New Year’s resolutions are a common way many people choose to start their new year off. While setting goals is a healthy idea, a lot of pressure is put into New Year’s resolutions, as if somehow a new year is magically going to change things, which is probably why most don’t turn out successful by the end of the year. While resolutions are great, the methods or planning to achieve them isn’t always ideal. So what exactly would be the most effective way to keep your resolutions? Simple…small steps.
Rather than focusing on making the year a huge success via one major goal, your focus should shift to small increments of change, month by month. A great way to ensure your resolutions, or any goals, are met is to take small steps.
If you’re trying to lose weight or get fit, rather than going on a strict diet (which you should avoid in general since it’s not maintainable in the long run), you should use each month to introduce one good habit that will help your goal. January should be used to help increase the amount of water you consume. Water is a key component to weight loss, and an easy habit to introduce to start off the year. February should then be used to introduce healthy foods, such as filling up half your plate with vegetables or fruits for your meals that month. As the months go on, you can gradually introduce good habits and slowly wean yourself off the bad ones. Don’t cut out sugar entirely in 24 hours time…lower your intake gradually in order to get results long term. Here is a perfectly effective 12 month plan for better health.
Going to the gym seems to be a common resolution, but the reason most people fail is because it gets overwhelming and things come up. Fitness goals are simpler than food goals in practice, actually, because with each new month you can introduce a new type of workout or increase your intensity, until you enhance your fitness levels. I’ve already talked about how to motivate yourself to get into the gym here, but if you need a bonus way, why not try and focus on introducing yourself to one new machine or work one body part each week or month, that way you have a tangible task to do rather than just going “to the gym”, as many of us think of it. By having a clear plan of which machine or body part you will work, you are more likely to be motivated to go, rather than face the arduous task of “working out for at least an hour today”, which could really mean anything.
If your goal is to have more new experiences and be more adventurous this year, then using a calendar or notebook, each month should be planned for a new activity or location for you to visit. A weekend away or simply trying rock climbing for the first time one month is an easy way to break out of your comfort zone and experience new things. With 12 months in the year, you will have a guaranteed 12 new things you could’ve done in the year using this system, ensuring you actually do have documented success with your resolution. Even if you wish to learn a new skill or ability this year, you can use the monthly step by step plan to get there. If you want to learn how to play the guitar for instance, don’t focus on learning “to play”, which, again, can mean many things…but rather focus on familiarizing yourself with 1 or 2 chords each month and then using another month to put them together and so forth. Step by step ensures that you focus on the smaller components of a grander plan, which helps give you more chance for success.
Instead of taking on an entire task, which in itself can be overwhelming, focus on smaller monthly wins that will amount to a greater win at the end of the year. Even if you haven’t set a specific resolution, your year can still result in a lot of progress if you take it month by month, week by week, rather than set out a massive resolution for the year with no concrete plan to achieve it. If you really think about it, your profession or schooling likely involves you taking small gradual steps towards a major achievement or project, so why wouldn’t it work for your personal goals as well?