The new year is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Many of you choose to make new year’s resolutions in an effort to inspire new habits: they want to start going to the gym, eat healthier, start meditating, learn a new language, etc. But too often, you do not follow through on those objectives. The problem may be the type of resolutions you make.
1. Be realistic
While you want to be ambitious, do not set the bar too high. Avoid making goals like “I want to lose 100 pounds in three months.” You should make plans that will work with your lifestyle and that you can see yourself achieving. Or else, you may start pushing yourself too hard or get discouraged.
2. Do not be vague
Another important factor is to be specific. If you are too vague, it will be impossible to work towards achieving your goals. Do not just say “I want to get fit this year.” Make concrete plans, such as “I want to be able to run a mile in eight minutes by the end of the year” or “I will try to go to the gym three times a week.”
3. Set short term goals
Once you have a clear, defined, and specific goal, break it up into smaller objectives that can be achieved every few weeks or months. For example, say your resolution is to start learning Japanese. That is a lofty goal. To make it less daunting, break it up into small sections. Make the goal of the first month to learn basic pronunciation and the alphabet. The following month, make your goal to learn basic greetings and pronouns. Then learn numbers, and so on.
4. Take it slow
It is tempting to throw yourself into your resolutions. At first, you are probably excited to get started. The gym is usually very crowded the first few weeks of January. But then, you may notice it empties out by February. People take it way too fast and then burn out. Even though you want results quickly, it is better to go slow to make sure your resolutions really stick.
5. Keep track of your progress
Whenever you feel discouraged with where you are in your goals and feel like quitting, it is important to remember where you started. Once you realize how far you have come, you will not feel so discouraged. Try keeping a journal or monthly planner, either on paper or electronic, that you can look back through. No achievement is too small. Be proud of what you accomplish and remember to reward yourself.