Updated: Aug 29, 2019
This being the last week of December, many are contemplating New Year’s Resolutions for the fast- approaching new year. How does that old saying go? Out with the old, and in with the new! A brand-new calendar to begin again, to achieve, or finish, all the things we didn’t quite get-around-to this year. The idea of fresh beginnings might sound like music to the ears, but statistics suggest by the end of January, most resolution enthusiasts have gotten off track. In fact, only 8% of Americans achieve their new year’s resolutions.
Many put anxiety packed pressure on themselves to achieve their resolutions each year, but fewer think about putting together a practical plan of action to increase the odds of achieving their resolutions. One of my favorite analogies to share with new clients is; “It doesn’t matter how badly you want something, if you don’t have a road map, and resources to get “over there”, you’re likely to stay “right here.” Below is a simple to do list, aka. “road map” to help improve the odds of achieving your new year’s resolutions this year.
Write it down- post your new year’s resolution on the bathroom mirror, in your phone, and on the frig, or any high visibility area. If you’re the crafty type, create a collage of the resolution. Visual aids can serve as powerful daily reminders.
Plan-ahead- Don’t wait until Jan. 1st to decide on a resolution. Brain storm now to determine a specific goal. Make sure the goal is realistic, and gather the resources needed to be successful. For example, if your goal is to increase physical activity, change out the laces in your runners, download upbeat exercise tunes, choose a place, and set aside time each day for exercise.
Break it down- Rome wasn’t built in a day. After choosing a realistic new year’s resolution, break it down into smaller steps or achievements. For example, if your resolution is to read ten books, reward yourself upon completing each book as a positive reminder of the progress being made.
Tell someone- One of the easiest ways to ensure personal accountability is to speak your resolution aloud to someone you trust. Ask them for encouragement, and to help hold you accountable too when necessary.
Cut yourself some slack- All humans are fallible. Meaning none are without imperfections, so don’t become overly critical of yourself if set-backs occur. Use positive self-talk as a way of encouraging yourself versus focusing on the set-back. For more information on positive self-talk and cutting yourself some slack, read my post, Eliminate Negative Thinking Habits.
Now that you have a "road map" to help achieve your new year’s resolutions, please don’t forget to live in the moment. Often-times people get so focused on reaching future goals, that opportunities in the present for experiencing joy and happiness are missed. Take time to smell the roses, eat the cake, enjoy today, and surround yourself with positive people, because you’re worth it!
Misti Luke is a licensed mental health professional with a part-time private practice in beautiful Broken Bow, Oklahoma. For correspondence firstname.lastname@example.org