To celebrate the New Year, many of us make up New Year resolutions. While these are well intentioned, many of these resolutions are left adrift, abandoned within a month or so. How can we change that so our New Year’s goals are packed with rewarding power and healthy results like permanent weight loss, a reduction of stress, or a healthy lifestyle? What follows are 10 Tips: Most Effective New Year Resolution Writing Strategies.
- It is well documented that writing our goals down is a powerful technique. Simply wishing up on a star may be fun, and a great away to get us outside at night to look at the stars, but doesn’t have the same clout as writing down our wishes, dreams, goals, and intentions. This year, do it differently, write down those New Year’s Resolutions. Then post them, create a document file so you can refer to them, keep them handy in notebook, or hand held device.
- What are some of the positive, life affirming healthy actions and behaviors that you want to keep doing? Don’t forget to remind yourself of all the good things you are already doing! Make a list of the good choices you are already making and congratulate yourself for that.
- Think about why you want to alter some aspect of your life. Really dig down and get to the heart of the matter. You might even cry it feels so important, that’s OK; seriously that’s great! For goals to stick, day in and day out, they have to mean something to us. When a friend’s Dr. told her she would not live to see grandchildren, she finally got serious about her weight and overall health. Being able to see and love future grandchildren was her motivation for permanent weight loss and a heart healthy diet. It worked; she plays with 3 grand-kids today!
- Rate yourself on your wheel of life. We all do somethings really well and need help in other areas. Right now draw a big circle on a piece of paper. Like spokes on a bicycle wheel, draw lines to represent major areas in your life: relationships, exercise routines, parenting, reducing stress, nutrition, education or continual professional learning, paid and volunteer work, recreation and play, spiritual pursuits, etc. Rate yourself with a big dot on each line how well you do using a scale of 1 (at the center) to 10 (at the outer edge) of your wheel. Now, connect your dots. How does your wheel look? Are you balanced or is your wheel wonky? How can you develop one or two areas that need most support? Focus your resolutions or goals on those one or two (but no more than three) areas to give you the smoothest ride.
- Select one, two, or maybe three things to address. Don’t create a long list of micro-managed goals you will gladly drop along the wayside. Stay focused. Better to have one idea that you really stick to, and work, than ten you drop because they are too overwhelming. As you feel better, you can add more goals later.
- Gather your family, your household, your partner, your team, or tribe. What is the one big thing you want to work on together? Work with your group on that one big thing and all sorts of smaller things will fall into place. For example, if your work team wants to eat more whole food, plant based nutrition for lunch, you may end up walking more, taking the stairs more often, and even reduce stress as you all take a mindfulness break as a natural result of your vegan nutrition choices. Work in a group and help each other; and remember that groups can be online or face to face.
- Use actions as your goal! It can be more fun to use goals that are action oriented than list what not to do. For example, you want to mediate more to reduce stress and relieve feelings of depression or anxiety. When you use actions as your goal you state: I will check out 3 meditation apps, sites, or DVDs and mediate 5/7 days next week for ten minutes each time.” This sounds more rewarding and positive than the goal of “Stop flopping on the couch when I get home from work, watching movies, or hanging out online.” “Walk every day at lunch time” is a smarter choice than “Stop online gaming or shopping every day at lunch”. Words that are positive and action oriented get us up and moving in the right direction!
- Ask someone to hold you accountable. Ask someone to check in with you, or for you to report into. How many steps did you walk today? What did you eat for dinner? What kind of plant based protein did you try? It doesn’t have to be long lengthy emails or conversations; quick check-ins are fine. Post a sticky note, text, create a log or chart and send it to that person once a week. Just the idea that we are “reporting in” has a profound, positive impact on keeping ourselves on the right track. Now, who will that person be? You might want a few people to be your cheerleaders! Ask someone today.
- Lots of people talk about SMART goals; just what is so smart about SMART goals? The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable (or do-able), Results oriented, and Time bound. For example: “ I will devote one hour, one day a week to sit down and create a vegan shopping list and meal plan for the coming week. I will prepare vegan meals for each meal I eat at home for the next 30 days.” Be smart and write down your SMART goals.
- Finally, technology is simply a tool to help us reach our goals. There are countless apps and programs that can help us, however, we do not all have to use the latest app or gizmo to be whole, complete, fantastic human beings. After all, the human race got along just fine for thousands of years without the internet! Technology can be very simple like paper and pencil, or super high tech like the latest and greatest phone. While many of us have smart phones and cool gadgets, not everyone does, or they like to take a break from computers. Scale up or down so that you are not creating more stress and aggravation whatever system you are using. Like any type of tool, it is for us to use as we please and not be dominated by managing that tool. Our support systems have to work for us – not against us.
In conclusion, writing down goals and resolutions offer us more support than thinking, talking, wishing, and dreaming. It moves the idea from wishing to actualization! When considering a lifestyle change, do write down your goals. I talk a lot more about this in my educational video program. Happy New Year and best of luck to you as you take the risk of feeling fabulous! Now, what are you waiting for? Get writing!