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New Year New You

dream-message-bottleHappy New Year Everybody! Not everybody uses the New Year as a marker and time of reflection and growth, but for those of us who do… it’s RESOLUTION SETTING SEASON!

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions yet? It can be so nice to have a set time of year to reflect on how things have gone and what you would like to change. Resolutions can be anything you want them to be! Sometimes the best part is just visualizing how you want things to change and imagining what life could be if you stuck to them.

But that’s usually the problem… isn’t it?

Sticking to New Years Resolutions is the hardest part about them! It’s so simple to fantasize about following through on your resolutions and how great life will be, but when it’s time to actually walk the walk… often times we don’t end up making those changes. We might start out really strong and be very conscious of our efforts to meet our goals… but then something comes up and just for one day we have to skip or revert back to old habits. We boost ourselves back into our goal but the motivation starts to wane… and before we know it we’ve completely let go of the goal and are back in our old ways.

If this sounds a lot like you, don’t feel embarrassed. A lot of people find themselves stuck the same way that you do. It’s really hard to make a total 180-degree turn in our lives, especially because we so often run about our days on autopilot, or we stretch ourselves too thin trying to maintain a multitude of new changes at once.

So here are some easy ways that we can break down our larger goals and make them attainable so you really CAN commit to having a “New Year, New You”!

1. Mentally Prepare for a Challenge!

We KNOW that maintaining this goal is going to be difficult. No matter what it is, any time we try to change something that has become a set routine for us (especially if we don’t consciously think about it while it’s happening) there is going to be some resistance. That’s why it’s important to recognize that it’s a challenge. It can help to take inventory of the resolutions you made last year and note where you DID make progress and where you DIDN’T make progress. Naturally, you might place focus on where you DIDN’T make progress but it’s more productive to look at where you DID. How great did you feel about the progress you made? Keep that in mind while you create your new resolutions for this year.

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2. Set a goal that motivates YOU!

It may come as a surprise, but a lot of people set goals that aren’t actually about themselves. They’ll set goals that may be dictated by a parent, partner, peer pressure or even a boss or manager. It can be nice to have external support to reach these goals… but if these aren’t goals that you’ve set for yourself chances are they won’t matter AS much to you when you’re trying to follow through on them. Make sure the goal that you set has importance and value to YOU and just you! This will make sure that the goal is motivational. Take stock of your goals, dreams and priorities and see what you can find in there. Aligning your goals with your top priorities will give you that extra boost.

3. Limit the Goals You Set!

Because the New Year can be such an exciting and encouraging time for growth and change, we can find ourselves trying to change too many things at once. It’s hard enough for the brain to deal with one new goal… but trying to change our eating habits, sleep habits, exercise habits, downtime habits and anything else you can think of all at once can really overload the brain. Keep the amount of things you’re trying to change right away small so you can focus on them and really put the effort into succeeding.

4. Be Specific!

Setting bad goals could lead to a poor follow-through. Goals that are too broad can also be too confusing to follow. Saying “Get Healthy” is a lot less specific than “Quitting Smoking” and leaves more to interpretation. Making it quantifiable also helps. Saying “I will read 200 books this year” Sounds impressive, but is a lot less likely to be achieved than “I will read 1 book a month”. If you really want to, you can give yourself a deadline to accomplish these in, but make sure it is also attainable.

5. Break Down Large Goals into Bite-Sized Pieces!two-people-looking-over-graphs

It’s exciting to make huge goals for ourselves… but if we don’t know what steps we have to take to get to that big goal, chances are good that we won’t succeed. It’s really exciting to say “I’ll travel across Canada!”, but that isn’t a great place to start. Where do you want to visit first and at what time of year? You can break down a yearly goal by month or even weeks. The best way to start is to create a list of sub-tasks, to prioritize those sub-tasks and allocate your resources accordingly. Instead of focusing on the big task you just focus on the next step and before you know it, you’ve gone from one end of the country to the other!

6. Revisit your Resolutions Often

Reconnect with your resolution often! The more often you visit your resolution the easier it is to stay on track with it because it’s a regular part of your life and your vision! Set a time every month to revisit your resolution and do weekly check-ins to see how you’re progressing. You can even have a daily reminder to look at your smallest daily steps. It might seem too intense to check in on your resolution daily, but it’s those tiny steps that will end up building the most!

7. Get Back on That Horse!!

We know that it’s going to take a lot of effort to achieve any goal. We know that change is difficult. We know that there are going to be mistakes that are made, and setbacks that happen. Don’t let these get you down, they’re all a part of the goal-setting (and achieving) process. If you miss a goal by 10 or even 80% it isn’t a failure. If you finish a task later than you wanted to, it’s not a failure. A moment of weakness where you fall back into old patterns isn’t a failure either. Setbacks happen, but it’s how we respond to those setbacks that really make the change. If something doesn’t happen exactly the way you planned it to, don’t give up on it entirely! See what you can learn from it. “If I sit down to watch TV after work I won’t go to the gym… so… I won’t sit down to watch TV right after work. I’ll head to the gym instead” is a great example of learning from a setback. Own your mistakes and move forward!

For the rest of this month we will be exploring the 3 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions and breaking them down into manageable chunks so that you can become the best version of yourself yet!

If you follow along (and keep these 7 tips in mind so you can adjust to what works best for you), we have no doubt that 2020 could be your best year yet!!

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