It’s the first weekend of the New Year and I’m wondering if you’ve managed to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions over the past five days. Did you get up early this morning and go to the gym like you promised your other half when you bought the membership? Did you stick to soda and lime last night or has Dry January already beaten you? If you are sticking with your resolutions, great! Well done! Skip down to the part where I tell you what my goals are for January. If you are one of the many who have already flaked on your promises for 2019, let me tell you why. And more importantly, let me tell you how we can change that.
1. You Didn’t Want to Make the Change in the First Place
Did you really want to join the gym, or did you just feel bloated after Christmas dinner? Are you really looking to stop drinking for a whole month, or were you just feeling like hell when you woke up on New Year’s Day? We have all made vows and promises that sounded good in the moment. It doesn’t help that people will egg us on and give us praise for suggesting it when the truth is we weren’t serious. If you want to make changes you have to want it. For me, the only goals I am setting myself are ones that I will actually feel disappointed when I miss an opportunity to work on it. If you are resenting that workout before it’s even begun, there is no way you are going to do it religiously.
2. Your Goal Wasn’t SMART
Any kind of goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and you need to have the Resources to do it, and there must be a Timeframe to achieve it in. For example,
‘I’m going to get fit/ a bikini body.’
‘I will work out for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, at my local gym/ in my house.’
The first example is a vague, generic wish. The second tells us the specifics, and could include more such as what the work out will entail, is measurable in this case with a clock, is achievable and realistic if this person can spare half an hour on three out of seven days, uses the resources they have or can obtain i.e. a gym membership or space on their bedroom floor, and can be completed in the weekly timeframe or perhaps be monitored monthly if the person prefers.
If your goal or resolution is SMART, you are much more likely to stick to it. Having things like resources planned and designing the goal around what is achievable makes it so much easier to carry out! Dropping 10kg in a month is going to be impossible if not just really unhealthy, but focusing on 1kg a week might be more managable. Being realistic is arguably the most important part.
3. You Gave Up After a Setback
Everybody has setbacks. You promised you would go to the gym this week but you caught the flu, you were going to write the next chapter of your WIP but after the day from hell at work your mind just wasn’t in the right place. It happens! A setback, a lapse, a relapse, however you call it, is not permanent. Yes they are inconvenient and can really make us feel down, frustrated, and wonder why we even bothered to make a change in the first place. Allow yourself to feel like this and try to remember why it is you made this goal in the first place. See point 2 if you’re struggling to get back in the saddle after your routine has been affected. If you’re feeling extra proactive, make a list of all the reasons you want to achieve this and all the ways you can work around any potential setbacks before you even attempt your goal! Be kind to yourself, setbacks don’t have to be evidence of our incompetence or failure if we don’t let them.
4. You Took On Too Much At Once
I’ve already mentioned being realistic, but sometimes we can want to make too many changes or achieve too many things in a similar timeframe. If you want to get back to the gym, change your diet, write more, learn a new language, and finish your TBR pile before Summer, life is going to keep tripping you up! Something I am trialling myself is a series of 12 30 day challenges. I will post specifically about this on Tuesday, but since I am the type to bite off more than I can chew and want to change everything in 24 hours, I figured that setting myself a goal for each month was the best way to mediate that. Get one habit down before you pick up a new one and it’ll be that easier to keep them both going long term!
5. You Didn’t Do Your Homework
Remember when you were at school and you had all those tests and exams? If you wanted to get the best grades you had to stay on top of homework, revision, and ensure you understood the topics completely. Goals are your topics! If you want to get fit, research healthy recipes and workout regimes. A complete novice might not understand why their butt is getting bigger from all that cycling they did to get a smaller waistline. If you don’t do your research beforehand, and then you don’t get the results you want, how could anyone expect you to continue with your goal? Even if you’re an expert in your topic, there might be a technique you haven’t tried before that could be the answer to your commitment issues!
6. You Didn’t Ask For Help
Very rarely can we achieve things without support and advice. If you don’t know how to achieve your goal, or if you don’t want to do it by yourself, ask someone to help. If going to the gym makes you self-conscious, take a friend or work out at home with someone! If you can’t manage your old responsibilities and your new goal, ask people around you to pitch in or aid you in time management. Setbacks are completely normal and often out of our control, but they can leave us feeling like a failure. Having someone on the sideline as your cheerleader can be all the motivation you need to pick yourself back up again.
7. You Weren’t Doing It For Yourself
I deliberately started each reason with the same word: YOU. Your goal is yours and yours alone. You came up with it, you know why it is important to you, and ultimately you are the only person in the world who can make it happen for you. If you aren’t making changes for your own sense of achievement and satisfaction, or your own happiness and wellbeing, then there is only so much time before you stop wanting it (see point 1).
My January Goals:
As I mentioned above I will be splitting my goals in 12 this year with a view to making long term improvements. Therefore, my goals for this month are as follows:
- Write 500 words of my novel each evening after work.
- Post on Just Ink and Paper three times a week (Tuesdays 8pm, Wednesdays 6pm, and Saturdays 9am) and spend Sunday mornings writing in advance.
- Use my iPhone app for Duolingo for 20 minutes a day to learn Spanish.
- Exercise 4 times a week: using my exercise bike at home twice a week, attending hockey practice on a Wednesday evening and hockey matches on Saturday.
Did you make any New Years Resolutions? Have you got any goals for this month? Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments and how you stick to your goals!