3 Things You Need Today to Make Your Resolutions RealityJan 04, 2022
So you have some fresh New Year’s resolutions. Now what?
We’ve all heard about how gym memberships and attendance both soar in January. Likewise, we also know that attendance also begins to wane by February (perhaps we even know this from experience!) We have actual statistics from gyms that make a pretty strong case about how this one particular type of resolution tends to go, but it undoubtedly applies across all types of resolutions and goals.
We are energized and motivated by the vision of the end goal and how we will feel at some out-there point in the future, so we enthusiastically get moving to make it happen. I mean, how amazing will it be when we achieve that goal or turn that new habit into a way of being?! However, at some point along the way, most of us inevitably face (at least) one of three things:
- We struggle to form the new habits and routines and gradually (or instantaneously!) slip back into our well established habits and routines.
- We realize how much effort it takes or get hung up on one piece along the way and end up frustrated and discouraged and decide that now just isn’t the right time or it just isn’t possible for us.
- We get distracted and derailed by life when we get sick, go through a difficult week or two, or have a big life event.
This is all very normal human behavior, and you definitely need to care for yourself in a different way when you’re going through those life happens times. However, there are so many choices that we can make and actions we can take to support our journey towards making all of those resolutions and goals a reality. Even that one that seems to be on the list every New Year’s Day.
Yes, you will undoubtedly experience times that will just plain suck. It’s a fact of life that we will all experience ups and downs. But, as I wrote in a recent blog:
“You have a choice. You have a choice in every moment, even when there’s so much going on or things aren’t going according to plan. You have a choice to ground yourself and reconnect with your priorities and goals, and consciously move forward with intention. You have a choice about what you will and will not do.” [read full blog here.]
I also wrote:
“We must create non-negotiable space in our days dedicated to maintaining our health, surroundings and relationships to support a stable, balanced foundation, as well as space to take action towards our goals and dreams.”
While that blog was focused on how to finish the year strong while navigating the holiday season, it holds true – at any time of the year – that you have a choice in every moment, and establishing and maintaining boundaries in all aspects of life is a crucial ingredient in reaching the levels of success, fulfillment and joy that we all dream of.
So what CAN you do to keep your New Year's resolutions a reality? What do you need to stay on track and make those goals and dreams a reality?
Establish & Maintain Boundaries with Yourself
First and foremost, we must establish and maintain boundaries with ourselves by consistently showing up to take action and making choices that support our highest good, despite any of the many distractions that will show up.
Do any of these resonate with you?
- You have an app on your phone that you know you keep giving your time away to that doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than to entertain or distract.
- You find yourself regularly staying up later than you wanted to watch a show or scroll, so you end up waking up later than you promised yourself you would.
- You frequently use your food delivery app membership to order food that is oh so tasty and convenient, even though you know it doesn’t support your health or financial goals.
- You continue to bring the sweets, chips, wine or whatever into the house and find yourself drawn to it even though you swore that you’d have more discipline this time.
- You identify yourself as a perfectionist and often find yourself stressing about details and taking an excessive amount of time to complete a project, or simply not starting a project at all because you anticipate how your perfectionism will play into it.
These are all examples of areas where setting boundaries with ourselves would be beneficial. Small actions, like deleting that time-suck app, setting up a daily reminder or alarm on your phone that lets you know it’s time to go to bed, or setting time limits for completing a project before you start, are easy to manage and can support you.
Establish & Maintain Boundaries with Others
We must also establish and maintain boundaries with others by no longer tolerating that which pulls us away from our agenda. Do any of these resonate with you?
- You have a friend in your life who leaves you feeling drained after interacting with them.
- You’re the go-to person in the office because they know you’ll get it done, and you find yourself bringing work home more and more often just so you can catch up.
- Your parents are constantly nagging you about getting married or asking when you’re going to have children or pressuring you to buy a house instead of renting.
- Your siblings are constantly calling you to “borrow” cash or clothing or just come over unannounced and you feel like you can't say “no” because they're family.
