A Cool 3 step guide to making New Year resolutions that you can stick with

New Year is often the time to recommit ourselves to tasks we have aspired for. We promise ourselves to renew our focus to achieving tasks that have eluded completion. New Year resolutions are done to inspire us to start anew.

New Year resolutions are done to inspire us to start anew. Click To Tweet

Why do New Year resolutions fail to work after a bright start?

New Year Resolution List

However, more often than not, our best resolutions lie in tatters before January is out. Why does this happen? A few probable reasons are

  1. Lack of commitment
  2. Lack of realistic resolution setting
  3. Giving up at the slightest adversity
  4. No clarity of end in sight
  5. Impossible deadlines – No reward mechanisms

How do you set resolutions that you can stick with?

Setting New Year resolutions can be designed to work for you. However for that to happen, you need to set them with clarity, a sense of practicality and clear achievable goals and rewards. Here are 3 cool steps to follow to set and get New year resolutions to work for you.

New Year resolutions can work for you if you set them with clarity, a sense of practicality and clear achievable goals and rewards. Here's how… Click To Tweet

Step 1 – Set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound

1. Specific Goals

Specific goals address one problem at a time. Examples of specific goals are

New Year Resolution Lose Weight
  1. I want to lose weight
  2. I want to gain mastery in math
  3. I want to learn to cook

2. Measurable Goals

Goals must be measurable. You should be able to convince yourself and others that you are indeed moving closer to the goal every day. That will keep you motivated too. Continuing on the previous examples

  1. I want to lose a kilogram of weight every 2 weeks.
  2. I want to gain mastery by solving 10 problems in math every day.
  3. I want to learn one new cooking recipe every week.

3. Attainable Goals

Goals must be realistically set to give you a ‘more than fair‘ chance to achieve them. I did not say ‘fair’. Observe that I said ‘more than fair‘. You should not lose sight of the fact that the goal setting exercise is being done for yourself. Be generous and set goals that are realistically attainable given the other tasks you need to handle during the day, the week, etc.

Examples for generally non-attainable goals

  1. I want to lose 1 kg of weight every day.
  2. I want to gain mastery by solving 500 problems every day.
  3. I want to become an expert cook by learning 35 recipies every day.

The examples in step 3 are attainable goals

4. Relevant Goals

Goals need to be relevant. They must take you down the path which leads you to where you see yourself in the future. They must reflect your aspirations a year or 3 years from now.

Examples for relevant goals

  1. I want to lose a kilogram of weight every two weeks – This goal is relevant to your aim of becoming a fitter person in 3-6 months.
  2. I want to learn 10 math problems everyday – This goal is relevant to improve your mastery over math over 3-6 months.
  3. I want to learn one new recipe every week – This goal is relevant in turning you into a good cook at the end of an year.

5. Time bound Goals

Goals must be for fixed periods of time. Incorporating time into your goals is an effective way to make sure you are serious about achieving them. The time factor also makes sure you plunge into action quickly after the goal is set.

The examples step 3 are time bound goals

Step 2 – Pursue your goals

Once your goals are set, you need to pursue them. This often is the hard part. This is where New Year resolutions end up failing. The first 2-3 days or a week are usually good as your motivation keeps you going. The hard part comes once the novelty wears off. The task starts becoming a routine after the first 2-3 weeks. This is the time the self-motivation starts dipping.

Research states that for any new task to turn into a habit, it needs to be continually done at least 25 to 30 times.

How do you prevent boredom from setting in? How do you keep going at the task after it becomes a routine? Try the “Swallow the frog” method.

Swallow the frog, the first thing in the morning

Close your eyes and imagine swallowing a frog. Eww… Disgusting, right?

Exactly! I too feel the same and so do others too. In the context of your goals, a frog is something disgusting that you hate doing. The task that leads you to your goal often turns disgusting after 2-3 weeks. It turns into the proverbial ‘frog’.

How do you deal with it? Swallow it. Do the ‘frog’ task the first thing in the morning. Deal with it and set it aside. You are done for the day and can do the easier and less boring tasks in the course of the day.

Most of us have the habit of procrastinating tasks. Tasks that are hard, boring tend to postponed till later in the day. Eventually, there is no more time that day and the task remains unfulfilled.

The solution for this is to do such tasks the first thing in the morning. Swallow the frog, the first thing in the morning.

A simple solution to avoid procrastination is to 'swallow the frog', first thing in the morning. Here's why… Click To Tweet

Track and document your progress

This is often the most neglected portion of New Year Resolutions. Tracking your progress is just as important as pursuing it. Tracking can be done on a simple sheet of paper or an excel sheet. The advantages of tracking are

  1. It shows your progress on a weekly, monthly basis
  2. It allows you to set small milestones that you can celebrate.
  3. It keeps you motivated by giving you the ability to break up your goals into smaller, tangible bites.
  4. It can fill you with an enormous sense of pride as you look back at your progress over the weeks, months.
  5. It allows you to share your progress with family and friends and enlist them in keeping you motivated.

Step 3 – Reward yourself for achieving your goals

Again, a commonly ignored aspect. Reward yourself consciously for achieving your goals – both major goals and micro goals you might have set for yourself. The act of rewarding oneself gives you a sense of closure and achievement. Rewards can involve a small party, buying yourself a book, a new sports equipment, going to a movie, etc. Do ask your friends to join in as sharing the joy helps prep you up for the next goals you have planned for the future.

Last but not least, New Year resolutions are a promise you make to yourself. Honour them and give them the importance and value you would give to your boss at work or your children or spouse. Renew your relationship with yourself.

New Year resolutions are a promise you make to yourself. Honour them and give them the importance and value you would give to your boss at work or your children or spouse. Renew your relationship with yourself. Here's why… Click To Tweet [yikes-mailchimp form=”3″ title=”1″ description=”1″]

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