Working on New Years Resolutions: 4 Tips for Success

Are you a person who loves New Years Resolutions? Do you have a list of goals you want to accomplish in 2020? 

New Years Resolutions are amazing! What better time to sit down and reflect on things you want to accomplish in the new year. Plus this year… it’s a new DECADE! We want to start off on the right foot. Here are a couple of tips that you can use (and I can help you with) to try to increase your chance of success in the new decade. 

1. Make your goals “SMART”. 

This is a method used a LOT in business circles. You want to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/ Relevant, Time-based.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that your goal for the New Years is to drink more water. It is a good goal. I myself am absolutely terrible at drinking water during the day. You start off the new year great. You bring your water bottle with you. Then one day you forget it and barely drink any water. Then it happens again. Especially being back at work after the holidays. It’s busy and you can’t just be going to the bathroom all the time. One month passes and you’re barely drinking more water than you were in 2019. What happened? 

When your goal is something vague like drink more water… how do you know when you have achieved it? Is it 6 glasses of water or 2? When can you consider yourself successful and give yourself a pat on the back? 

Now let’s take the “drink more water” goal and make it “SMART”.

I’m going to drink 4 glasses of water (1 litre) every day before dinner time. This goal is more specific. You are going to drink a litre versus drinking more. It is more measurable. You know when you have reached your goal each day. It is attainable. I know that the recommended amount is 8 cups or 2 litres. But if you are drinking literally zero water, going from no water to 2 litres.

You can always change your goals. If you find it pretty easy to hit a litre each day then in 6 weeks you can increase to 6 cups. This is what makes it relevant or realistic. Time-based usually means having a time line. For some goals, you are going to want to keep them up for life. Great! For others it might be to try to get a project that you have been procrastinating on done in the next 8 weeks. You are setting a deadline. 

2. Try not to make too many big changes too quickly. 

It can be easy January 1 to want to change a million different things. You are going to go to the gym 5x/week, drink 2 more litres of water per day, you are going to only eat kale. You get what I mean. Change takes effort. Sometimes a lot of effort. If you are spreading yourself too thin and trying to change too many things, you might just give up and say forget it. 

I like to recommend that my client take on lifestyle changes in a step wise pattern. Let’s start with getting to the gym TWICE per week for the month of January. Then in February we can bump it up to three to four times. Feeling pretty good about your gym routine? Let’s increase the amount of vegetables in your diet in March by adding kale to your smoothie in the morning. You see where I’m going with this? Prioritize your goals. Which one do you think is the most important to tackle first? Tackle that one. Then build from there. 

3. Mindset can be everything. Know that change takes time and it isn’t linear 

I love the New Year because people’s mindset (including my own) shifts to all of the great possible changes you can make. Over time, that mindset can shift. Stress, lack of sleeps, issues at work etc can all begin to accumulate. This can great a mindset shift. When the initial motivation wears off (and I’m sorry to tell you that it will … more on this in my next point) then your mindset takes over. If your goal is to lose 50 lbs, it takes time! Be gentle with yourself. Know that any change worth making takes effort. Effort accumulates over time. There will be hiccups and bumps along the road. That is to be expected. But keep going. You’ll be happy you did. 

4. Remember that motivation is a finite resource. 

The spark to make a change is often motivation. Something clicks and you are ready to start that new exercise program or seek help for an injury. Over time motivation fades. I wish that it didn’t if I’m being honest. But it does. That is okay. The goal though with our New Years Resolutions is that once our motivation fades, our habits start to kick in. We have gotten into the habit of grabbing our water bottle or making that healthy smoothie in the morning. We have gotten used to getting up for 6:30 AM class and don’t even think about it anymore. These habits help us to repeat our new efforts once motivation has weaned.

Motivation is a finite resource. We don’t have endless amounts of it. That means that sometimes we won’t be motivated to make the healthy choice or go to the gym. That is when grit comes in. It is when we have to go anyway. There are times I bet you don’t want to go to work right? You go anyway. Grit is a skill we can work on. A trait that we can make stronger. With grit and tenacity, you can make those New Years Resolutions happen. 

And if you need a little bit of help, just let me know. That is what our team is here for 🙂 

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Christina Prevett