- You have that friend/significant other who loves to hang out, but you find yourself footing the bill every time you meet up.
That’s time and energy (and even money!) that you could otherwise be putting towards your goals.
Learning to say no to requests for your time and energy protects your assets so that you have the resources to spend on the goals and dreams that are meaningful to you and your growth. Of course, that doesn’t have to mean “never.” A boundary can also be a “not right now” or “let me think about that.”
The point is that YOU need to be the one in charge of your agenda and where you’re allocating your resources. This is the same with setting boundaries with yourself - figure out what your limits and boundaries are and maintain those boundaries with the people you interact with.
Be Held Accountable
The most important thing you can do that will dramatically increase your odds of making those resolutions and goals a reality is accountability. Let’s think about this for a minute.
Think about how much accountability you have when it comes to work or your clients. You don’t have a choice other than to follow through on what you say you are going to do. Regardless of who initiated the request, for the most part, you have to follow through. If you don’t then you run the risk of some potentially serious consequences, like being written up or dinged on your review at work, a bad online review, or possibly even losing a client or your job.
Of course, more than likely things won’t be that dramatic, but no one likes to disappoint or let anyone down. We like to take pride in the work we do and follow through for managers and clients alike.
Now apply that same idea to yourself and your resolutions and goals for the year. It’s a lot easier to let yourself down when you don’t follow through on what you said you were going to do, like going to the gym at least five times a week, getting up 30 minutes earlier to work on your goals or meditating every morning. Without accountability for following through, we may feel like we can “get away with it.”
However, there is a very real risk of some very serious consequences when we don’t follow through on those things, such as:
- Eroding our self-confidence, self-worth and overall happiness
- Potential physical health challenges and illness
- Financial issues in the future, including not being able to retire or being able to pursue your interests
- Regret – ugh
These are things that can happen bit-by-bit over time.
How many times have you declared that this is the year that you’ll finally organize the house and finish all of those projects? How much time do you need to waste looking for things before you follow through? How much guilt and shame do you want to feel?
How many times have you set the same goal or resolution related to your health? What needs to go wrong before you follow through? How many mornings do you need to avoid eye contact with the mirror when you get out of the shower?
How many times have you set financial goals like paying off debt? How much money do you need to waste paying interest before you follow through? How much longer will you postpone your dreams because of your debt, and at what point will regret for not taking action sooner kick in?
How many times have you decided that this is the year that you’re going to find a new job or start a business? How many Monday mornings do you need to dread? What age do you need to be before your reason for not taking action shifts to telling yourself that it’s just too late to start something new?
Ugh. Those are some tough questions, right? Well, they’re real, necessary questions and your future-self will thank your present-self for answering them honestly - you have to be able to identify and name the issue before you can resolve it.
You deserve to reach your goals!
Whether your New Year’s resolutions include habit changes, steps towards goals, or goals and dreams themselves, let them serve as a roadmap or guiding star.
Yes, this all takes a lot of effort, but by establishing the right boundaries with yourself and others, and seeking the accountability you need to support you and hold you to following through with taking action, you will see that it is so worth it.
Yes, it may be best for you to delay the direct pursuit of certain goals so that you can stay focused on others or until something else happens to make that goal possible, but what are the indirect actions you can take now that will support you when it is time? For example, if your goal is to take a month off to travel South America but you need to wait until next year because of the pandemic and lack of vacation time, then the indirect action you can take now may be working to get in shape so you’re ready to hike Machu Picchu, studying Spanish or Portuguese, or researching where to stay.
There is always some action you can take towards your resolutions and goals. We can always come up with excuses… but what if you came up with an action plan instead? What if you truly made this YOUR year? There will always be challenges, but I hope this guide gives you the tools to overcome the roadblocks that you’ll face on the way to achieving any goal.
I am here to support you in your journey. I have several options to support you at the right level for you. From our private Facebook community and free workshops to 1:1 and group coaching to organizing coaching and retreats, I’m ready to help you make 2022 the most incredible year yet.
Wishing you the absolute BEST year ahead!
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