7 Steps to Ensure Success with Your New Year’s Resolutions
Have you made some New Year’s resolutions? Do you get discouraged even thinking about it because it hasn’t worked very well in the past? Read on for suggestions, some that may be new to you, that will get you started on the right foot.
- Be specific and positive
- Bite-size pieces
- Write it down
- Clear mental and emotional barriers
- Energize it
- Enlist support
- One day at a time
Which goal do you think is going to be more effective: Lose weight or Reach my goal weight of 125 lbs. by April 1st? It?s hard to aim at a moving target.
Or maybe we could see “lose weight” as a huge target that’s too easy to hit. Just losing one pound would fit that goal, wouldn’t it? But is that what you really want?
Also, it is very important to frame your goals in the positive. One of my mantras is “you get what you focus on.” For example, I worked with a gymnast who was having trouble staying on the beam during competitions. This was a big deal because each fall meant a huge point deduction on her score. She told me that she said, “don’t fall, don’t fall” to herself throughout her beam routine. Well, what was she focusing on? Falling! I suggested that she change it to “stay on, stay on.” See below (number 4) to see the rest of her story.
Select goals that are believable. While it may be true that anything is possible, it’s also true that huge goals can be demoralizing.
Go ahead and set some big, long-term goals, but be sure to break it down into smaller, short-term goals that feel achievable. On the other hand, set goals that make you stretch and grow a little.
There is amazing power in writing down goals. Written goals solidify our commitment. When we write something we tend to change our behavior to conform to what we wrote, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini, a research psychologist specializing in compliance behavior.
Written goals serve as a solid reminder and a way to review our progress. It’s also a physical act that signifies that we are already starting toward that goal.
This is often the hardest part of succeeding with resolutions.
Willpower is hard work and often is not enough to get us where we want to go. New energy psychology techniques such as EFT, however, can be tremendously effective at clearing the emotional blocks to success.
Often there are underlying fears that get in the way of success. For example, someone trying to lose weight may find that they have a fear of being deprived or feel that it is not safe (on an unconscious level) to be thin.
Once you clear those unconscious drivers it can be surprisingly easy to move forward with your goals. Oh, and the gymnast I mentioned above–we also did a little EFT work on her beliefs about being able to stay on the beam. Her ability to stay on the beam improved dramatically and maintained throughout the remainder of the season. She was thrilled!
Once you’ve made specific, believable goals and cleared the emotional barriers to achieving those goals, it’s time to energize your goals. Beyond just writing it down, you can also create a vision board or other visual tool to record your goal.
A vision board can be just a collage of pictures, words, diagrams, etc. that describe what your accomplished goal looks like. The idea here is to incorporate all of your senses as much as possible to experience what it feels like to have succeeded in your goal.
The more you can experience the feeling of already reaching your goal, the more likely you are to get there. If you hear a little voice in your head saying things like, “you’re not smart enough to do this” or “you don’t deserve this” then it’s time to go back to number 4 on this list and clear those limiting beliefs.
Once you feel clear, do a simple ritual to signify your new commitment. Meditating on and declaring your goals can be a great start, especially if you add a blessing of gratitude for the help you will receive in succeeding (more positive thinking).
Once you’ve solidified your goals, it’s important to surround yourself with those who will support you in achieving your goals.
Find a friend, family member or coworker who is willing to encourage you and cheer you on when you get discouraged. It can be helpful to ask someone to hold you accountable for steps along the way. You may wish to consult with a personal coach or join a support group.
Reviewing your goals on a regular basis is important.
First, it reminds you of where you are headed. Look at your vision board to remind you of how great it will feel when you arrive at your goal. Remember, what you focus on is what you get.
Second, sometimes we need to modify our goals. It’s okay to change course. Goals are a tool for moving forward. Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Perfection is not the point; progress is.
Make short-term and long-term goals and then take it one day at a time.
Be gentle with yourself and remember to acknowledge and honor every success no matter how big or small. I wish you the best of luck and success in achieving all of your goals for the New Year!