How you should scrap resolutions and focus on long-term goals
by Teresa Xuereb
The New Year is upon us, and together with the majority of Earth's population, the thought which is paralysing our mind is how we can become better people and embrace a fresh start. We've all tried coming up with New Year resolutions in the past, but did they actually work out? Most probably not. You welcome the new year with much fervour, but after a couple of days the fire starts dying down, and you surrender to contenting with your present self and lounging in your comfort zones.
This year will be different! That's what we all say, don't we? Want 2020 to be really different? Read on to find out how you should focus on long-term goals rather than on fleeting resolutions this year!
1. Assess the past year
This is the perfect time to evaluate all that transpired in the past year and take account of your life. Mull over:
- Past failures and achievements
- Old habits you've managed to overcome and new habits you've adopted
- Your fears
- What you started but did not complete
- Comfort zones
- What motivates you
- How you want to see yourself and how you want others to see you in the coming year
- What a good day consists of
2. Tackle bad habits
Resolutions are generally unsuccessful simply because it's difficult to overcome old habits. We've all harboured habits which affect our productivity and behaviour. Whether it's spending too much time on social media, waking up late, or procrastinating, bad customs will obstruct your path towards success and will hinder you from accomplishing your goals.
3. Develop specific and realistic goals
The secret to success is establishing clear-cut goals which are possible to achieve. Measurable goals will improve your performance and boost your motivation levels, whereas vague resolutions are not tangible enough to motivate you. Do take up challenging goals which will get you out of your comfort zone, but don't set your sights on a nearly-impossible goal or you're definitely doomed for failure. So create a smart plan for both your personal and professional growth and embrace perseverance!
Let's take some common resolutions as an example:
- Losing Weight: How much weight do you want to lose? How? By exercising or eating healthier? Are you going to tackle this alone or together with a fitness trainer or a nutritionist? Sort out all these queries first!
- Working out: How? By attending fitness classes? Yoga? Or do you prefer teaming up with a local sports club? Where? Do you prefer going somewhere next to your place of work or a club which your friends visit as well?
- Saving money: How much per month? How? What expenses are you willing to cut? A simple self-evaluation will make you aware of all the superfluous stuff you bought last year, helping you save more money which you'd have otherwise squandered.
4. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many goals
Better focus on one or two goals and succeed, rather than embark on multiple goals and fail. This way you can give your maximum effort to the chosen goals.
5. Break your aspirations down into short-term goals
Changing your behaviour and/or routine is no easy feat but if you tackle the change right, the probability of success is much higher. By breaking down your long-term goal into short-term goals, you'll have more control over your new ventures. You'll be able to reflect on your progress (even if it's only baby steps), what is getting in your way, and what is inspiring you. Planning out daily and weekly tasks which are truly achievable prove to be less intimidating, and you'll also feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day and week, reducing your chances of backing out.
Focus on the journey, rather than just the destination.
6. Experiment with different approaches
So you want to start running every day? Experiment with different times and different locations, go alone and with friends. Consequently, you can set a more concrete goal based on your own personal preferences and on trial and error.
Do you want to lose weight? Compare the progress you make when you eat healthier and exercise, and assess your best-performing activities.
7. Frame your resolutions in a positive way
Perspective is key! Your resolutions should focus on what you will do, and not what you will refrain from doing! Yes, this does have a positive psychological influence.
8. Adjust your goals (if need be)
Don't be rigid with your goals. New opportunities may arise, priorities change and life offers the unexpected: a lot can change throughout the years. What worked for the past two years may not be an option anymore, so you must be willing to reshuffle your plans.
How do you stay on track?
1. Always remember why
Why do you want this change? What or who inspired you in the first place? Your inspiration levels won't always be sky-high, so keeping in mind the why will help you remain on track.
2. Review your progress
Be it by keeping a journal or attaching post-it notes on your mirror, reviewing your progress will help you manage and adjust your goals more effectively.
3. Don't work alone
Share your goals with friends or like-minded people. They can encourage you, congratulate you on your achievements and give you that extra push you may need to move forward. Now's a good time to join a useful Facebook group.
4. Celebrate your milestones
Set daily and weekly milestones and make sure you reward yourself and celebrate your achievements along the way. This will definitely boost your efforts for the next milestone.
5. Integrate your goals in your routine
Until the new activities and actions you adopt become second nature, jot them down in your calendar and start considering them as part of your everyday routine.
6. Adapt your environment
Want to eat healthier? Refrain from jam-packing your kitchen with fatty and sugary food. Want to spend less? A couple of unsubscriptions can do the trick.
Lastly, we all need to keep in mind that new goals can be set every day. It isn't the end of the world if you're still nibbling on Christmas cakes in January or if you didn't save as much as you expected after the first month. Habits take a long time to become an automated part of our lives, but you can take all the time you need to adjust to your new lifestyles. It's a marathon, not a sprint. After all, achieving the best version of yourself is worth working for.
Check out the local gyms to get started today!
Keep on discovering local with Yellow in 2020!