HAPPY NEW YEAR! I realize that I am late in writing this blog, naturally a great way to start the New Year, but thankfully I have 355 days to correct that behavior, which brings me to the matter that plagues all of us every single year, keeping our New Year Resolutions.
So why do we fail at them? I pondered this question over the holidays as I gorged on alcohol, dessert, fried food, and everything else that is just plain bad for you, on why I was unable to stay on a healthy track, or get other tasks done such as organizing my home or tracking my expenses. And I think it’s because we take on too many resolutions at one time. It’s hard enough not to go for seconds or eat chocolate, but then attempt to track my expenses daily, organize my files, clean out the basement, not be late, etc, etc, etc. We live in a world of mega multitasking, largely due to technology where we feel we should and must be able to do everything at the tip of our fingers, punching at our large cell phone screens. That expectation of multitasking seems to include our New Year Resolutions as well.
There are three reasons for this problem:
- People make unrealistic resolutions.
- People don’t equip themselves with the mental ammunition to fight off doubt and continue with their goals.
- Using guilt or fear as motivation, or resolving to stop doing something
When people make resolutions, they tend to be vague and have too many goals. Therefore, it is important to focus on your top one or two goals and make them specific and measurable. For example, they advise not to say your goal is to lose weight. Rather, say your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months. Once you have achieved your top goals, you will be emboldened to complete your other goals. I read an article about getting things done that suggested prioritizing the top six things you want to get done. Do number one and don’t do anything else until you get number one done. Then move on to the next item on your list. I did practice that last year and was able to tick off 7 out of 12 items from my to do list. That means I just have 5 items left to complete this year.
It is important to have the right support system. Sometimes even the ones who love you the most are not always supportive of your goals. I’m petite and have gained 10 pounds since grad school but you cannot tell I am overweight for my height and size just by looking at me. And every time I tell my family I need to lose weight, they roll their eyes and tell me I’m fine. Yet, the scale and the fit of my jeans say otherwise. Hence, find the right people to support your endeavors. In addition, your support group can keep you accountable in accomplishing your goals.
People tend to use guilt and shame but they do not work. It can gravely hinder your progress in that the worse you feel about yourself, the less self-efficacy you have, and that can only make you feel ashamed. The more shame you feel – guess what – the more you will eat, drink, complain, be late, etc. Find a positive reason that will sustain your goals such as “I want to be healthy so I can live a long life and be around for my family.”
Keep track of your goals as a way to measure your success. Some means of doing that is maintaining a journal, a calendar, having accountability partners, to name a few.
Believe you can do it. When people do not see results or cheated on their diet or spent too much money, slept in late, or whatever vice they indulged in, they tend to think,” I screwed up” (even if it was just for a day or two), and throw in the towel, instead of keeping at it. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail on some days. But if you just stop, then you will never reach your goals.
Lastly, have fun! This is my own piece of advice. Infuse some fun into your goals or resolutions. If you are trying to lose weight, reward yourself with a mini shopping spree for some new outfits, but don’t go overboard because then you will have to tackle another resolution of managing your money right! Yikes! (Note the word, mini.)
Good Luck in your New Year’s Resolutions! Remember: Keep it Simple and Fun! 🙂
Mariquita de Mira / MFA in Arts Leadership 2015 / Artist. Arts Leader. Global Adventurer & Explorer.
[I moved to Washington from California a little over a year ago and slowly but surely discovering Seattle. Through my DISCOVER SEATTLE Blog, I will be sharing my adventures of places to eat, the nightlife, and other events that I have attended or feel will be a cool event to attend to that I will share on GSC Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and World Press. I look forward to meeting you all at our GSC events. Cheers!]