I can’t be the only one who is living in mild denial that 2017 is almost over.
I have embraced the festive period the way I always have (with unchained enthusiasm) but also with tempered apprehension for what lurks just around the corner; the New Year.
It’s not the mere changing of a calendar that sets my teeth on grind, but the annual social obligation that accompanies the count down to midnight.
Yes, I’m talking about New Year Resolutions.
With every New Year that rolls around, it brings with it the promise of some kind of revolutionary change; that by the stroke of midnight we will suddenly possess the enigmatic desire to join a gym or swamp every meal in kale.
We feel obligated to labor ourselves with ‘resolutions’, which are more of a critique of the parts of ourselves society feels we should fix. I should lose weight, I should eat better, I should read more. I should improve myself, not because I truly believe I need too, but because the New Year demands I have a candescent moment of critical self-evolution. Right?
A New Year’s Resolution should be nothing more than a list encouraging further happiness, even if that means changing nothing at all.
If you’re leading a happy, fulfilling, loving, and adventurous life, then why change?
However if you feel that 2018 will be the year that you, and only you, decide it’s time to tackle the goals you have yearned after, then the following five steps will ensure that you will not only be having the right new year resolutions, but will help guide you into keeping them beyond January 31st.
1. Give yourself realistic goals
The reason so many new year resolutions fail is that we give ourselves immense goals that logistically cannot be achieved in the time frame of a single year. You need to select a goal that is small, achievable, and attainable.
Instead of your resolution being that you will move to another country by March, create the goal to explore your own city and country more, or plan for an achievable trip.
The higher we aim with our resolutions, the easier it is for them fall away. Start small, and build from there.
2. Allow yourself time to complete your goals
The key to achieving anything is to give yourself time. If your goal is to learn a new language, or to finish a 40km marathon, you can’t expect that it will be accomplished within the first few months.
Give yourself to December; not only will achieving your goal be more attainable over a twelve month period, you also won’t burn out over January and have given up by February.
3. Create a plan
Everything we do in life requires a plan, and our resolutions should be no different. Create an action plan and step-by-step guide as to how you will achieve your goal, giving yourself small goals to achieve on a monthly basis in order to fully accomplish your resolution come the end of year.
4. Accept obstacles, accept failure
Nothing in life comes without a challenge, and we can’t expect our resolutions to be any different. So many goals are neglected at the first hurdle, as the concept of overcoming failure isn’t expected in a New Year’s resolution. We almost anticipate that our goals will simply be achieved because we made them on the eve of the New Year, or that they were frivolous enough to be tossed aside at the first sight of a challenge.
However we need to accept that any goal will have obstacles, and even failure, and persevering through this is how we keep our resolutions.
5. Focus on a few specific goals
There is a tendency associated with New Year resolutions to overwhelm ourselves with several demanding goals, which when focused on in the New Year all wilt away under the pressure of too many ambitions. You need to keep your resolutions small and specific, easy and attainable.
If your goal is to spend more time outside, an accompanying goal would be to also take up cycling or walking. Both can be achieved simultaneously as they compliment each other, rather than setting your goals to master a new language, take up surfing, learn how to cook Italian, and easily run a 20k.
Focus on one major goal, and if you are wanting more select a few that accompany it, as it will make the process of accomplishing your resolution all the more achievable, and all the more enjoyable… Which is what it is all about, right?
What are your resolutions for the New Year? Or do you have any tips for keeping them past January? Sound off in the comments below.
You might also like: