And start the year off on the path to fulfillment!
We put so much pressure on ourselves at the beginning of each year because we feel as if we did not accomplish enough the prior year or are disappointed with not having followed through on something we wanted to achieve.
Where does that thought come from? Is it because we think others expect more from us? Or because we have been brought up believing we must improve each new year? I’m not sure, but one thing is certain is that all that pressure you put on yourself to set New Year's resolutions and change behaviors overnight only leaves you feeling more disappointed when you fail to make such changes.
It takes much more than dropping the ball on New Year’s Eve to change behaviors embedded in you for months or even years. Positive behavioral changes take time and effort, and achieving big goals needs a plan and follow-up.
So what if you look at this time of the year differently? Instead of thinking about resolutions, take time to remember your accomplishments, celebrate milestones, and feel gratitude for areas of your life where you feel satisfied and fulfilled; then look at what changes or improvements you like to make to other areas of your life so you can go about starting the year with an intentional focus and a clear plan.
Once you do that and you decide that there are areas we wish to improve, I've put together a few tips on how to implement changes to help you approach changes from a place of ease and flow:
Get into the right mindset - often, I hear clients say, “I should do this” or “I have to do this.” when I hear that, I ask should or want? When we try to do something because we think we should or feel external pressure, we are less likely to stay motivated and follow through on a goal. You must dive deep into your desire to understand better where this comes from and identify if it’s essential to you and why. Only then will you find a way to make it happen.
Be realistic - I want you to dream and visualize, but there’s a difference between that and holding yourself accountable to achieve something unrealistic. Use scaling questions to help reach milestones; instead of jumping from a 4-5 on a scale to 10, think about small things you can do to get to the next level. Break things down; if you want to lose 100 lbs, start with the first 20 lbs. If you want an MBA while doing a full-time job, start with the research and gather all the necessary items as the first steps. You get the point; be realistic and break big dreams into actionable steps.
Use the SMART goal approach - I’m sure you’ve heard of this at some point; it’s about using a five-step method to break down a goal. This is especially helpful when setting bigger goals that require time and planning. (Don’t worry, I got a worksheet for you).
Tag new behaviors to something you’re already doing - I learned this from a good friend; if you want to change, think about something you already do every day and tag it to that. For example, if you're going to say affirmations each morning, and you already get up and brush your teeth in front of a mirror. Place your affirmations on a “Post It” to make it easier to follow up. Or if you want to work out early in the morning, set your workout clothes next to your bed so when you get up, they are there. Or you want to post on social every morning; if you sit down for coffee, make that the time to write and publish.
Find an accountability partner - find a peer, mentor, or coach to help you stay focused. If your goal is to run every morning, find a Neighbor who would join. You are less likely not to show up when you know they are counting on you! Part of my work with clients is to support their goals with everything I shared with you here and to provide them with accountability. Find a mentor or coach to help you Level Up your goals.
Practice self-compassion and self-love - be compassionate when you do not get to do what you set out to do, give yourself a break, and realize all the factors impacting your daily routines and behaviors. They point here to stop pressuring yourself and make positive changes if you want to, not because of what others may say or think. Practice self-live by being your biggest cheerleader and giving yourself credit for greatness. It’s easy to forget or overlook all the beautiful things you do daily. Celebrate you!
I wish that you walk away with a better approach to New Year’s resolutions and that you approach the New Year with awareness and intention. As a token of appreciation, I have created an excellent worksheet for you that you can use. Download for free here.
It’s a complete guide to doing your year review and includes the SMART goals strategy I described earlier in this blog. You will love using it repeatedly and find it easy to use.
Let me know your thoughts on this by commenting below. I would love to hear from you!