How are those resolutions holding up? If you’re doing well, then congratulations, you can look away now. Nothing to see here. 😉
If you’re struggling, or have given up completely, then keep reading!
Let’s look at WHY you’re having trouble. Is it because you didn’t set SMART goals? Maybe you weren’t specific enough about what you wanted, or there was no way for you to measure your level of success. How can you lose weight, for example, if you don’t know what your starting weight is, and what your goal weight is?
Maybe your resolution wasn’t achievable or realistic. For me, I find it hard to hit goals that require a lot of time investment, or a strict schedule. I have an 8-month-old daughter, so promising myself I’ll work out for half an hour every day or that I’ll write a blog post every day just isn’t realistic. BUT I can promise myself that I’ll be more active around the house, and that I’ll write at least one blog post a week. Those are things that are much more do-able and flexible, while still pushing me to get things done.
Maybe you didn’t set a timetable or time limit for yourself. When do you want to have achieved your goal? Or how often do you want to do something?
Maybe you set too stringent a time limit.
Maybe you gave up too soon.
Here are some helpful hints and tricks to get you back on track:
1. As mentioned above, set SMART goals.
Aiming to get fit isn’t SMART, but aiming to take up one new sport and committing to attending training at least once a week certainly is.
2. Be flexible.
Life has a tendency to throw curveballs every now and again. By all means promise yourself a workout every morning, but also recognise that, sometimes, that workout might have to wait until later in the day. Or later in the week.
This isn’t an excuse to procrastinate, but rather a reminder to roll with the punches.
3. Be patient.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are good habits. Your house is unlikely to be immaculate after one day of cleaning (but I take my hat off to you if it is). Slow and steady wins the race.
4. Start small.
By all means, dream big. But don’t expect to get there in one big bound. You’re not going to be perfectly organized overnight. Start by buying a calendar or planner and filling in important dates and appointments.
Want to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day? Start by just drinking one glass a day until you get used to it. (If this really is one of your goals, you’ll want to read this.)
Leo Babauta talks about it in this article on habits, which is well worth a read (as is the whole site).
5. Do what you WANT to do, not what you think you SHOULD do.
Recently, I saw a link online advertising the hundred books I “had” to read in 2014. No thank you. I’ll read the type of books I want to read, and I’ll be reading them at my own pace for pleasure, not racing to get through chapters just to tick off two “must reads” a week.
(Believe me, I learned this the hard way after resolving to read “War & Peace” in 2012. I did it because it’s “a classic” and therefore I felt obliged to read it – like I’d somehow be considered stupid if I didn’t. I read it, but I hated pretty much every second of it. Lesson learned.)
If you feel like you’ve resolved to do something that, on reflection, you really don’t want to do, just drop it. Re-examine your resolutions and see if there’s a “should” in there anywhere. Either turn it into a “want” or delete it.
6. Go easy on yourself.
One fall is not failure. If you gave up every time something was hard, or every time you hit an obstacle, you’d never succeed at anything. If artists gave up with every slip of the paintbrush, we wouldn’t have nearly as many masterpieces. If authors gave up when they received a rejection letter, we wouldn’t have nearly as many great, bestselling novels. If babies gave up as soon as they fell over, none of us would be walking!
(Read this post if you still need convincing.)
Remember, no matter how little you think you’ve achieved, you’re still farther along than when you started. When I did Jillian Michaels’ exercise regime ’30 Day Shred’, the only thing that got me through it was not wanting to have to start all over again. I did it every day for 30 days, because there was no way in hell I was going to go back and re-do any of them. 😉
You’re one day closer than you were yesterday. And tomorrow you’ll be one day closer again.
Do you really want to have to pick up and start all over again, or are you going to pull up your socks and make it a little bit further?
Runners don’t go back to the starting line every time they feel out of breath, trip up, or get cramp. They take a breather, and then keep on going.
Are you going to fall and use it as an excuse to fail, or are you going to get back up and finish anyway?