Goal setting,  Happiness

5 Things to Know About Making Successful Resolutions

1. They aren’t just for New Years. Or new weeks. Or new months.

New year resolution time has come and gone. Statistically, most people who set one have already failed to uphold theirs. That doesn’t mean you need to stop. There’s no real reason you have to only have resolutions for the new year.

There’s a benefit to seizing the mood of change when it strikes you. If you’re in the mood to update your life or learn a new skill or otherwise develop a positive change, you’re at that very moment in the best mindset to begin successfully.

2. A strong start needs a strong middle to have a strong finish.

It’s the middle of February, and you suddenly think, “I want to read more this year.” Following my advice above, you realize you can read for a couple of hours that evening rather than watching a TV show you aren’t super engaged in anyway.

But then the next week comes.

Have a plan for the days you don’t really want to finish your resolution. The days when it’s too cold to go to the gym and your partner wants to catch up on a TV show. Remember why you wanted to achieve your goal, and remember why you made that resolution.

If it’s reading, remember that you truly do enjoy that time. If it’s working out, think of how strong and successful you feel after the work out. If it’s eating well, remember how vibrant your skin is when you’re avoiding sugar.

3. There is no failure, only the option for success.

Too often, people fail the first time and think that’s it. They should throw out the whole resolution.

This year, I wanted to post 125 blogs. With 52 weeks in a year, posting twice a week would get me to 104 blogs. Then, if I were to successfully complete daily blogging in October, that would add another ~21 blogs to the total.

Well, I didn’t give myself a lot of cushion. And I have already missed about 5 or so posts. I can choose to try to make up those posts with a few weeks that have 3 posts in them. Or I can choose to keep going toward my goal without creating extra pressure. The most important thing is that I choose to keep going toward my goal even though I’ve technically failed at the way I was supposed to achieve it.

If you are trying to read more and spend a whole month without reading, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you have another opportunity to succeed. If you look at resolutions as an all-or-nothing attempt, you’ll find yourself disappointed. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

4. Pick a goal you actually want to keep.

This sounds so obvious. After all, why would you make a resolution for something you don’t really want?

Turns out people often make resolutions for things they “should” do. Or maybe they really do want to reach their goal, but the resolution they set to get there is the way they think they “should” approach it.

Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary.

When I made the resolution last year to get a tracking badge on Lose It, I was making that goal because I like collecting achievements and because people told me that tracking CICO was the only way to have a healthy lifestyle. Yet, instead I did a Whole30, and I learned far more about my relationship with food and my general healthy and unhealthy behaviors than I could’ve by just tracking everything I ate.

If you are having problems achieving your resolutions, make sure you actually want to achieve those goals in that way.

5. Your resolution isn’t something you do before you can be happy. Be happy now.

Never make a goal thinking that you’ll be happy once you have that goal. Don’t make financial goals and force yourself to avoid anything enjoyable that could involve money. There’s a difference between frugal and cheap. If you avoid all your friends so you can stay home and earn more money for your future financial success, you will find that when you finally feel secure, you might not have many friends left around. (Obviously this is within reason. Don’t spend money you don’t have either!)

Another frequent factor here is weight loss. People want to lose weight because they think they should. Because they think they’d be happier or more successful if they lost weight. It’s easier said than done to find happiness in your current form. But, especially with something like weight loss, any goal you start with self-loathing or punishment, thinking you’ll be happier once you achieve a certain form, is destined to fail. Instead, you’ll train your mind to look for happiness elsewhere instead of finding joy around your present state. Then, even if you achieve your goal, you’ll look around and realize it wasn’t a magical panacea to make yourself happy.

Have you learned any tips or tricks about making successful resolutions?

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