As a society, we all ring in the New Year with big hopes and dreams and by the end of week 1 we quit. Either our resolutions are too hard, or we slip up on a diet, have unrealistic goals, or we just lack motivation. Here are some tips of how to make this year be the BEST year yet.
The most important thing when making a Resolution is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Think of your everyday life and something you want to change. Not something big, but something that you think you can do better. That’s a good place to start.
So many times we try to change things that are complicated or too hard for us. A simple and REALISTIC goal is what will help you succeed in your resolution. Do you want to lose weight? Well maybe 50 lbs isn’t realistic… but maybe 10 is. So carve out a simple and realistic goal and then set out to make an action plan. This will help you plan and organize how you can achieve this goal. (And once you have achieved this goal, you can move onto the next 10 pounds and so on…)
Taking small steps will help keep your motivation for the long haul. A major life change may seem daunting if it’s all at once. But if you give yourself small tasks that lead up to the major goal this will help it become more attainable. Giving weekly or even daily goals can help break down a large resolution so it is more palatable. Along with small steps is to track them. If we can see our progress throughout the year then we are more likely to keep going. Form a spreadsheet or even a blank piece of paper on your desk where you can reference your progress daily or weekly (depending on the goal).
Positive thinking is a MUST. You need to be your own motivator, so it’s important to cut yourself some slack. So you yelled at your spouse when you vowed to control your temper? So you ate that cookie you swore you wouldn’t touch? You can still attain your resolution. There are 364 more days of the year and every day counts. Give yourself positive reinforcement. Utilize positive affirmations in the mirror and say to yourself “I will do this” or “I believe in myself” every day to keep your motivation and encouragement. Research has shown that positive affirmations can help send your brain positive messages that will in turn create a positive mood.
Ask family and friends to join in. This is the reason why group counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous works so well. When we have others to answer to it helps make us accountable. Accountability helps us succeed. It also makes whatever we are working towards more fun. When we have a friend or family member participating in the activity it can boost our motivation and enjoyment. It can also help bring couples and families together. Quality time doing activities that better ourselves can help improve our personal and romantic relationships. The more satisfied we are with ourselves the more satisfied we will be with our relationships as well.
And the most important of all: Reward yourself. When you are working hard at achieving your goals it’s important to give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve been calm all week? Have that extra cookie! You did all your workouts? Sleep in one morning! You haven’t drank alcohol in a month? Do something fun! All work and no play make no one happy. The reason we have New Year’s Resolutions is to better ourselves. If we aren’t happier than we aren’t really better.
Following these simple steps will help create the change you want to make in your life. Let 2012 be the year that you make it happen. Improve those failing relationships, overcome a fear, lose the weight, and try something new! Let yourself shine in the New Year so you can be the person you want to be.
KC Putterman LMHC, HC