What to Avoid When Making New Year Resolutions
How to not get distracted with the New Year and set smart goals that actually last.
Happy New Year! HNY! New Year New you! I am going to start living my dream life on January 1st, well January 2nd because the 1st is still a holiday so it doesn’t count.
I am sure we have all had one of these new years. Maybe you even said these things a few days ago? The new year is a great place to reflect on your year and plan for the year ahead, but don’t let it distract you from the reality of your goals.
The truth is… goals are small changes, made any time of year or day of the week. These alterations ultimately create a big difference in your life.
You are more likely to achieve your goals when you don’t have a glorified start date that forces you to change. Check out what to avoid while learning how to make SMART goals to get you ready for the new year of growth.
Here are 4 things to avoid:
1- Don’t start on a Monday or when it’s convenient.
When we wait for the perfect time to start we are much more likely to stop when that perfect window is over. Start in the middle of the week or halfway through the day or month. Just start because you are worth it and there will never be a better time than now.
2- Don’t compare your goals to other’s goals
Comparison has never been easier with social media. I’m sure you have seen your share of New Year’s resolutions already. It is a great way to be accountable which is awesome!
I love being motivated by others. Remember that some people are ahead of you and your goals and some people are behind you. It doesn’t matter where you start. It only matters that you start. Right now, with what you have to work with.
3- Don’t Should on yourself
If you ever find yourself starting a sentence with “I should…” take a moment and consider what exactly you are “shoulding” on yourself. We often use should as a form of shaming ourselves into being the person we think we need to be. If you want to have long terms results, start by taking should out of your vocabulary.
4- Don’t set multiple huge goals
When you are finally feeling motivated, we often get a little goal happy. We want to change everything about our lives and do it all at once. Your goals might look something like “I want to work out, eat healthily, be financially stable, quit a bad habit, and be a better mom.”
Wow, that is quite the list. Believe me, I am all for goals and plans for the future, however, try starting with just one life-changing goal and break it into pieces.
Like the Debt Snowball Method, you will gain momentum with every little victory and by achieving each broken down goal. Consistency is the key.
What are S. M. A. R. T. goals?
Here is how to break down any goal into a SMART goal.
“I want to get healthy this year”
The question to ask yourself “What does healthy look like?”
“I want to work out more.”
The next question to ask about your work out goal is “What kind of work out? How often do you want to work out? When or what time of day are you going to work out?”
“I want to walk for 30 minutes, outside or on a treadmill, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30 A.M. after I drop my kids off at school.”
Now that is a focused goal. Great!!
Now take some time to really think about your WHY. Why do you want to get healthy? What would that mean to you? What would it add to your life that you don’t have now?
Changing Habits is a mind game
What most of us forget that changing habits and behaviors are more of a mind game than anything. Like literally, it’s learning to build different neuropathways in our brains. A study of 31.5 million fitness records shows most fitness goals have fizzled out by week two. However, don’t be discouraged because that means half of the people who were looking to improve their lives and break old habits were successful!
If you want to change you have to know how to play the game. So figure out your why and put in the mental work first.
Is it Measurable?
Getting specific will help you make your goal measurable. A good question to ask yourself is “Is there a daily, weekly, or monthly box I can check to see if I have accomplished this goal?
Like the financial snowball effect, you need to have little wins that propel you to keep going after week 2. Let me tell you, it gets harder before it gets easier.
You have probably been caught up in this cycle before (because it’s a human cycle, we’ve all been there) where all of a sudden this goal that seemed to be a good idea doesn’t feel worth the sacrifice anymore.
It’s hard, it doesn’t bring you instant joy. You then start to question why you made the goal in the first place? After all, life before this goal wasn’t so bad. Yes, you are in debt but at least you found joy shopping.
Measuring and achieving your goals will give you little spikes of dopamine, that feel-good brain chemical, which will only improve your stakes in the mind game of habit change.
Here are a few simple ways to get that dopamine spike when you feel a little depleted: making your bed, meditation, sit up straight, smile, and even wearing sunglasses on a sunny day so you are not wrinkling your eyebrows.
If you have bad knees, making a goal to run every day might not even be physically possible at the moment. That is ok! Wherever you are at today is the perfect place to start! Be realistic with yourself and your limitations.
A lot of the time when we get real with ourselves about limitations sneaky shame can creep in our minds and tear us down more. Thoughts of where you “should” be (remember step 3 don’t should on yourself) and thinking you are weak or not good enough.
Let’s call shame out, and not go down that path. No matter how much you feel $100 bill is worth, that feeling doesn’t change it’s worth. And you, my friend, have infinite worth that will never change!
If that didn’t register then let me say it again. No matter what mistakes you’ve made, habits or imperfections you have, or what you think you are worth, your infinite value does not change.
Creating a goal that is attainable is jumping into reality and getting yourself in the real game.
Is this goal going to get you closer to your ultimate life goals?
If your ultimate goal is to write a book, how is taking a quilting class going to get you closer to that particular goal?
Do you want to write a book about quilting? Is this class going to give you some mental downtime to then help you better focus on writing?
Pinpointing your bigger dreams will give you a guide to focus your smaller goals on.
There are a lot of great goals out there but unless they are contributing to the bigger dreams they might be more of a distraction.
If your goal is to be a better mom to your kids, the micro-goals to get there can range from educating yourself by reading books or taking classes, to working out to give your self some personal time each day. Both of those micro-goals are relevant to the ultimate goal.
There are some goals you can put a realistic time frame to while others might not work that way.
If you are a procrastinator like me, having a deadline or a due date is often the only thing that gets me serious about working on a task. I can’t tell you how many assignments were finished hours before class started because I felt like I had plenty of time.
Making deadlines helps to eliminate the “oh I have all the time in the world and will start tomorrow” thinking.
There are some goals that you don’t want to put a time frame on as well. Often when you are playing big, you will fail more than once. These are learning opportunities that get you closer to your ultimate goal. However setting a time frame, might discourage you if you’re not there yet.
Setting goals is the first step to becoming the person you are meant to be. The person that your soul yearns for. Remember that usually when it is hard it means you are doing something right. It is supposed to be hard. So do the hard thing. Do what most people aren’t willing to do, to have what most people will never have.
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