what about breaking that goal down? Resolve to lose ten pounds in six months, a much more achievable goal, and the sense of accomplishment you get from that achievement will help spur you on to lose the remaining ten. Or resolve to declutter or deep clean one room per month. You get the idea.
Choose a theme
Author Gretchen Rubin recommends choosing a one word theme for the New Year to help keep you focused and on track with your resolutions. I’ve adapted this idea to suit myself in the past by choosing a phrase. In 2013, it was An Atmosphere of Growth (again borrowed from Gretchen!), In 2014 it was “Abundance, Trust and Fun”. I haven’t chosen a theme for 2016 yet, but I’m working on it as I write this. I’ve found choosing a theme makes it easier to make effective New Years resolutions and a lot more fun too!
We are so critical of ourselves and are often quick to condemn ourselves when we fall short of our goals and dreams. Be sure to grant yourself the grace and flexibility you give to others. It’s okay to adjust your resolutions throughout the year or let them evolve and grow, just as you do! A set back needn’t be a failure; properly framed it can be a force to help keep you moving forward.
Making effective New Years resolutions can be an uplifting and exciting way to start a new year. Whatever your resolutions this coming year, I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016!
If you enjoyed this post you may also like New Year Aspirations.