Have you ever experienced the roller coaster ride at an exciting theme park? Such anticipation as you get strapped in, and the roller coaster begins to move forward right before it plunges down the steep cliff taking your stomach with it. For some this is an exciting event, and for others, well, they’d rather watch from the ground.
Going from one year, reflecting on the wins and disappointments, and experiencing the excitement that comes with the opportunity to start fresh in a new year is kind of like that roller coaster ride. If we are making resolutions once again, then that ride can be fraught with disappointment.
Resolutions often do not work for a multitude of reasons. Here are just some of them.
We simply keep regurgitating them year after year.
We don’t consider our “why” we want this thing or issue to be different
We don’t know how to turn what we want into actionable steps
We lose enthusiasm to try to engage in different habits after about 2 weeks
We don’t have a clear path forward, or accountability for it
We lack support from our main peeps at home or at work.
So, if this is the year you want to do something radically different, then nix the New Year’s Resolutions. Just don’t do them. You might send them on their merry way for a proper farewell and choose to abandon them forevermore.
Here’s our suggestions instead.
Pick no more than 1-3 goals you have for yourself for the next 365 days – Choose wisely. Consider why these goals matter, what the cost is of doing nothing and what the benefits are of changing your thinking and habits to fulfill the goal. Decide thoughtfully how much this goal really matters to your health, work life, family, personal wellbeing or relationships.
Write them down in very specific language. Only then can you have clarity.
By writing your goals down you can see them in specific language. Keep this in front of you every day- not buried in a journal or notebook. Make copies and keep several in places you run into daily like your bathroom, work desk, car, etc. Look at them and say them out loud. Remind yourself why they matter.
Create an actionable plan with baby step actions for each day. Remind yourself each step gets you closer to your goal. These steps should be reasonable- not giant leaps, just small steps. When you take those steps, take them with purpose and intention. Remind yourself by being fully present what you are doing and why.
Get a buddy on board. We all typically do better when we tell someone else our goals, and they agree to be our A/E buddy- someone who will encourage us and also hold us accountable to our daily actions. We in turn will agree to do the same for them.
Keep a tracker and be sure you build in small rewards along the way. We often wait until we believe we have “arrived” when it comes to celebrating completion of goals, however our brain does best with mini rewards along the way. These small rewards we build into our journey keep us motivated and remind us that we are doing the work of shifting our thinking and changing a habit that no longer serves us.
Be sure your goal has a time frame and an accurate way to measure completion. If for example you are wanting to lose 10 pounds, and you are giving yourself 4 months, then be sure that you are specific out of the gate on both the goal and the desired date of completion. You may want or need to assess and be willing to tweak the time frame if needed or if you decide you hit a patch of not being able to put in the same effort that is required. Hold yourself accountable but also know when it’s time to show yourself some compassion if you need to make an adjustment.
Resolutions are a surefire way to ride the roller coaster of excited, to discouraged pretty quickly. Instead of putting yourself emotionally through that ride, try these suggestions instead. See if they allow you to build a better path forward; One that is sustainable and rewarding and serves to help you meet your goals without all the roller coaster ups and downs.