It might be 1 January 2018 but the person you were last year is the same as the person you are today. So last night when you made all of those New Year’s resolutions: go travelling, lose weight, get fit, change your job, earn more money, write a book …. there was a reason you wanted to achieve those resolutions but there was also a reason why you had not yet managed to.
It does not take the start of a new year for you to achieve your goals but with any challenge there comes change. These are the three main reasons why people do not stick with their New Year resolutions and some helpful solutions for avoiding the traps we all fall into.
- You focus on the destination and not the journey. It is very easy to set yourself a timeframe to achieve your goal as a form of encouragement, but ultimately a deadline is demotivating. For example if your resolution is to lose weight then the goal becomes all about the target weight and the deadline you have set - I must lose 5kgs by the end of January. When you don’t achieve that target you give up and feel like a failure. Rather than focus on the end goal, focus on the process needed to achieving your goals. For example, the main ways to lose weight is to eat more healthily and to exercise more - the weight loss will follow without it becoming the focus. By changing your journey you will ultimately reach your destination but as a result of the process you have followed, you will have set up the necessary life habits needed for remaining there.
- You don’t give time to your goal. Any new goal requires time and effort and that means taking time away from something else. If your goal this year is to get fit then this will take time. Look at your daily life and realistically carve out time each day to achieve your goal. You might only be able to commit 10 minutes a day to your goal some days but regardless of how much time you have, mark the time in your diary or planner so that your goal has the attention it needs. By scheduling the time you are giving yourself the permission to pursue your goal and the priority it needs to be achieved.
- You don’t monitor your progress. It is easy to start a journey but often we become disheartened if the journey seems longer than we thought. Alternatively we lose interest and our goal begins to seem less important as day-to-day life demands our attention. However if you monitor your progress then you can see how far you have travelled and you can track your achievements. By actively writing it down, you maintain your interest in your goal and this ensures you will stay on track. It also means that if you become distracted or wander off course you can immediately notice and get yourself back on course. Seeing your progress written down on paper in black and white is a great way to stay motivated.
Happy New Year!