It is that time of year when people decide what they want to get done in the coming year and call these goals, resolutions. While New Years Resolutions can be fun to choose, they don’t often stick. But the reason they fail isn’t because you can’t achieve them, but because they are often not thought out and don’t have a plan. It's easy to get distracted when you don't know exactly what you need to do!
When you make a plan for your new years resolutions, you have a much higher chance of success. Lets say my new year resolution is to lose weight. While we all know what that means, it's easy to get distracted a few weeks in by such a vague goal. If I had a definite plan, I would have a better chance of sticking to it.
Now lets say my resolution is to lose weight, BUT I have planned to lose 15 lbs. in 6 months by going to the gym 3 times a week, eating a salad every day and having fruit instead of sweets for dessert 5 days out of the week. Now that's a plan with structure that will be easier to stick to!
How to make your New Year's resolutions stick
This is called the SMART Method. You simply turn your resolutions into goals you can easily stick to. The 5 parts:
Specific – You should be able to be specific and write details about the goal and how it will be achieved.
Measurable – Are you able to track the progress of your resolution?
Achievable – You want to set resolutions and goals that can be achieved within the time you have set out.
Realistic – Make sure it is something that is attainable to you.
Timely – Do you know how long it will take, and can you choose a date when it should be completed by?
One of my resolutions this year is to make more herbal and essential oils products. Pretty vague, right? Using the SMART method I have come up with this:
Spend 1 hour every Sunday organizing my herbal/EO cabinet and making a master list of herbs and essential oils I already have. Make sure every one is properly labeled and dated. Organize the carrier oils, butters and other products, containers and molds and replace those that have gotten old.
Upload list to my computer and copy to google drive so I can cross reference it when I'm out shopping. Once that is complete, start spending that 1 hour on Sunday making new products and/or looking up recipes.
So you can see how a vague resolution can be turned into a plan of action that I can actually stick to!
Keep the resolutions to a minimum
It can be easy to have a list of 10 ore more new years’ resolutions, but can you really focus on that many things at one time? The best thing to do is keep your list short, preferably no more than 3-5 goals for the year. The only exception would be if you have a small goal to complete each month.
Consider one resolution at a time
Try to stick to just one goal at a time, spreading them out the best you can. Similar to not having too many resolutions for one year, you also don’t want too many new things to focus on at one time. This is really just setting yourself up for failure. So decide which you can start with, and try not to begin the next goal until the one previous has been completed or is at least on the right track.
This way you can keep making positive changes all year. For instance, you might start by spending 1 hour every Monday night organizing drawers and cupboards in the kitchen. You will eventually be done, so that is when you move onto resolution #2. Maybe you want to go through your clothes and give away everything that doesn't fit. Start doing that in the Monday night hour.
Write out a list of smaller tasks and do them in order, instead of going nuts trying to get it all done at once. This works well because your Monday night hour becomes habit. Once it's routine, it's easy to do the task you've set out for yourself.
Have a plan for your resolutions
Once you have made sure your resolutions fit all the SMART categories, you can then create a plan to work toward those goals and accomplish them before the year is over.
For every resolution, ensure they are realistic, attainable, and be specific with what it is and how you can get it done. This is where you take the time to write out exactly what you need to do and when in order to achieve your resolution. It is where you start to understand that resolutions are simply goals.
When it comes to planning habits that are specifically meant to help you with accomplishing a goal, writing it down is crucial. It is close to impossible to complete a goal you haven’t worked out on paper. It is easy to get lost in your thoughts, miss important steps, or give up on it completely.
Write down and track progress
When you get into choosing new habits for your daily routines, one thing that can benefit you the most is writing everything down. Writing down what your habits are and choosing the actual routine then keeping track of it, this can be very useful and motivating!
Write everything down, from what the habit and goal is, to how you want to add it to your routine. The more detailed you are, the easier it is to make it part of your daily routine.
Hold yourself accountable
Writing down your habits and routines is going to hold you accountable. You know what they are, and can track each day you get them done. Even if you are just accountable to yourself, you will feel good about crossing them off each day and knowing you are keeping a promise to yourself.
If you can tell others about it too, that adds more accountability, but it is completely optional. Tracking your progress is also really important, not just to keep you accountable, but because you can see if it has been beneficial for you or not.
Write down a habit you are trying to implement, and where in your routine you plan to use it. Every day, write down that you completed that habit, and what your experience was. This can be done in just a few descriptive words. Over time, look back and see if you had a positive or negative experience.
Don't be afraid to change the plan!
Maybe you wanted to see if waking up an hour earlier would help you, but you discovered that it just becoming more difficult, and never really benefited you. That is how writing it down is going to make you more self-aware, plus it can show you when it's time to change the plan that's not working!
If you find that a habit or routine is not benefiting you, then you are able to switch it up to something more effective. Write down an alternative, and then use your journal or notebook to start tracking the new habit.
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