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Make sure this year you are not part of the 80% of people who fail to achieve their New Year Resolutions.

At this time of year many of us think about making resolutions or changes for the coming year. We think about a goal we can set for ourselves, whether it be a financial, work or health goal and tell ourselves that we are going to work towards that goal starting January 1. So what happens? Why do so many of us not achieve what we set out to do? Surely focusing on change in order to make our life better and to feel happier must be a good thing, right? Despite our best efforts most New Year’s resolutions start to fizzle out by the third week of January. And no, it’s not because of the Australia Day holiday! Could it be that we are setting unattainable, unrealistic and perhaps even unwanted goals?

In order to offer ourselves the best chance of making positive change in the coming year we need to first ask ourselves some questions. What is it that you really want for 2017? What would have the most impact in improving your life? Would you like to:

  • Treat yourself with more respect and speak kindly about yourself?
  • Be physically active more often?
  • Learn to relax and enjoy?
  • Work towards being the person you want to be?
  • Spend money on things you really need?
  • Save for the travel holiday you have always wanted?

Now that we have some ideas we need to undergo a reality check! Ask yourself:

Is this what I am really wanting for 2017?

When the going gets tough will I want it bad enough to stick it out?

Will what I need to do to achieve my resolution really be worth it in the end?

Am I prepared to try this resolution multiple times throughout the year to say I have achieved it?

Remember:  New Year’s Resolutions actually mean that you have all year to achieve your goal, not just the first few weeks!

Get thinking:

What do I need in order to get started?

Who do I need to support me?

What stepping stones can I take to reach my end goal? Can my goal be broken down into smaller steps?

Are there alternative ways of reaching my goal. If plan A or B doesn’t work, can I have a plan C?

Make a start before the New Year – take a small first step to test your commitment and readiness. This may be as simple as writing down your goal (for some this may be difficult) on a piece of paper, in your new 2017 diary, or on a post-it-note in your top drawer or bathroom mirror, or perhaps in your phone notes – writing your goal down makes your goal real and memorable.

Step by step:

So, now that we have a goal, a New Year’s Resolution, and we know we have all year to work towards it, it would be helpful to make it achievable. We know it will take effort, work and thought so start to break your goal up in achievable steps; write it down in dot points, thinking of one small change at a time. These dot points will help you see a pathway, or multiple pathways towards your goal.

Support:

It is wise to have the correct supports in place before attempting to achieve any goal. Your support crew are those friends or family members who can all help you on your way, throughout the year. Sharing your goals and pathways with them and telling them how they can help will allow you to feel more motivated. It will also allow your support group to help you when your motivation wavers during the year.

Setbacks are a friendly reminder:

Plan and allow for set-backs and remember that set-backs are a friendly reminder to pause, and take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved so far, what works and what doesn’t work. Small set-backs are to be expected. If you get off track start fresh the next day or week when you have re-gained the stamina to keep going.

Reflection and recognition:

If by the end of 2017 you haven’t completely achieved what you set out to do then give yourself a pat on the back for all the times that you have tried to achieve your goals, for all the effort you have put in over the year, even if your attempts were sporadic. You will have learned, grown and become a stronger person just from participating in the process.