Monday, December 31, 2012

Making New Year's Resolutions That Stick #resolutions

With the New Year upon us, most people like to make resolutions.  But just a few weeks into the new year, people find they are not sticking with their resolutions.  The aftermath is feelings or guilt, frustration or indifference. How is it that we can be so excited for the New Year and to turn a new leaf over, only for this excitement to quickly fade?

I think part of the problem is that people make grandiose resolutions, such as, “I am going to lose 50 pounds,” or “I am going to organize my entire house,” or “I am going to be a better parent.”  These all sound like great resolutions, but there is a huge problem with them.  They are very difficult to achieve, due either to the enormity of the goal or the vagueness of the goal.  Setting enormous goals, such as losing 50 pounds or organizing the entire house, just sets you up for failure.  “Being a better parent” is too vague.  How does one achieve that?  So, a few weeks or months down the road after making these resolutions, you look back and see you have probably made little, if any, progress  So, how can you set more realistic resolutions?

First, take a spin on things and make your goals more positive.  Instead of saying you are going to lose x number of pounds, why not focus on eating healthier?  Setting a more positive goal makes it easier to achieve.  It is a lot easier on a day to day basis to strive to eat healthier than to lose 50 pounds.  Maybe start with adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.  Eating, say, a piece of fruit a day, isn't that difficult and is attainable.  Or eating smaller portion sizes.  That is something easy enough to reach.  And the beauty of it is once you start adding healthier foods, there is less room for the unhealthy.  By eating smaller portion sizes, you decrease your calorie intake.  And with both, you will lose weight.

Another tip is to set smaller goals to achieve your ultimate goal.  Instead of trying to organize the entire house, why not start with organizing one room?  Or better yet, one drawer.  If the daily mail and bills is a clutter problem, why not set up a goal to spend 15 minutes a couple times a week to clear it up?  If your house needs reorganizing, why not start with one area?  Or even one area a week?  My house is a mess after years of homeschooling.  There is only so much a homeschooling parent can do, and sorting and tossing was one I left on the back burner.  If I look around the house at the task of all the closets, storage rooms, drawers, etc. that I need to sort out and organize, I feel overwhelmed, don't know where to start and don't do anything.  Instead, I have set smaller goals, starting with a drawer at a time.  

Lastly, don’t be vague in your resolutions.  Being a better parent could mean anything and without any specifics, you may not see what you are actually doing to reach that goal.  Add specific behaviors to your goal.  Examples, “I will have family game night two times a month,”  “I will say one positive thing to my child daily,”  or “I will read a book and find more creative solutions to parenting and work to implement 2 of them.”  By having this specific, well-defined goal, you will be more focused on what you need to do to achieve your goal.

It might also be good to write down your resolutions, steps to take to achieve them and then you can write down the date that you completed.  Seeing your progress in writing can help you to complete your goals and inspire you to set new ones!

Historically, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I strive to improve myself little by little all year.  I set goals for myself throughout the year and constantly strive to be a better person.  

Happy New Year!  I’d love to hear what your goals for the New Year are.


Hobbies on a Budget said...

I love the reminder that just doing one specific thing at a time is the way to be successful. I've been drinking water with lemon for several months, now I'm ready to take the next step toward being healthy - remembering to eat lunch! That's my next goal.

Cindy said...

I agree that the reason many resolutions fail is lack of specifics and a timeline. Great tips!

Maureen Timerman said...

Most of mine I rarely make any. This time I'm hoping for a more positive attitude...not to be judgemental!

Amy said...

I like the small goal setting idea. Accomplishing one thing at a time instead of a vague resolution. I have made a list of things I want to be focused on doing this year. Reading with my kids daily, spending more time in prayer (x) amount of minutes a day to start with a specific goal, and posting at least 2 blog posts a week consistently. Also eating healthier and walking several times a week. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Sharon Martin said...

Couldn't agree more, every year I make a New Years resolution and never stick to it or completely forget about it in a few weeks. This year I am hoping will be different as I have set myself a real personal goal that means a lot to me but your right taking it step by step rather than big leaps is what you need to do.

V. said...

I completely agree. I remember the "smart" goals from classes and being specific and measurable are really important. You need to know how to know you've completed your goal and vague goals don't let you know when you're done :)

BetsyH2os said...

Thanks for the practical reminders for 'real' new years resolutions!

Marsha Cooper said...

I'm going to organize my entire house happens to be one of my goals for the year! LOL
Not all at once by all means. So far so good on putting at least a few things that are "out of place" into their place each day, but we are only 6 days in.

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