Goal making and lists are a fun past time of mine (admit it, you know you love a good goal list too!), but they’re not always so easy to stick to, especially New Year resolutions. Somehow these goals and inspiring life changes turned into punishments. If you dread committing to your resolution then maybe you’re making the wrong kind of resolution.
The simple way to make a resolution stick is to make your goals fun and creative. These aren’t punishments; you’re new goals are something you should enjoy, look forward to, and strive to achieve. In the past, I have made lists that have never been completed. By the next New Year, I felt like I had failed at what I had hoped to achieve. I figured out that is wasn’t me that had failed, it was the list that was failing me. For one, I chose too many pursuits. I decided to keep it simple. -Just one to three goals.
My second mistake was choosing goals that were more like punishments. I’m sure you’ve heard of goals like these: “I will work out every week this year, I will lose ten (or more) pounds, I will stop eating cookies (or whatever your kryptonite might be), I will save X amount of dollars into my savings account, I will become fluent in Spanish, I will learn how to….”
We’re focusing on the what, not the how or the why. For example, one of the most common goals I have heard every year is going on a diet. No surprise, this goal also fails miserably. Mostly because it is not a very body-positive goal to begin with and it isn’t any fun. But we can still achieve it if we change our mindset. Instead of making a diet into a goal, figure out what you really want. Perhaps it is to feel more energized, to loose some extra weight, to feel healthier, to help uplift your mood, etc. No one’s dream is to go on a diet, it is to feel better about themselves. So that is the what.
Now why? Why do you want this goal? To feel more confident? So you can achieve another goal like completing a marathon, overcoming an illness, or having a better body image when beach season arrives? If you have a good reason, you’re more likely to stick to it. Knowing your what and why helps you determine your how. No one’s goal is to go on a diet, their goal is to be healthier. How can you achieve that? Don’t diet, eat well. Perhaps your goal should instead be to learn how to cook delicious, healthy, and simple recipes. Maybe your goal is to take a cooking class, eat at home with your family more often, replace your soda habit with seltzer, or try new healthy foods. Essentially, it is similar to the original goal and it accomplishes the same outcome, but it is so much more fun to do and stick to.
You can take this approach to any of your goals. For example, I want to be fluent in French. Making that into a goal is a lot of pressure and no surprise, I haven’t done it yet. But this summer, I will be travelling to France on my honeymoon. My goal is to have a conversation in French instead. After all, that is the reason why I want to learn in the first place, so that I can actually talk to people in French. Having a conversation with my fiance in French is even better (Good thing we are learning together). I know that realistically I cannot tackle a giant goal in a short amount of time, but I can work on a giant goal in smaller steps.
Get creative with your goals and your approach to them. Think outside the box. Two years ago my goal was to “try new things.” That’s it. (Eating out at restaurants was a surprisingly easy way to help me reach this goal and I discovered many new foods I love because of it.) I tried new types of books, new recipes, new activities and experiences, new movies, etc. as a result and I had fun doing it. I found out that I like a lot of amazing things I never thought I would try. In fact, I still continue to try new things every time the occasion arrives. It has stuck with me, even after two years.
Some creative changes to popular resolutions:
- Go on a diet…. Cook delicious and healthy recipes at home.
- Go to the gym every week…. Sign up for a fun and active class or activity (rock climbing, spin class, yoga, karate, a dance class, etc.)
- Become fluent in a language…. Learn how to have a conversation in another language. (Try a local meetup group.)
- Save more money…. Find creative ways to be frugal and still have fun.
- Learn a new skill…. Book a class for a new skill (like cooking, painting, ping pong, etc.)
- Drink less alcohol…. Find other ways to have fun without alcohol.
- Spend more time with loved ones…. Plan actual activities or weekly/monthly events with friends and family.
- Get organized…. Redesign your home/ bedroom.
- Ban busyness…. Plan some me-time. (Really, book it in your calendar.)
- Travel more…. Plan a trip and buy those tickets.
- Sleep better…. Create a fun bedtime routine. (By a certain time, do something calming and fun before bed like reading in bed or listening to music. You will learn to look forward to “bedtime.”)
- Spend less time online/ watching tv…. Plan what you would rather enjoy doing with your time instead.
- Be more charitable…. Join a cause that is meaningful to you.
No matter what your resolutions are this year, make them work for you, not the other way around.
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