At the start of the year, we are full of motivation to become better versions of ourselves. New year – New Me. Lets fast forward a few days and most of those sincere, steadfast resolutions are long forgotten. Why is it so difficult to stick to resolutions for change?
Deciding What Needs to be Resolved
One of the first problems we encounter is setting generic goals. Lose weight, save money. There is nothing wrong with such goals, but if we are not considering the bigger picture of who we are and why we want to achieve these things, our motivation quickly dissipates. Instead of setting spur of the moment goals, take some time to consider your long-term plan, your deeper purpose and how these goals will help you achieve that. Break your goals down into categories and honestly consider where you are in your life and where you want to go.
How Resolutions Make us Fear Failure
‘New year – New Me’ often sets the premise that there is something wrong with us. That we are not
good enough and so need to make major changes to be enough. This creates a negative perception of who we are, which then actually starts the year off on a ‘less than’ mindset.
By basing your goals on not being enough, you may find yourself setting huge, unrealistic goals. This sets you up for failure. No one can create massive change overnight. In the back of our minds we know we can’t lose 25 kgs by February and so we give up quickly, activating the negative mindset of failure.
What Should I do to Create Resolutions that Stick?
Firstly, lets start by changing the mindset in which you create your goals. Reflect on your last year and consider not only the things that went wrong, but what went right.
What did you learn?
What did you realise?
What did you accomplish?
The focus should be on your growth and the lessons that have come through your experiences. This is what should guide your journey for 2019. Instead of setting the same resolution as last year, consider why that resolution didn’t stick. Understand the lesson behind it and use this as a guide to create more purposeful and tailored goals.
Goals should also be created within an attitude of acceptance. Acceptance of who you are, your strengths and limitations, acceptance of your context and the people in your life. Acceptance does not mean defeat. Rather it helps to create an understanding of who we are and use our strengths to combat our limitations. To do this you cannot compare yourselves to others or use resolutions that others have created. Your resolutions need to be unique to who you are.
From a mindset of growth and acceptance, reflect on the different aspects of your life and consider your aspirations, hopes, needs, lessons and limitations in the various categories and how they may interconnect.
Some categories include:
Self-Care (How can I look after myself better, love myself)
Are your Goals Realistic and Specific?
Lastly, when considering your resolutions, attempt to make them specific, realistic, purposeful, meaningful, significant and time sensitive. Set short term, medium term and long term goals. These will feed into one another and into your deeper life purpose.
Goal needs to be specific and significant. Define your goal so that you have a clear understanding of where it will take you. “ I want to lose weight,” is not a specific goal. It gives a vague intention about what you want to achieve, but it doesn’t give any guidelines on how to get there. Rather create a specific goal that is positive and balanced.
For example, “ I want to feel better about myself (intention) and I have realised that when I take care of myself it makes me feel happy and relaxed (purpose). To do this I am going to focus on healthy eating (category). This is not a diet but rather I am going to half my portions sizes, include 1 extra fruit in the morning, make sure I snack twice a day between meals and drink 2 extra glasses of water (specific).”
Specific goals may create fear – as they are holding us to a concrete expectation. However, remember that goals are guidelines, they help us create direction. If we realize that a goal we have set is not working, rather than give up, readjust. Consider why the goal you set isn’t working and make relevant alterations and try again. By continually assessing the goal and reflecting on yourself with the goal, you are moulding it into a lifestyle change.
On That Note …
At the end of the day, change isn’t easy. To create resolutions that stick they need to hold a deeper meaning and purpose, they need to be reconsidered often and they need to come from a mindset of growth. Feeling stuck is normal, and at times we may need guidance to become unstuck.
If you are trying to create resolutions but feel like giving up, let 2019 be the year you hold on. Have you considered seeing a psychologist for growth sessions? Having an outside perspective can be very helpful in becoming unstuck and breaking through the barriers that are holding you back. If you are still hesitant about therapy, why not try our self-development program. This program will guide you in reaching your goals and creating a balanced and integrated life.
Wishing you all the best in 2019
Meaningful Minds Psychologist