By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
With a new year at hand, we have a fresh slate ahead of us to start “anew” but at nearly two weeks in, some of us may feel like we are already struggling to stick with our resolutions. At first those new years resolutions can seem pretty straight forward. Am I right? You had a few days off around the holiday and you were ready and set to go, but uh-oh, life crept back in and you went back to your “normal” busy schedule, of long hours and lots to do.
So now what? It’s not time to give up. We tend to start slipping early on in the year because the goals we set for ourselves are often unrealistic. Think of it this way: if I asked you to set some goals you wanted to achieve for the new week (any week of the year, not necessarily the new year), you may not have chosen to make such lofty goals. There’s a lot of pressure around new years, so try not to be hard on yourself for setting up for challenge rather than success.
So, instead of falling off altogether, let’s re-evaluate and reassess those goals you made just a few weeks ago, so that you can REALLY be successful in the new year (and every day!).
What’s Willpower Anyway?
But first, I want you to let go of the idea that will power will help you to reach your goals, because it’s so much more complicated than that. We have to set ourselves up to win, and to achieve our goals. So to help you do so here’s a few of my favorite steps that I always work on closely with both clients and Rebooters to help them create and then reassess goals they set.
5 steps to reorganizing and re-evaluating new years goals to reach success:
Step 1: Write down the goals you set for yourself – along with your original execution plan to make them happen. I want you to start by seeing it all in front of you so that you can clearly determine whether these goals may be lofty or whether they’re realistic. Visualize it and see it all in front of you.
Step 2: Cross-off the goals that may be unrealistic or that you just don’t feel like YOU want (remember you have to want to achieve what you’re setting out for). Just get rid of them. If your hearts not 100% in it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Step 3: With the remaining goals, go through the details, what did you promise yourself? Did you promise that you’d be at the gym daily after January 1st even though you haven’t worked out in years? In this case, I would recommend to start slowly and promise yourself 1-2 days weekly because once you achieve this seemingly easier goal you’ll be revved up to keep working hard to progress the goal and achieve the others.
Step 4: Set a timeline for checking in with yourself on your goals. Maybe this is a weekly or daily check-in- but I wouldn’t go too much longer than this unless the nature of your goal is a longer-term one (like for example if you’re trying to achieve something over a longer period like a financial goal, perhaps the check-in would be monthly here). For most personal goals, like healthy eating, going to the gym, being kinder to yourself, etc., these require daily mindfulness and consciousness. A good way to stay on top of the checking in process can be to keep a journal for yourself that you can record either daily or weekly your progress. The bottom line is that for any goal to be achieved we have to bring consciousness into it, and stay honest with of course the goal, but most importantly ourselves through the process.
Step 5: Be kind to yourself through the process, as truly this is the best way to achieve success. It’s no secret that those who are kind to themselves, forgiving of themselves for things they may have slightly fallen off track with, may actually have an easier time achieving success because they are more likely to move forward from set backs a little more quickly. Remember that it’s never going to go exactly as planned, but if you can let go of what went wrong, learn from it and use what you learned to become better and more efficient at that thing (whatever it is), it’s always a huge benefit to the overall goal.
All in all, appreciate yourself for what you’re capable and try to set goals that you can achieve, it really does lend itself to success!