If you’re like most people, you’ve probably experienced the sudden burst of motivation that comes in early January, as holiday indulgences make their way to the waistline and New Year’s resolutions force a new look at the figure we see in the mirror.
“This is the year,” so the resolution goes, “that I vow to lose ten pounds and keep it off.” Other common variations include goals to get back to one’s “true” weight, to fit into a size ten, etc.
And worthy resolutions they are. Sadly, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived, if not completely forgotten by February. The trick to making resolutions work is to follow the same steps required to make any goal work, as follows:
Choose the Right Resolution
For all too many resolutions, failure is virtually assured at the offset because the resolutions are not made with serious intent and deliberation. The first trick is to choose the right resolution, for the right reasons.
Give some thought to what you really want and why you want it. What direct benefits do you hope to receive? Is a weight-loss resolution meant to improve your self-esteem? Attractiveness? Vitality? Longevity? Identifying the “why” helps you avoid setting goals for the wrong reasons.
- Create a Plan
Most resolutions fail because people stop once they’ve made the resolution. It is crucial to harness New Year’s temporary motivation into something that will carry you through an extended period of required effort.
- Stay on Track
With a good plan in hand, making significant progress toward your goal may require very little discipline for those who live strictly by daily planners and love nothing more than checking off items on our to-do lists
- Remain Flexible and Keep on Going
A recent realization among goal-setting experts is the need to continually modify our approach—sometimes even changing or abandoning a goal altogether. The reason for this is that circumstances beyond our control frequently crop up at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. We can also expect our short-term and long-term priorities to change. So long as we build flexibility into our expectations, we can simply adjust things as we go.