So you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution. Good on you! I love a person who is willing to continually work on themselves.
Resolutions do not have to be an exclusive New Year thing. If we have the resolve and commit to changing for our highest growth, it doesn’t matter what day we choose to start – as long as we start.
Now let’s talk about how to keep your resolution and prevent it from fizzling out after the first week or two.
1. Get Clear On The Why
Whatever your NYR is, make sure to examine the why or intention behind what you are doing. Is it something you are truly committed to or is it an impulsive decision that you may not keep? For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, are you doing it for your health and wellbeing or is it to impress a love interest or fit a conventional beauty standard?
Often, the resolutions we fail to keep are ones we make with extrinsic motivation as the source – motivation that comes from the external world, such as gaining recognition or approval and avoidance of pain or punishment. The resolutions that we stick to (New Years or no New Years) are the ones in which we are intrinsically motivated – we are doing this for ourselves and know it is in our best interest to change.
Get brutally honest with yourself. It’s hard to call ourselves out on our bullshit. If you know your NYR is more of an arbitrary wish than a firm commitment, perhaps pick something you are willing to commit to and avoid setting yourself up for failure. Commitments require time, energy, hard work, and persistence. If this is not something you can get behind, reexamine why you want to make a NYR in the first place.
Often when we don’t meet a goal, no matter how small it may be, we take a hit to our confidence and sense of self efficacy. This tends to compound over time until we begin to feel as if we can’t commit to accomplishing anything. We can avoid this by setting ourselves up for success instead by getting clear with our reasons and truly believing in the changes we want to make.
2. Create A Detailed Action Plan
Outline an action plan with goals or milestones you’d like to hit weekly or monthly. The more organized you are about how you plan to succeed, the more likely success will be! As Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
A few things to remember with creating your action plan – keep the goals reasonable by starting small and incrementally increasing the level of challenge. Be as specific as possible with what milestones you’d like to hit and when.
Let’s say your NYR is to be more physically active and the extent of your physical activity currently is walking up and down stairs and squatting to poop in public restrooms (been there fam). For Months 1 and 2, the goal could be to try as many different forms of exercise to figure out which one resonates best with you. Months 3 and 4, the goal could be to improve at whatever form of physical activity you have chosen.
Below, I’ve provided an outline of a sample action plan.
Let’s say the practice of Yoga resonated most with you. Months 3 and 4 could be dedicated to upping the ante on your practice. For Month 3 you may want to exercise three times per week and for Month 4 perhaps you want to be able to do a specific pose or sequence.
Feel free to use the outlines of the sample action plans I’ve created or design your own! It helps to take some time to work out the first few months of your NYR plan, I’d recommend three or four months to start with. Then, as you progress, create monthly plans based on what you’d like to improve upon.
3. Check In With Your Progress
However often you decide to monitor your progress, be it weekly, biweekly, monthly – make it a point to continually check in with yourself.
Keeping a progress journal can be a potent tool to have in your arsenal! You can use a journal to record your thoughts, feelings, challenges, and achievements.
If your NYR is to eat healthier, you can use your journal to brainstorm meal ideas and save recipes that you find interesting. If your NYR is to quit smoking, you can use your journal to set a taper schedule, keep track of the things that trigger cravings, and vent your frustrations.
Personalize your journal with your unique flare! Make it your own.
4. Update Your Plan As Needed
If you notice during your check ins that you may have sit the bar a bit high with the original plan, take a few steps back. Consider creating an updated plan with a more achievable time-line or milestones. This way, as you hit each goal along the journey, you’ll begin to build confidence and a sense that yes, you can do it!
A few months down the road, you may find that your action plan is no longer challenging you and has become very much a routine part of your life. Now’s the time to crank up the heat a notch! Set more challenging goals for yourself and push yourself a little bit further.
Remember if you have trouble with keeping to your new plan, you can always go back to the way you were doing it before. Doesn’t hurt to challenge yourself!
5. Enlist Support
If you have friends or family that are making resolutions, recruit them to be a part of your team! You can help each other keep on track and hold each other accountable.
For those of us who may have trouble finding support, try joining an online community and finding like minded individuals who are also interested in keeping their NYR! Who knows, you may even make a wonderful friend in the process.
You can even try to have a loved one make a similar resolution as you and help each other through your challenging moments. Having a resolution buddy can be useful for getting more active, working on your creative practice, changing your diet, limiting your social media use, or anything else under the sun!
Let’s say your resolution is to love yourself unconditionally and you’ve had an awful day. Reach out to a trusted friend and talk it out. Your friend may be able to boost your mood and remind you of all the reasons why you are amazing!
If your resolution is to keep a gratitude journal, make it a point to share relevant bits with the people you are grateful for. If a loved one is also keeping a daily gratitude journal, share one thing you were each grateful for at the end of the day to help encourage each other.
In times of struggle, it is so immensely helpful to have someone in your corner to cheer you on. Remember to also be your own best friend, beloved.
6. Consume Inspiring Content
The Internet is a plethora of incredible resources! During the times when you feel discouraged, it helps to have positive content to help you recalibrate. There’s tons of motivational videos on YouTube and How To type blog posts for when you’re feeling lost.
If you’re learning how to cook, follow a food blogger or a YouTube channel focusing on easy home made meals. If you’re working on healing past traumas, check out YouTube channels dedicated to healing spiritually. (Teal Swan’s YouTube channel is one of my favorites for practical spirituality.)
If you need simply need encouragement to stick with it and not give up, check out motivational speakers on YouTube, watch inspiring underdog movies and documentaries, read about your favorite role model – you get the gist! Use any tool that helps you refocus and lift your spirits.
Check out my post 11 Ways To Change Your Mood for when you need a change of state.
7. Focus On Progress Over Perfection
It is key to remember that we will run into roadblocks and that it is perfectly normal to lose your footing or slip up. Rather than fixating on the idea of perfection (which is an illusion my friends), we can instead focus on the small steps we are taking towards progress.
When we strive for perfection, we often fail because we set the expectation bar so impossibly high that we feel discouraged and disappointed when we can’t meet it. This then feeds our self loathing and cultivates a sense that we are not capable, when in reality we are! We simply need to create more manageable steps in our journey.
Instead, focus on what you are doing in the here and now to achieve your goal. Focus on the next step in front of you and don’t worry about the long road ahead! If you fall, take a rest, dust yourself off, and keep on trekking. Remember my loves, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
8. Show Up Every Single Day
Stay present and commit to doing your best every day. Sometimes we forget that each day is a fresh opportunity to create change. When we want to create lasting change, we must recommit to it each and every day.
Show up in whatever way makes sense for you, but make sure to do it every day! This could be saying positive affirmations every morning, listening to a recording of yourself speaking about why you made the resolution before bed, or anything else that works for you.
Make the most of the Now and do as much as your can. That’s all we can ask of ourselves. I have every faith that you will achieve whatever you set your heart, mind, and soul to, beloved!
What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Share them with me in the comments section below! Need help creating an action plan? DM me on Instagram @lotusawareshare or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org