It’s a new year, and you’re going over and sharing all your New Year’s resolutions with everyone in hopes that it will make them seem more real or more feasible, but lets be honest, very rarely do we actually keep those goals. Life happens and things change, so it’s almost unrealistic in a way to have twelve month goals when you never know how the year will play out.
During my last therapy session (yes I go to a therapist for PPD and she totally rocks and has saved me from all sorts of anxiety, stress, fear, etc so I’m very thankful for her) she asked me if I’d be making any New Year resolutions. I said that I do every year, but never truly stick to them, or stick to all of them. She was very quick to help me see past this forthcoming failure and had some great tips on how to be more realistic about keeping them.
Tips for setting realistic resolutions
- The thought/plan
If you have a journal, then perfect, otherwise, use the notes tab on your iPhone, or get a planner. Write, type, however you want, but get down a plan of attack. This meaning three, six and twelve month goals. You can even do shorter bursts if that helps such as one month, four, eight then twelve months. For your short term goals, think and write down things that will help you get to an end result (end meaning end of year). The easiest example would be weight loss. Set a short term, than long term, goal to drop five pounds, then twenty pounds for instance. Or, if you want to change your diet, you can say in one month I will have fully eliminated dairy from my diet. Have the thoughts/plans for your goals broken up so that they are easier to reach and you can celebrate smaller milestones.
Since nutrition is very important to me, I’ll stick with that as my examples. I plan to cut out wheat completely from my life and some meat (or limit meat to three nights a week). I’m already dairy-free, but I have a problem drinking beer (dark beer to be honest), and that’s pretty heavy on the body. So I’ll start by cutting out beer three days a week, and no wheat at all on those days. It’s pretty rare if I do eat wheat, but occasionally I will catch myself at Wild Olive, two baskets deep in their delicious bread (can you blame me?)
Another goal for me was to be more relaxed and more “go with the flow.” For an attitude change or change of behavior, it’s important to do so by starting small as well. Things like calling a family member to say hi and see how they are doing, or keeping your kids out past their bedtimes, even if you are tight on schedules (like I very much am) just to enjoy other people’s company and not feel rushed.
It also helps a lot to write down checklists where you created your plan. You can write it on a chalk board if you want! It helps to see reminders of what you wanted to accomplish in short times.
I’m not sure of the percentage of people who have twelve month goals and fail at them, but I can assume its pretty high. A lot of us can’t even remember what our goals were from the year prior. But if you are serious about really wanting to make changes, and hopefully change for the better, then taking these steps can help tenfold. Once you hit your first month or three month goals, it will be so exciting and much, much easier to continue to the end of the year. And please don’t forget that it’s okay to mess up, or fall back on something. So if I give up dark beer and go out and give in and have one, then am I going to punish myself for it? Nope. We are human and humans make mistakes, just get back up on that horse and keep going. Life is too short to be so strict on yourself.
Most important of all, give yourself realistic goals. A goal of getting a date with Brad Pitt by the end of the year, will most likely not happen (and if it does, bring me). We can’t start the new year off with expectations that we already know aren’t going to happen.
Otherwise, have fun with it! See if you can stop saying “no” to your kid (ye,s this is borderline unrealistic) but instead find another way to say no, without actually saying it. In fact, I may try that one myself…