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New Year’s resolutions seem to be some of the hardest goals to achieve.  More often than not, we end up giving up on, or forgetting about, our New Year’s resolutions before we are even half way through the New Year.  There are many different reasons for this, but the outcome is always the same: depression.  It can be very discouraging to set a goal and not achieve it.  Especially when the goal seems to be something that is very obtainable.  This type of behavior that we all go through every year provokes some questions: What am I doing wrong?  How can I set better goals and stick to them? Would it be better to do away with New Year’s resolutions all together? Fortunately, there are ways to help us stick with these goals so we can reap the rewards rather than constantly being disappointed.  Setting and achieving New Year’s resolutions should be a fulfilling activity, not a discouraging or depressing one.  Here are some easy ways to help us stick with your New Year’s resolutions.

 

Start Small

A huge part of the problem is that a lot of the time we are setting goals that are unrealistic.  A New Year’s resolution shouldn’t be a drastic life change, but rather something you can do to improve.  How much of a change you are ready to make is different for every person.  For this reason, it is important to do some self-evaluation so you can set a goal that you can actually achieve.  For example, if you don’t exercise at all and your goal is to exercise more, start out with a goal to exercise one day a week and work up from there.  If you begin with a goal of working out five days a week after previously doing zero, it is likely that you will end up coming up short of that goal.  As you come short of that goal week after week you will probably become discouraged and give up.  Set goals that you can achieve.  Start small with simple improvements and work up from there.  If you are already finding that some of your goals for this year are more difficult than you initially thought, that’s OK! Take some time to reassess, make a new goal, and start over!  It is better to reset now than to find yourself giving up on all your goals before we are even half way through the year.

Focus On One Goal at a Time    

It is OK to have multiple New Year’s resolutions, but it is not smart to try to take them all on at once.  Work on one and when you feel like you have mastered that, move on to the next.  Trying to change all of our imperfections at once is overwhelming and exhausting.  One of the reasons why we end up giving up on our goals is because we are simply trying to do too much at one time.

Talk about it

One thing all human beings need is time to vent.  Making changes isn’t easy, but letting off some of that steam by talking to someone about it can go a long way in helping relieve that stress.  Talking to someone about your successes and failures helps you see that you are not the only one that may be struggling.   It may even be beneficial to join a support group.  Having a group of people striving towards the same goal can really help with motivation and accountability.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

The quickest way to get yourself to give up on a goal is to beat yourself up.  It is important to remind yourself that nobody is perfect and we are all human.  It is OK to take breaks or slip up.  Success does not come over night.  The ultimate goal is to keep improving time.  If we are constantly getting down on ourselves, we won’t be able to see the bigger picture.  We need to focus on what we have done well and how we can continue to build on those positive things as we move forward.  Patience is probably the most valuable trait we can have when it comes to sticking to our goals.

Ask For Help

Too often we get caught up in our own pride and think that in order to achieve any real sense of accomplishment we have to do things on our own.  This is simply not true.  Allowing ourselves to receive help and encouragement from others shows humility, which is a strength, not a weakness.  There are so many forms of support available to us if we just ask.  It can be anything from asking for social support from a friend to asking for professional support from a doctor.  Having support can be the difference between giving up or pushing forward.  Sometimes we need to be real with ourselves and recognize that there are certain things we just can’t do on our own.  This lesson is not only valuable as we strive to accomplish our New Year’s resolutions, but is also crucial to our progression through life in general.

 

As we all can attest, sticking to our New Year’s resolutions can be daunting and difficult, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it.  Applying these principles can help us set smarter goals and see them through to completion.  Don’t be afraid to reevaluate along the way.  If you find yourself falling short, reevaluate, seek help, and push forward with a new purpose and a new determination.  This month marks the first month of the year.  It is still only the beginning!   May we wall press forward with more resolve this year as we strive to accomplish our goals and better ourselves and those around us.