New Year resolutions are not bad at all, whether you broke them all half way through January this year or even if you’ll do the same this coming Year, trust me the fact that you made an attempt means a lot. At least, you realized the need to do well, do better or do more.
Always know that you’re not alone, well over half of all resolutions fail yearly. But if you wish to make (and keep) resolutions this year, I will share a few steps that have helped me these past few years…trust me, I was very lazy about resolutions at first but I got better over the years. Here’s how; create a written plan on how you wish to achieve your goal/resolution and join a small group of people that successfully achieve their goals.
Not Every Wish Should Form Resolution.
You will be doing yourself a favour if your resolution is not by faith, resolutions are more of works than faith or miracles. So make sure your resolutions are doable and meaningful. According to researchers, one-third of resolutions don’t make it past the end of January.
This is because most resolutions are just wishful thinking, not decisions backed with purpose. Usually, failed resolutions are vague, other people’s opinion and advice or just an awesome resolution without a plan.
Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.
Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. Rather than having a vague goal like ‘I want to lose weight’, your resolution should be, ‘I want to lose five pounds in the next two months’.
Measurable. When you have a Specific goal, it is easy to measure progress, for instance, ‘I want to lose five pounds in the next two months’. So first of all, take your current weight, record it on your smartphone or notepad—take pictures, make videos. This will help you track progress over time.
Achievable. This doesn’t take away faith or miracles neither should it deter you from dreaming big. But even if you have to dream big, wake up and start small. Having big goals sometimes is like a baby planning to walk without crawling. So, for example, if you earn a salary of ₦150k monthly and your annual rent is ₦200k, it is more realistic to plan to save ₦50k for 4months than planning to save ₦100k for 2 months especially when only your feeding and transportation cost is more than ₦50k monthly.
Relevant. “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution then I think you have a fighting chance.”
What will you lose if you don’t achieve this goal? Is it what losing or worth fighting for? These are questions you must ask. Does this resolution really matter to you and are you making it for the right reasons?
Time-bound. Timeline set for goals should be realistic. Give yourself adequate time to achieve your goals and make sure there are goals within your goal. Like in the example given above, to save N50k monthly, maybe you also decide to cut down on snacks and gums and you save up N15k from refraining from snacking, make sure you reward yourself with 10% that save to celebrate.
“Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”
A Plan can be as simple as:
Bad Habit: I don’t get enough sleep at night
Why: I feel I should wind down and relax after the day’s work
Status Quo: I stay up late to watch cable TV.
Current Reward: I feel entertained
What can I do differently: Instead of watching cable, skip subscription for one month and see if you can survive it. Buy comic or adventure novels…because you seem lazy at reading, you may doze off most of the time after the first paragraph.
Remember There Will Be Hurdles.
You’re not perfect, so are your resolutions. So if you stray, there’s no better time to get back on track than now. If you have a challenge, always look for the root cause and tackle it from that stance.
Goal: I run every morning by 6 a.m
Obstacle: I didn’t find my running boot until 12noon
Solution: After running every day, put everything for tomorrow’s run together immediately. Having a backpack or gym bag is a great way of putting things together.
Let people close to you know your goal so they can help you not frustrate you or join a group of like-minded people. “Tell them your plan and ask them to hold you accountable.” Dr Milkman said. That way, it becomes an open commitment, and you might feel like you have a community supporting you that wants to see you succeed.”
Be Prepared to Lose Something Worthwhile.
Resolve to lose something significant which you can only get back when and if you reach your goal. You could make a reasonable deposit in your brother’s account only to be refunded or forgone upon victory or failure respectively. Or, for something more formal and formatted, Dr Milkman recommends stickK.com, a website where you make a financial pledge that you’ll lose if you don’t reach your goal.
Remember How Many Times You Fell Before You Walked.
If you fault on your resolution, you didn’t fail. You’re better off than where you were, so pick yourself up and keep trying, keep moving and you’ll win. Think of a baby who’s learning to walk—see how tender, yet when they fall, they don’t give up, the look for the right support, till they can learn to stand alone.
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