Remember Those New Year’s Resolutions You Made?
If you are like most people in the world, perhaps you are focused on achieving a goal and made a New Year’s Resolution or two at the beginning of 2019. It is a tradition, after all! You start off the year with good intentions, but come February, you realise you may not be so great at keeping those resolutions. By Spring, you may have abandoned them all together!
I personally do not make resolutions. I have a pretty good idea as to why. The basic reason is because I have never liked to feel boxed in or made to conform. (We could dig much deeper into this, but we probably do not have the time!) Making resolutions makes me feel like I am giving in to peer pressure. I do not do so well with diets either, for the same reason. You can tell me “eat less of that pizza” and I can do it, but if you tell me “you cannot have pizza at all” – well, then I am guaranteed to eat the whole pizza by myself!
What’s the motivation behind the resolution?
Most resolutions are made because of extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is fuelled by outside factors. Those outside factors are the people around us (parents, spouses, families, co-workers, friends) or outside situations and influences. They are not what we really want to do deep down in our heart. Intrinsic motivation – what Psychology Today says is motivation that reflects “our inner selves and our truest aspirations” – is what our heart wants us to do.
It is worth analysing your reasoning.
Find out your “why.” Are you doing it because everyone else is? Are you making it to make someone else happy? Once you’ve determined your motivation, consider these tips to help you be successful at achieving your goals any time of the year, not just at New Year’s:
1. Consider your heart.
This one should be simple, but it rarely is. Examine your inner self – your heart – and find out what your true desire is. For instance, if it really is to get in better physical shape because it will make you happy, then the goal of dieting or going to the gym regularly makes sense. But if you want to do this because everyone else is doing it, scratch that resolution off your list. Chances are you will not stick to it and may feel like a failure if you don’t achieve it.
2. Stay realistic.
We tend to exaggerate our goals or make them loftier that is reasonable. You are much more likely to reach success if your goal is smaller and more manageable than if you try to accomplish too much. Think of small steps you can take over time.
3. Be ready for things to go awry.
If you are prepared for changes and setbacks, you will be able to push back any feelings of failing. Accept the changes and adjust your course. I personally love change and embrace it in any shape or form. Others do not. But change happens, all the time. It is much easier to deal with if you anticipate it.
4. Let things go.
Feel like you do not want to do that resolution anymore? Or, maybe you realize that goal is not really where you should be heading? No problem then. Cancel that one! Cross it off your list! If you are following step 1 above, then you will know why the resolution was not a good idea in the first place. There is no shame in adjusting your plans and heading in a new direction.
5. Be joyful.
If the resolution (or goal) feels more like a chore to you, then refer back to step 1. The journey you take to accomplish a goal or complete a resolution should be a joyful one. After all, what your heart wants should make you happy!
It takes me longer to reach my goals than most, but I do have fun along the way. For instance, about dieting, it takes me longer to lose weight than anyone I know because I eat what I should not eat a lot…but just less of it. You know, portion control! I do have an intrinsic motivation for losing weight as it makes my heart happy when my clothes are comfortable. I am absolutely doing this one for me and no one else. But I am doing it MY way, the way that does not feel like a chore or stress me out. Determine what your true motivation is, then find a way that works for your when it comes to realising your goals!
Source: The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions: What to do Instead, Psychology Today