The end of one year into the beginning of another year brings those 3 words you either love or loathe: New Year’s Resolutions. The time of year when you could typically focus on what were your failures in the year ending, can be flipped to the positive to focus on all the great things yet to be accomplished in the new year. Let’s be honest, does anyone actually stick to a diet or clean eating during the holidays? If you do, you are a champion and we should all be learning from you! If you are like me and consumed all the sweets, and everything else “bad,” the past few weeks, don’t fret. It’s never too late to start over (and do better). Looking back in history, the Babylonians are recorded as the first to make a practice of New Year’s Resolutions (more than 4,000 years ago) and also the first to celebrate the beginning of a new year, only their new year began in March because that was the time they started planting new crops.
Statistics have shown that though 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only about 8% have success in actually seeing them through to fruition. How do we go from good intentions in our New Year’s resolutions to actually making them real, positive changes that actually stick?
The Most Common Resolutions
Everyone has their own consistent resolutions, the ones we seem to keep wishing we would accomplish from year to year. We all probably have some in common and a comparison of the most popular resolutions might not surprise you at all.
- Lose weight, drop pounds, weight loss in general
- Eat healthier foods more often, stick to a diet
- Get in shape, exercise more
- Save money, stick to a budget
- Travel to more places
- Get your life and home organized
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Educate yourself on a new hobby or skill
- Quit bad habits like smoking/drinking
- Read more books, educate yourself
These are all really good goals to enrich our lives. What makes them so difficult to achieve? They all require a LOT of discipline, time, effort, money. Are the changes they bring worth it? Absolutely!
A Strategy Plan
- Have big dreams backing your New Year’s Resolutions. The more the purpose means to you the more likely you are to see them through to completion.
- Take little steps, one at a time, to accomplish your goals. Success on your resolutions won’t come all at once but little by little, being consistent every day. It’s ok to have big goals but make them more manageable by breaking them up into smaller goals on the path to the bigger ones.
- Commitment to the changes you want to make is key. If you aren’t willing to change your habits for the better, you aren’t ready to commit to change.
- Come up with ways to hold yourself accountable to the resolutions you are working towards. You want to get in better shape? Sign up for a 5K race 3 months from now. Tell a friend your plans and have them check in with you once a week to see how you are doing. Let them become your accountability partner. Journal your new eating and exercising habits, etc.
- Reward yourself along the way. As you keep moving closer and closer to accomplishing your goals, keep a little joy in the journey. Buy that book you wanted when you hit 10 pounds gone, as soon as you can run the 3 miles get those new running shoes you wanted. You know you best. Encourage yourself and celebrate the small victories to keep you going towards the big ones.
- Setbacks will happen, mistakes will be made, accept that before you even begin. And realize this: failure is most often our greatest teacher. Don’t linger in the mistakes, learn from them and keep going. Don’t let one slip make you quit!
- Don’t make resolutions so hard and so high that no human could possibly make it happen. Don’t underestimate what you can do but also don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself either.
- Make a plan. Write down (or type up) your resolutions and the plan you have to work towards accomplishing each one. As you work toward them day by day, no doubt the plan might change but don’t let your determination waiver.
Consistency Is Key
Hard work is always a requirement for success. Hard work doesn’t always mean manual labor or pushing your body until it breaks. Sometimes that hardest work we do is consistently doing the right things, the right way and refusing to quit, even when we are tempted.
We all want our New Year’s Resolutions to happen, and the way we see that is through true, consistent work. When you study successful people, the common denominator among them is that they always showed up, always put in the work, always did whatever was necessary to succeed, never complained, and never quit, no matter how hard things became. You want to see your goals met, work at them every single day, be consistent, and don’t quit. This holds true in all areas of life. Those who continue on, despite adversity, make it to the finish line. Maybe not as quickly, or easily as they originally thought. But they make it there!
I’ll admit, I do dread the start of a new year because I know I have work to do. I make New Year’s Resolutions and I usually fail most of them before March. This year feels different. Maybe it’s the aftermath of 2020, of being tired of being complacent, but I’m ready to make 2021 a better year than the last. I can’t control all my circumstances but I can control my response. I can’t make people get along or governments run smoothly, but I can take better care of myself and make better food choices. I can choose to finally hit my fitness goals. No one else can do it for me. And THAT is the mindset that starts the path to seeing positive change. It’s not too late, let’s take 2021 by storm!
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