03 January 2023 at 11:09
New Year’s resolutions : Shifting perspective for success
It’s still January yet many of us are already struggling to stick to the resolutions we solemnly made. But perhaps it is not too late. Instead of quitting because our resolution is just too hard, think instead about making some small changes, and managing expectations to achieve success this year.
Are your resolutions realistic?
The first thing to ask yourself is whether the resolutions you set yourself are realistic. You may be familiar with the concept of SMART targets for work and study - and this should also apply to any target you set yourself for the year. SMART stands for:
Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic or Relevant – Time bound
You can read more about SMART goals here: https://www.mindtools.com/a4wo118/smart-goals
So have a look at your resolutions and check if they really are realistic and achievable. Have you been precise about your goal? How will you know when you have achieved it?
What can you modify to improve your chance of success?
This isn’t about cheating or making our resolutions easier, it is about being SMART and fair to yourself. Can any of your resolutions be broken down into smaller chunks or stages? A small achievement is better than no achievement at all, and if you can achieve something small this time then you can build on that next time.
Do your goals say what you actually mean?
It’s easy to make broad statements about how we want to improve without really thinking too hard about what we are saying. For example, is your goal to lose weight, or is what you actually want to feel healthy and more energetic? Do you really want to give up all forms of chocolate? Or would a more useful goal be to eat a more balanced and healthy diet?
Can you identify steps to help you achieve your goals?
If you have made a broad resolution but haven’t thought about how you are going to get there, now is the time to think about any steps you will need to take, or help you might need from others, in order to reach that target. If we use the example of eating a more balanced diet one step might be to stick to a shopping list each week, to ensure only foods that you want to eat are in the house. Another step might be to speak with family members and gain their support. And so on.
Think of your resolutions as a work in progress
Changing your targets for the year is not failure. Businesses constantly re-assess and update their business plans in order to meet yearly targets. Remain flexible and adaptable to circumstances, and be prepared to review and modify your goals at regular intervals. Remember that these are targets for the year – you do not need to achieve them in the first month. If you break your resolutions into stages then at the end of each month you can check your progress, identify anything that is holding you back and plan how to overcome challenges next month. So a resolution that started out “I will give up chocolate” might end up being “By the end of the year I will be eating the recommended amount of fibre per day, will have swapped my afternoon chocolate bar for a healthy alternative and will not eat dessert on weekdays”
Recognise your achievements and be kind to yourself!
And finally, even if you don’t achieve the exact resolution you set – you should absolutely congratulate yourself on any small improvement you have made. If you find yourself being critical and thinking in terms of failure, try to reframe your self-talk into the words that you would say to a close friend. Praise the positive and above all - be kind!
Posted in Inspiration