Note: this article was originally published on January 8th, 2016
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Because they work, right? If you laughed when you read that, you’re not alone. Just because we make a resolution on January 1st doesn’t automatically mean it will stick. In fact, more often than not those New Year’s resolutions tend to fall off some time around, well, February.
This year, instead of changing what you resolve, how about changing why you want to make a resolution in the first place, and then set your goal around that.
Changing the way you make your resolution, and turning it into an achievable goal can help make it stick, until February and beyond.
What’s a Resolution?
At the end of the day, it’s a goal. A milestone, something you reach or attain. It’s what you want.
What Makes a Successful Resolution?
Success is something different. It can be a feeling that comes when you’re working towards the reason why, the motivation, behind your resolution or goal. It’s that feeling you get when you reach your goal, when you once and for all put your resolution to bed. The good news is that success can happen every day, on the road to reaching your goal. When you’ve got clarity on your motivation behind the goal and you make steps towards it, each step comes with the feeling of success.
Visualize what you want your life to look like at the end of 2017. As Olympian Jamie Komer says: get real with yourself, really real. What do you see? What do you want to see?
For tips on how to get to the motivation behind your goal, and how to get working on it follow the five easy steps she swears by for getting what you want:
1. Get real
- Why did you what ___ in the first place?
2. Set it
- What gets you excited?
3. Write it down
- Pen to paper, old school, write it down.
4. Achieve it
- Create a list of milestones on the road to your goal.
5. Take action
- Stay accountable and stay motivated.
Notice I’ve been saying goal, not goals. Get clear on what you want and why you want it then set your sights on one resolution, one goal around it. Say your goal is to lose weight. Good start. Now here comes the not-so-easy part. Knowing why that’s your goal, I mean really knowing why, even if it feels selfish or vain. That’s the kicker – getting clear on your motivation will help you not only define it, but also will help you to reach it.
Whether you want to lose weight for your health or if you just really want to fit into those jeans again (yeah, you know the ones) that’s all gravy. But simply saying you want to lose weight, picking an arbitrary number (10, 15, 20lbs) and no end date (except, presumably by December 31 2017) will not help you reach any type of resolution. There’s no motivation behind it. Without the why it’s hard to get clear on how to get there.
Now, if your real why is that you want to fit into those jeans and wear them on your upcoming spring break vacation because you have the perfect outfit for that day on the boat. You can see that day in your mind. You can see yourself there, see your family around, feel the smile on your face and taste the sea air, you want that feeling. Wearing those jeans is all a part of that experience and your motivation is the experience of sharing that happy day with your family, while looking and feeling your absolute best. That’s a goal you can get behind and take action on. Once you have that clear goal it’s time to break it down into small changes, small milestones, you can do over time to help you reach it.
Simple Solutions to Stick to It
If When (yes – when) you uncover the why, the motivation, behind your resolution know that you’ve already achieved so much. That’s a huge step in the right direction. The next step is to take action and keep taking action. Take small steps, every day, to reach that goal. Do it for you. I have found that once I set a goal, I can stick to it by following these five steps:
1. Come from a place of love
Open up to the idea of self-love, it’s not just for yoga retreats and empowerment workshops. It’s for every day, real life. Take your motivation from a place of loving yourself and you’ll reach those goals because you want to.
2. Break it down to small, attainable steps
Set small steps you can take each day and build on them weekly to reach your goal. If your goal is to wear those jeans to your family vacation, one step could be starting the day, one day a week, with a nutrient dense green smoothie. Once that becomes second nature, move on. Maybe you’re ready for three green smoothies a week. Whatever it is, start small and build on it weekly from there.
3. Know that you can do it
Yes, you can. Repeat after me...
I got this. I can do it.
A little louder now.
I got this. I can do it.
One more time, louder, for the people in the cheap seats. Say it.
I got this. I can do it.
Yeah you do and, oh kale yeah, you can.
4. Stay accountable
Use Jaime’s tips or create ways of your own to stay accountable to your goal. My favorite way is to tell a friend your goal and the steps you’re taking to reach it. My friend, Tera, and I have weekly goal check-in calls. Yes it’s an excuse to chat on the phone (she’s in NYC and I’m in Vancouver) but we also hold each other accountable. Use someone for this that you know will support you when you lose sight of your goal, someone who will also be right there to make sure you get right back on track. No judgment, no enabling.
5. Celebrate it
Celebrate those successes. Each step, each green smoothie is a reason to celebrate.
What does your resolution look like this year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.