Perhaps the most strategic New Years resolution you can make is: “I resolve to set 12 realistic monthly goals this year!” Sure, it’s not a very sexy or exciting resolution, but it will certainly get you farther along your track to success than the standard, “I want to lose 40 pounds this year!” resolution with no follow up. Science shows that New Years resolutions are powerful motivators but the critical issue is longevity. Get going with your goal and stay on track with these helpful New Years resolution tips!
TIP 1: Set a Realistic Year-Long Goal
Let’s take the standard loosing weight resolution, for example. Don’t set a goal that is un-doable in one year. Like you weigh 100 pounds and you want to loose 50 more–wake up call: it ain’t going to happen. And the opposite might be true as well. Maybe you’ve been chronically 40 pounds overweight for going on 7 years now and after 6 failed-40-pound-resolutions, you’re still 40 pounds over target. Don’t set the same stale loose the 40 pounds resolutions as New Years past–get smart! This is not a realistic resolution for you. Instead, set it up like this: “I’m going to take this whole year to loose 20 pounds (half your goal), and that’s just over 1.5 pounds a month!” Way more doable, right? And this can set you up for real success instead of what may have happened in years past: you loose 10 pounds in the first month and a half of “really” trying, then you figure you can loosen the reigns a bit, then a birthday, a Valentine’s Day and an Easter brunch later, you’re back where you started.
The other important thing here is to set a year-long goal. If you just want to loose 5 vanity pounds, that can take way less than a year–then what? Use your powerful motivation factor that is the New Years resolution to make a substantial change in your life. Instead of the 5 vanity pounds go for “I resolve to eat more vegetables this year.” Guess what? Stick to that resolution and you’ll not just be loosing the pounds but gaining health and longevity! A good rule of thumb is to set up your resolution to just be completed a year from the day you make it.
TIP #2: Make a Broad-Statement Resolution That Motivates You
Now that you’ve chosen a realistic resolution, refine it! Let’s face it, switching words around can totally change the message. Your New Years resolution should be well crafted and broad enough to fill in with short-term goals. Like we discussed above, “I resolve to loose 20 pounds” is way different than “I’m going to take this whole year to loose 20 pounds, and that’s just over 1.5 pounds a month!” Try writing both those statements on a sticky note and sticking them on your fridge. You’ll get a whole lot more motivation from the later than the former! Same with eating more veggies resolution, refine the resolution to pack a more motivational punch: “I’m going to take this whole year to train myself to eat more servings of vegetables at lunch and dinner.” It’s broad enough to fill in with smaller goals yet specific enough to be motivating and psychologically attainable. Now that you have your perfectly-crafted resolution write it down and post it up so you can be re-energized every time you read it.
TIP #3: Make a Mini-Resolution Each Month
Now that you have a realistic and motivating broad statement resolution, fill that baby in with mini-goals every single month. Train yourself to look forward to the first of the month for more than just a paycheck. Make it the day you set your resolution for the month to aid you in your overall New Years resolution. Take the 20-pound-weight-loss resolution, for example. Your first mini-resolution could be: “This month I’m going to walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week, that’s 12 walks this month.” It is a specific goal that leads to the 1.6 pound weight loss goal you set for your broad resolution. Then the following month your mini-resolution can change to something like “This month I’m going to write down everything I eat so I can be accountable for what I put in my body.” Another mini-goal that helps you meet your long term goal. Another great strategy with this example is to set progressively harder monthly goals but KEEP each monthly goal going for the rest of the year. So, you’re 30 minute walks 3 times a week are still in effect while you start keeping a food journal and so on. For your eat-more-veggies resolution, a mini-resolution can be “This month I am going to learn and cook 3 new vegetable-based dishes.” The next month is could be: “This month I’m going to keep freshly peeled vegetables, like celery and carrots, on hand in place of my snacks.” You get the idea!
Important: Don’t create all of your mini-resolutions when you make your year-long resolution. The best way to use your mini-resolutions to your advantage is to keep them in the trenches. By making a fresh, new, of-the-moment mini-resolution at the beginning of each month, you will hone in on things that are really working and compensate for things that are not.
So get going! Get thinking, get writing! You can loose the weight this year! You can get healthier! You can finish that hand-made doll house you promised your daughter 3 years ago! As Mommas, how do you meet your New Years resolutions?