We all know the routine with New Year resolutions: make ‘em, fake ‘em, and break ’em. But why not make 2018 the year to be resolute about your resolutions? Here are some tips and thoughts to ponder if you really plan on making your resolutions a reality this year and not just another side joke by Valentine’s Day.
When developing your resolutions, it’s always best to use a process; don’t just wing them off the top of your head. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that writing down any goals increases the chances of them coming to fruition by a significant factor. It’s best to start general – what areas are you contemplating? Personal health? Financial goals? Interpersonal relationships? Work or school-related? You can drill down on each of these broad categories to specifically target your resolution.
Make your resolutions achievable. Probably the most important question is the reality check: will you really DO It? Will you completely stop eating sweets? Will you conceivably only drink one cup of coffee if you’re used to three or four? Will you carve out the time to meditate twice a day for twenty minutes per shot if you never give yourself two minutes for personal time? Will you go from well- trained couch potato to running three miles a day on January first? Whatever it might be, it’s best to utilize a progressive approach. Going from zero to one-hundred mph very quickly often works in Nascar, but not so much for new year resolutions.
Shun absolutes: I’ll NEVER do this; I’ll ALWAYS do that. This approach is the entrance ramp to the highway of failed resolutions. Absolutes should absolutely be avoided. Start with a realistic goal and build upon it each week. If you want to increase your reading in the new year, start with a goal of ten minutes, perhaps, three times a week, and ratchet it up just a few minutes per week. By June you can be steadily reading three or four hours a week. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, as the saying by Voltaire tells u. Gradual increases in goals are realistic and flexible. You will be much less likely to throw your hands up in despair than if you set a lofty goal that is, in terms of practicality, unattainable.
Finally, the magic number to really instill a practice into a hardcore habit seems to be about 90 days. It’s probably part psychological and part physical. But the ninety number does has some magic associated with it. It’s only two digits so perhaps it doesn’t seem so far away. The triple digits of one-hundred days just has more of a feel of being far off while ninety is easier to wrap your head around. It is basically the length of one season, so, again, you can see yourself doing this for the winter – and it may be something to help motivate you through the dreariness and harsh weather of January, February, and March.
And the fact that ninety days computes to three months also is something that seems inviting to people. The first day/week/month is obviously a great challenge as you may be experiencing legitimate changes in your body chemistry related to emotional and physiological alterations. From the first to the second month, you can see these changes start to subside to some degree, but this is a time to be diligent and redouble your efforts. Changes may be occurring more quickly or slowly than you anticipated, but progress has been made and you must build upon it. After two months, a serious foundation has been established – you have proven to yourself that for sixty days you can accomplish your goal, and this is something to be proud of. But don’t get overconfident. Keep to your routines now, and over the next four weeks, your daily practices will strengthen into habits that you don’t have to dedicate so much overt energy and concentration upon. Before you know it, you’ll be riding down the street of 2018 with no training-wheels!
The main element involving resolutions is creating a sense of do-ability with them. Whatever you aim to achieve, remind yourself daily – or twice or thrice daily if need be – that you are deserving and equipped to obtain it. Good luck with your goals, and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2018, a year that will be one filled with accomplishments!