With the New Year comes revived hopes and dreams. We want to feel better, have better relationships and live better lives. We set resolutions and make goals because we’re driven as people to do so. Since ancient Greek times, we’ve known about our teleological nature, our innate desire to accomplish more in our lives.
After letting go of any thoughts of being productive over the holidays and filling our bellies full of holiday cheer, the start of the year is the perfect time to begin creating new goals and resolutions to better our lives. No matter how last year went with your resolutions, this year is the year you’re going to make them happen.
If you use the techniques that I’m about to show you, you’ll avoid the typical frustration and confusion that most people experience throughout the year:
1. Focus on One Resolution at a Time
Anytime I’ve failed at making a new habit, it was because I was trying to do too many things at once. Creating new habits can be stressful to your mind. It’s much easier for your brain to adapt if you pick one resolution and focus on that until you’ve either completed it or made it a habit.
I know this can be difficult. It’s our natural inclination to try to do all of our resolutions at one time. Just let go of that for a moment and do this. It works.
2. Make it Easy to Succeed
The best way to be successful is to plan on being successful. This may sound obvious but many times we make it more difficult to succeed than it needs to be. If you want to stick to your resolution, make it easier to be successful than to fail.
This means scheduling when you’re going to perform your new habit, having everything ready to go to make it happen, and making it so that it is almost easier to do it than it is to not do it. So, for instance, if you’re looking to start working out, you could schedule it on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8am, have all of your workout clothes laid out so you just have to put them on and go, and get a motivated and reliable buddy who will expect you to meet them before going. That way, if you don’t meet them, it will be weird and awkward.
Make it easy on yourself. Plan to succeed and you have a much greater chance of doing it. Don’t leave anything to chance. Know exactly what you are going to do.
3. Set up Your Environment to Support your Progress
If you want to be successful, you need to have an environment that supports you. Put up pictures around you that remind you of your goal. Get around people who either have achieved the resolution you want or are motivated to get there. Put reminders on your phone of what benefits you’ll enjoy by achieving your resolutions.
Design your environment to push and motivate you towards success. Motivation is a daily practice. You may not be motivated when you wake up. But it will be much easier to get yourself motivated if your environment supports you in making this resolution a reality.
4. Get to the Root of Why this is Important to You
What will this do for you and your life? If you’re not excited about it, you probably won’t do it. There’s no better way to get excited about something than to figure out why it is really important to you. And if it isn’t really important, don’t do it. If it is, remind yourself on a daily basis why it is important.
Get a picture or a photo that reminds you of the importance of this resolution. How will it improve your life? Just keep asking yourself why until you get to the baseline benefit. You may even learn something profound about yourself through the process.
5. Schedule it for First Thing in the Morning
You have the most willpower first thing in the morning and it dwindles throughout the day. Try to make your resolution something you can start in the morning. You are most likely to fulfill it in the morning.
Sometimes, the resolution isn’t something that makes sense to do in the morning. If this is the case, just make sure you schedule it for a specific time. If you don’t schedule it, you probably won’t do it.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably pretty busy. The only way I’ll do anything new is if I know exactly when to do it otherwise I’ll just forget about it and have to start over. Don’t let this happen to you. Schedule it and make it something you do in the morning.
In order to get started, right now, get as specific as possible about what you’re going to do. Figure out which resolution is the most important to you and start with that one. If it’s a big resolution, break it down into smaller steps.
Figure out exactly when you’re going to do it. What time and what day will you do it? How will you know when it is done? The more specific you can be about how you are going to do it, the more likely it will happen.
Just imagine what your life will look like when you’ve accomplished your resolution and you are looking back at how you persevered even when you weren’t motivated; how you overcame obstacles and dedicated yourself to making important changes in your life. You set your life up to accomplish what needed to be done and, because of that, you succeeded.
Article by Matthew Coast
Matthew Coast is a speaker, author and community leader. He helps his clients overcome obstacles in the way of them achieving their dreams through his internet show, Inspired by Life and products and programs at his website: www.LiveWithPassionNow.com. You can also check out his book on Amazon: Live With Passion Now