With the New Year rung in, the pressure of resolutions is upon us. Here’s how to be realistic and successful in achieving your new goals…
The transition from 31st December to 1st January is no different to any other day, but it carries with it the significance of a new year and subsequently new goals, plans and resolutions. It’s resetting the clock back to the start and, although we can’t do redo the past, for many people it’s set as the start of reworking the future.
Yet this initial enthusiasm gets lost in the background of life resuming as it did the previous year; promises you made to improving yourself, or your way of living, get pushed back by excuses, commitments and the realisation of how hard it actually is to make great changes when all that’s otherwise changed is the calendar date.
So here are some suggestions on how you can help yourself achieve your goals after January 1st:
Stop relying on motivation
Don’t dismiss it entirely, but entrusting in motivation is guaranteed to result in failure. Motivation isn’t sustainable or reliable; it’ll come in ebbs and flows and is often dependent on a multitude of other factors in life. Instead, shift your focus to discipline – let it drive your goals. When you invest in discipline, you’re reshaping yourself to have more control of your actions, to not become reliant on a fleeting feeling and to better evaluate what you’re capable of.
Take advantage of that motivation from the beginning of the year and use it as your starter, but let discipline be your guiding principle to keep you going. B
This is plastered on every self-help bog, but it’s crucial to be realistic. When I started in the gym last summer, my trainer asked me to be honest with how often I thought I could attend the gym. I looked him in the eye and said that I would definitely be going 5 times a week. That didn’t happen.
Aside from being a newbie who didn’t know what they were doing, my muscles weren’t used to properly moving up until that point, so even if I wanted to go to the gym each day I physically couldn’t. Assess yourself and what you are capable of realistically achieving and take that into consideration for when you’re setting yourself goals.
That isn’t to say you should set yourself goals that are easily-achievable because then you won’t experience character growth – just be sure that each step toward the goal is achievable. For example, my goal of going from 0 gym sessions to 5 times a week at the gym instantly was never going to work for me. If I had made 5 times my final goal and instead increased the amount of sessions I did at regular increments over a set time, then it would have been achieved.
Leave your comfort zone
I’m someone who gets anxious over really, really silly things. Leaving my comfort zone isn’t a thought I dislike, but actually executing it is; consequently, many times I find myself dreaming of achieving something but reluctant to actually pursue it. Yet, time and again when I have left my comfort zone, it’s been the most rewarding trial of myself. My proudest moment to date is overcoming my fear of public speaking by doing the very thing that scared me: public speaking.
Try your best to focus on the positives that will result in leaving your comfort zone, rather than scaring yourself by thinking about how daunting it’ll be to do it and be sure to remember, as cliché as it sounds, the only restrictions and boundaries you feel entrapped by are self-made.
Replace toxicity with a healthy support system
I know people who, if I told my goals to, would reject them immediately. Some people just aren’t going to share your mind set or appreciate if you’re ambitious – they’ll knock you down. This is where it’s important to have a support system of people who hype you up when you’re aiming for ambitious things that will be difficult to achieve.
Of course, you should always rely on yourself to get things done, but having friends / teachers / family members who believe in you is really comforting and often helps tremendously (even if it’s just one person). Fortunately, I have a lot of people in my life who are here to give me that confidence boost whenever I start doubting myself.
There’s no point in setting yourself back further because you’re waiting for the clock to strike 00 or for the year to change digits: just start now (just do it).