Set the same new year goals every year, and every year it’s a blowout?
Learn just how you are mistakenly setting yourself up to fail, and what easy steps can turn it around this time.
How to Make your New Year Goals a Success
1.Change the charge.
Most new years resolutions are negative and with built-in judgement systems. Lose weight (I’m too fat), quit smoking (I have no willpower), find a better job (I’m complacent).
And who is inspired by dreary sounding things? Precious few. So turn the charge from negative to positive.
Turn the charge of your resolution around by looking for the BENEFIT it would bring to your life if you achieved it, and making that your goal instead.
So lose weight becomes ‘feel healthy and energised’, quit smoking becomes ‘being able to breathe deeply and go running’, and find a better job becomes ‘work in an environment where my talents shine’.
Find the benefit that works for you personally. When you think about your rephrased resolution, it should feel good instead of exhausting.
2. Break it down.
Most new year’s resolutions are also hugely overwhelming because they are too much for us to take on without panic.
The human brain is designed to scan for and avoid danger. And it often sees modern-day stress as danger. In other words, you are designed to avoid things that feel too stressful. The moment you choose a new year’s goal that feels really big, you are writing up your own failure.
So break the proverbial mountain you’ve decided to climb into boulders. For example, losing weight could break down to changing the way you eat, starting to exercise, and getting help for secret overeating.
3. Get a sense of success now, not in six months.
Would we be inspired to bake the perfect chocolate cake if we’d never tasted chocolate? Or want to run a marathon if we never went for a short run and experienced runner’s buzz? Success is no different. But most of us set up our new year goals so that they are so involved we spend months just having a taste of struggle instead of success.
How to start to feel successful ASAP? Start by ‘breaking the boulder into rocks’. Take the more achievable goal you’ve now come up with using the process above, and turn it into smaller and smaller steps.
For example, if your goal is now ‘feeling more energised and good in my body by getting help for my overeating‘, how exact can you get with that? Your ‘rocks’ might be buying self help books, finding an online forum to join, and finding local counsellors who work with eating disorders.
Then not only schedule these ‘rocks’ into your diary (write them in, today) keep breaking things down until you find an action step you can do today, or even right now. One phone call to a local counsellor to ask their rates can leave you with a mini ‘success buzz’ and sense of self care that can carry you forward.
4. Expand the time container.
Timelines are another thing that we all tend to overestimate. So a simple trick is to double your timeline.
If you have decided you will quit smoking by your birthday in a few months, give yourself six months. If you’ve decided to be in a bikini by summer, decide to be in a bikini for a spa day in the winter.
Yes, you might achieve your goal far before you think. But if you stress yourself out with a short timeline, your unconscious mind is far more likely to decide it’s too much and simply sabotage.
Not sure what timeline works? Here’s a simple trick – use mindfulness. Find a quiet private place, practise deep, focussed breathing until you feel settled into your body. Then think of the new timeline you have in mind. Do you feel tension in your body? A clenching in your jaw or stomach? Try adding a few months. Keep going until you reach a timeline that feels good.
[Never tried mindfulness? You are in luck, we offer a free, easy-to-read and follow Guide to Mindfulness.]
5. Seek support.
Have you set the same new year goals for several years now? Then the truth might be not that you can’t achieve it, but that you need help to get there.
Often, if we just can’t seem to move forward in life, it’s down to entrenched patterns of thinking and behaviour that started in childhood. Working with a good therapist or life coach can help you finally see what is really holding you back, what you really want instead of what you tell yourself you want, and how you can raise your confidence and take practical steps forward at last.
Harley Therapy now connects you with experienced counsellors and psychotherapists right across the UK, and also anywhere in the world via Skype.
Do you have a question about new year goals? Or a tip we’ve missed? Use the public comment box below to share with other readers.