From resolutions to reality
Feeling overwhelmed by your New Year’s resolutions? Don’t panic – you’re not alone. A powerful wave of hope for the future is sure to be present at any New Year’s celebration. Whether to eat more greens, lose weight, read more, quit social media, or work out every day, many people set themselves reams of resolutions for the year ahead.
However, more than half of all resolutions fail because they’re not the right ones for the person making them, have been created based on what someone else or society is saying, or are too vague or don’t have a realistic plan for achieving them.
Experts say that in order to achieve goals for the year ahead, they should be smart, specific, clear, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Here are some tips that can help you become part of the small group of people who successfully achieve their goals:
It’s time to get real and honest with yourself. Take a step back and think about why you’ve set those specific resolutions. Try addressing how they will add value to you and your life. Give your goals some real thought, and, most importantly, be honest with yourself about why you’re setting them. If you address what would add real meaning to your life, you’re far more likely to make them happen.
Create a plan to break down the clarified goals into smaller sub-goals that can be achieved daily. You don’t need to set resolutions for the whole year ahead if it feels intimidating. One big goal or even several smaller ones can seem overwhelming, and this can lead to delays or even giving up. Instead, you should look ahead month by month, or even plan for the seasons of the year. That way, you can also actively monitor your progress.
Get ready to commit:
Life goals take work and time; they don’t happen overnight. Only choose goals you know you can fully commit to. Also, re-frame your resolutions. Don’t allow your resolution to get you down. Take a new perspective on your goals.
Set target dates:
Change takes time, so be realistic when you set your deadlines. It’s been proven that time-specific goals have a much better chance of being achieved. By setting a target date to have achieved it by, you’ll keep your visualisation clearer in your head.
Know when to take a break:
Taking effective breaks has been shown to increase productivity, so find the time each day to let your mind relax. No goal or resolution should consume your mind from the moment of waking to the moment of sleeping. And checking social media accounts and watching television are not breaks for the mind; they’re probably just more sources of stress. Try to meditate, sing, take a walk, have a shower or a small workout instead.
Stay positive: Positivity can be the key to success, so try your best to back your goals up with positive action. Do one small positive thing every day that moves you towards your goals.
Reward yourself: Temptation bundling is a simple way to push yourself to achieve more. Tie what you want to achieve to a reward and get that reward each time you work towards your goal.
Don’t give in to critics: People will try to bind you to their own self-limitations. Take their criticism, and tell yourself that you’re not bound by what they’re bound to. Go out, make it happen, achieve it. Then, when all this has been done, go back to your critic and respectfully tell them of your achievement and thank them for their help.
Listen to your innate gut instinct. The only way you’ll improve yourself is to get real about what you personally want and need. It is important to ensure that the progress of your resolution can be actively tracked.
Don’t give up:
Persevere. Studies show that people who set goals are ten times more likely to change their lives for the better after six months than people who aspired to do better but didn’t set any.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 6 January, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.