Here it is again- the time of year we all make resolutions about how we are going to be better to others, better to ourselves and make our lives happier. And, so much of the time these resolutions fall by the way side as we start to approach February.
What happens every time we decide to do something and fail to follow through on our promise? We teach ourselves that we aren’t reliable, that we can’t be trusted and our word means nothing. That is not good for self-esteem and for personal empowerment.
So, here are 3 tips for making a New Year’s Resolution you are likely to keep:
1. Set a goal you can measure and do so frequently
Being more patient is a noble goal but one that is hard to measure. And changing personality characteristics is possible but can often move at the pace of evolution. If patience, kindness, mindfulness or any other manner in which we exist in the world is on your list this year it is likely you will have some wins and some losses throughout the year.
Instead of determining your resolution success at the end of the year by an arbitrary measure of greater generosity, make sure you acknowledge your success with each moment throughout the year that you demonstrate or embody your ideal. This allows you to celebrate your triumphs as they are happening.
If your goal happens to be measurable like losing weight, climbing out of debt or saving money, the numbers don’t lie; you either succeed or you don’t. But, instead of allowing yourself to bask in your glory only when the goal has been met, which might be an entire year later—make sure you reward yourself each time you step closer to the goal.
Each time you make a healthy food choice or choose the gym over an extra hour to snooze, is effort worthy of attention. Even a five-dollar deposit in the bank or passing up the latest 50% off enticement, is effort.
We can’t always control the outcome of our efforts. We can’t control if the scale moves, but we can control our choices each day. Acknowledging your efforts towards meeting your goal everyday, you are likely to remain engaged in the lengthy process of achieving a long-term goal.
2. Set goals based on your own values
Sometimes we set goals for ourselves based on what others want to see in us. Our strivings to become the best version of ourselves are based on what others want us to be or on ‘shoulds’ and not about what we actually wish for ourselves.
While it is possible to successfully meet goals set by others, it is that much more rewarding when we’ve met a goal of our own choosing. And, during the year when we begin to tire of trying—a goal representing our own values is likely to be one we fight for.
3. Only set a resolution you intend to keep
This sounds basic and obvious but many times we half-heartedly set a goal that we don’t actually intend to keep. This occurs when we are not being mindful of our inner dialogue or we are lying to ourselves about our true desires.
Of course, when we never plan to succeed from the beginning we are likely to fail; which builds evidence in our minds that we are not capable of creating change.
Tune in. Do you really intend to do whatever it takes to meet your goal? Volunteering your time throughout the year is a lovely intention and provides the opportunity to meet our basic human need for contribution beyond the self.
However, if you are a busy sort or are already overwhelmed by your life as it is, adding something time consuming, albeit enjoyable, is a great way to set yourself up to fail. Setting a goal that is too grandiose or optimistic, for you is unfair.
Why not start the New Year off with optimism? Know that you WILL transform yourself or your life in the ways you intend
Before committing to yourself or broadcasting your resolutions to family or on Facebook, consider these three pointers. Being mindful and intentional about where you are and where you want to be is an exercise in honoring your self.