It has become a cliché: having a New Year’s resolution and within the next week, you feel those new behaviors starting to slip. Some people even get themselves depressed at the idea that they cannot make change. Sure, you can write it off and say “I just can’t do it.” OR you can learn ways to actually make it stick this year! In an attempt to help your now “firm” decision not go soft, I have developed 4 strategies to help your resolutions stick.
Practical is not always Better ?
Before you go making goals of becoming President or dropping 30 pounds, take a good look at where you are and what you can realistically commit to in the coming year. Sometimes bigger is not always better. People naturally push themselves when they can see the finish line in sight, however if the finish line is so far not even your binoculars can spot it, it may be time to move your goal closer to your current position. Change is not easy, therefore replacing huge expectations with more realistic and bite size ones will have you sticking to it and seeing it through to the end. Ultimately leading you to feelings of empowerment and increasing your motivation to continue setting goals for yourself.
Break it Down
New Years Resolutions are kind of like Ikea furniture. Shopping and looking through the store, you dream and wonder what the possibilities hold. However, once you have made your picks the true work begins. Getting home and unpacking the box is a quick reminder nothing comes without work. Now imagine you were left to build the bookshelf without the handy dandy universal instructions! You would quickly become overwhelmed, maybe break a peg or two and possibly give up. Therefore, in order for you to see any goal through or reach any outcome baby steps are actually quicker than large strides. Therefore, break your resolution down into a bunch of tiny pieces (Ikea style) and look to see how day by day or week by week you can start inching towards your goal.
Watch for Demands
Burn out is easy when we are demanding things of ourselves. Demanding you stick firmly to any resolution you make is actually the quickest way to go soft. Demands lead to one of two things. First, when you are achieving and “meeting your demands” you are anxious you will lose your momentum or drive. Second, when you are not meeting your demands you are left with feelings of sadness and guilt. And trust me sadness, guilt and anxiety sabotage your chances of getting to your goal. Therefore, replace your demands with wants. Look for times where you are thinking in musts, needs, oughts and shoulds and replace these we likes, preferences, wishes, and hopes. Holding a less rigid adherence to your new year’s resolution will contrary to popular belief make you more successfully in sticking to it.
You are HUMAN. However, despite most of recognizing this we so often place un-human like expectations on ourselves. We are not perfect and not machines, therefore expecting yourself to not hit some hiccups in the road is unrealistic. So expect the hiccups and be nice to yourself about them. Remind yourself that you are human and like ALL humans are not perfect. Take hiccups as a sign to practice compassion and you will see that you are quicker to dust yourself off and get back to those baby steps leading to your ultimate goal.
Cheers to your 2017 resolution that is sure to stick. Sign on to our newsletter www.CBTIofSoCal.com for more healthy tips for this New Year!