If I believe the New-Year-resolution-haters, then by the time you read this, you will have already given up on your 2019 resolutions. At least, that’s the most common thing I hear from people I ask about resolutions who don’t have any: why bother, I won’t stick with them anyway!
Well, I don't think that means there is something inherently wrong with resolutions but more likely something wrong with the resolutions that were picked....
I LOVE resolutions. I’ve been setting myself some for years now and when I was still blogging daily, I reviewed them every year. And yes, there were some I didn’t stick with. So what? And there were some where I can see how I was able to change a habit for good over the course of the year.
Here's why I love them and also how you might increase the chances of sticking with them.
Resolutions remind me that I am capable of change. I am not stuck. I am not "just this way". I am creating the life I live. It's all my responsibility. Isn't that glorious? I don't have to wait for the genie to grant me three wishes. I can just get up and get it done myself. No magic skills necessary. This alone fills me with excitement!
Personally, I don't just set them in January. Throughout the year I review where I am heading and what changes I might like to make. Call it resolutions, call it goals. Call it whatever is "your language" and what motivates you! (I shall refer to them as resolutions in this article.)
Where do you want to be in a year's time? What do you want your life to look like? How do you want to feel? Pick one area of your life where you would like to make a change. Spend time on dreaming up this future YOU. What is going to be different? Pick one resolution that will bring you closer to that new you. Being clear on what motivates you is the key to change. What is your WHY? What is YOUR why? Not your partner who would like you to be more orderly, society who wants you to be thinner, or whoever else may influence how you feel and think. This is about you. You will have to want this in order for it to work out.
Once you picked a resolution you feel passionate about, be clear on what it looks like in detail. Be specific: how will you know that you achieved it? But also: how will you implement it on a day to day basis. Let's say you want to become fit(ter): how are you going to go about that? Sports? Healthy eating? Break it down, identify something that you can do every day. And how are you going to measure success?
Then keep reviewing them. When you are slipping up, check in with yourself why that is: have your goalposts changed? Do you need to adjust the resolution? Or simply start back up again? Once we’ve “fallen off the wagon”, we sometimes all too easily give up altogether (or is that just me?). There is no shame in going back to “START” and begin that journey again.
Check your mindset! Do you even believe that you can do it? Or have you tried quitting smoking/going to the gym / <insert whatever yours is> so many times before and so far always failed? In the past. Just because you didn’t get there last time and all the times before, doesn’t mean you cannot do it altogether.
The latter is something I found has been my issue with regard to some of my resolutions. Doing more sports has been on my list forever with very little success. Only this year it suddenly hit me, that deep down I simply didn’t believe I could ever find a sport that I would enjoy. So, my overall feeling relating to that resolution was already “dread” to start with, cause as a consequence it meant I would have to torture myself (just being a little overdramatic here...) to fulfill that resolution. And I am not really into torture... My big WHY behind the resolution is my health. I've had back problems since my late twenties and I know that the only way to prevent the crippling pain is to move my body. The issues has been that the pain is quickly forgotten and I ended back sitting on my sofa. This year, I changed that resolution to "moving more". I set myself a daily and weekly target which I aim to increase every month. Even if I go for a walk, this will be better than not moving at all. Whereas the little voice in my head all too often whispered that a walk makes no difference. I will let you know how I got on at the end of the year but so far, I've already exceeded my own set targets!
Lastly, my advice is to identify some milestones and celebrate the shit out of them. No matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Even the tiniest step brings you closer to your goal!
And also: celebrating is fun!