Have you already failed to keep your New Year’s resolutions? Do you wonder why you always fail when it comes to self-improvement? Some people believe resolutions are silly because nobody seems to stick to them. What can you do to be successful next time you make a resolution?
Why do we make resolutions?
Did you ever avoid stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk when you were walking down the street as a kid? I sure did. According to psychologists, this strange habit has a scientific explanation. It’s about our instinctive need to have a pattern and frame of experience in our lives. It’s about our need to feel in control, that our actions have a definite beginning and end.
Even the messiest person desires to get his or her life together. But it can be frustrating figuring out how to get started. We tend to frame our existence like those cracks in the sidewalk. We look for convenient dates like New Year’s or anniversaries to begin new chapters in our life, using these occasions to gain motivation and set goals. Why not set a goal that will improve your life?
1. Set achievable goals and track your progress
One of the main reasons we fail to stick to our resolutions is the haste in which we set our goals. Slow down and take time to think carefully about what you want to achieve. This will help you avoid setting goals that are too difficult or vague.
Don’t be overly ambitious and try to achieve too many things at once. Start small. Transform your life step by step by making resolutions that focus on achievable goals. Make sure you can easily track your progress. Knowing where you are is the first step to getting where you want to be. If you set goals that are too big, you might fail because you might not know where to get started.
Being overwhelmed isn’t going to help you achieve your goals. Try turning off your computer and unplugging for a while. Focus.
2. Make a plan
When we don’t see results from our hard work, we lose motivation. Make a plan and check your progress from time to time. Making a plan shows intention and commitment. Even if it’s just making yourself aware of your intentions, you’ll treat your plans more seriously and make your goals concrete. Once it’s on paper (online or wherever) it becomes something you can work toward, instead of just something you think about.
3. Use a small step strategy
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Hmm, that’s what they say, but you know that things don’t always work out like that. To achieve something you’ve been wanting for a long time, you have to come up with a strategy. Big goals are scary and can seem daunting, if you don’t divide them into smaller steps.
If you want to get in control of your finances, try saving 50 dollars each month from your birthday onward and placing it in a jar. It’s an achievable goal and is easily measurable. At the end of the month you’ll either have extra money saved in the jar or not. You might even ask someone close to you to hold onto your money to make sure you’re successful.
If you want to lose weight, try doing 5 minutes of exercise, and choosing a healthy snack instead of your usual high-calorie option. Try eating yogurt instead of a piece of chocolate cake for dessert. It’s better than setting a huge goal like losing 30 pounds in the next year. Divide your big goal into concrete actions and change your life step by step .
If you plan to increase your knowledge but have a busy schedule, instead of buying a bunch of books that you won’t read and getting stressed out, try sticking to one and reading 5 pages a day.
4. Get your friends involved
If you tell the people around you that you have set a goal, the added social pressure will make it harder for you to give up. You don’t want to be someone that doesn’t do what they say, right?
Sharing your goals with people that are close to you will provide you with additional support, and help propel you to success.
5. Visualize your success
Imagine that you have achieved your goal of saving more money. Imagine that extra cash waiting on you. Do you feel the boost of self-confidence it’s giving you?
Imagine losing weight and fitting into that dress you’ve always wanted to but felt too fat to wear before. Imagine wearing something and not worrying about your belly showing. Visualize guys checking you out. What do you feel like? Make it so detailed and realistic that you won’t even think about having that piece of cake!
6. Don’t be too strict to yourself
Failing isn’t always failure. Of course things are never as simple as we plan. Things happen and we fail, making us feel insecure. Don’t give up or be too hard on yourself. We are only human, and can’t achieve our goals all of the time. Just keep trying and eventually you will succeed.
Marzena Bielecka is a writer who is passionate about psychology. She has visited 40 countries and has lived in 4 of them, currently is located in Berlin. She loves to observe people and truly believes that it’s possible to learn a lesson from every experience and encounter in life. She shares her thoughts on Get-A-Wingman.com.