The New Year holiday brings with it the promise of new beginnings (and the desire to be an even better version of yourself). However, asking the age-old question "what should I work toward" on such a prolific holiday sends many into a resolution frenzy. Unfortunately, deciding on an achievable, actionable, and well-intended resolution is a bit of a lost art form.
Studies have found most goals are abandoned between January nineteenth and February first. However, don't get disheartened by the statistics. The abandoned goals more than likely lacked the sufficient reasoning to stick with a person. Luckily, bad resolutions can be revised.
Let's Talk Briefly About Weight Loss Goals
Goal # 1: Pick Your New Year's goals with the right intentions.
Ask yourself if your desire to do right by yourself is... for superficial reasons. Don't shake your head; it's possible. For example, think of "weight loss resolutions"; they're often frustrating, stressful, and signal the start of unhealthy super-diets. Yet, every year a lot of people jump on the bandwagon of "this diet is sure to get you ripped by summer."
And maybe it does, but then fall comes, and your "get lean diet" can't support seasonal depression. Or you have the "unsustainable diet side-effects" and become permanently hangry, unhinged, and starving.
Goal #2: Encourage yourself daily to make choices that align with a sustainable lifestyle.
That means quick diets are out. What can you see yourself doing forever? Can you see yourself eating flavorless chicken breasts until the end of time? I couldn't.
Any goal around weight loss needs to be formed around a wellness journey, not a diet. The differentiation is in the verbiage, how you think about weight, and how constricted (or empowered) you feel. Time will pass regardless. You can't speed it up, but you can enjoy it without a deadline looming overhead. So take your time. Daily actions make the biggest change.
Goal #3: Don't choose a goal weight. If you must keep track, use a measuring tape once to twice per month. Instead of having a goal weight, aim for a schedule or plan that allows you to feel energized.
Goals #4: Don't dwell in the past. Ruminate less.
Imagine, last January, you wanted to publish your first e-book. Now it's the following year, and you're reflecting on what milestones you didn't hit and how everyone witnessed it. Just thinking about this is stressful, right? So don't. The life you want to live is happening right now.
Why Are Resolutions Even a Thing?
People make new year's goals to define clear-cut guidelines for success. Researchers say New Year's resolutions are also a chance to erase last year's failures. But we can't really erase the past. Picture anything you've ever considered as failures becoming a part of your story, and is now pushing you forward.
Goals #5: Establish a conductive morning and evening routine. Whether last year held some legitimate failures or lessons, the time for reflection (read, anxious thoughts) isn't every morning. Instead, save your frustrations for evening journal reflections. Ask yourself, what can you do to set a vibrant mindset for the day? Have I drank water? How does my body feel?
Science says the new year is so popular because the season renews one's belief in themselves. (Read: we, once again, can be hopeful that our lives could change.) So it's the season of hope and maybe, for some redemption.
"As one author wrote, New Year's resolutions are "a triumph of hope over experience." They're a way to quantify what we wish for ourselves. They are a means to catalog our personal dissatisfactions. And, perhaps most importantly, they are a method of erasing errors of the past year."
Goal #6: Motivate yourself with positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement isn't the way to go, maybe for immediate action, but not for long-term goals. Studies show, "when a long period elapses between the behavior and the reinforcer, the response is likely to be weaker." Instead, positive reinforcement pushes you closer to your goals by "you" rewarding yourself with an enjoyable stimulus right after a desirable behavior occurs.
Mindfulness Will Take All Your Goals to a New Level
Since so many of us have trouble knowing when the mourning period is over (for breakups, bad decisions, etc.) below is another goal to get you out of your head.
Goal #6 Be present.
Is your brain conscious of your body? Have you looked around your surroundings; how does the air smell? Being present means being fully conscious of the moment, free from the noise of internal dialogue. It's often associated with feelings of stillness and peace. Sensations often seem sharper.
Quick questions to be more present:
- What's the predominant color of your surroundings?
- Can you guess what hour of the day it is without checking your phone?
- Is your posture making you uncomfortable or tight?
Questions are a great way to stimulate your mind into being "present."
Goal #7: Be consistent.
If you struggle with meeting your goals, feeling accomplished, or motivated, this is what you might be missing. Consistency breeds routine, and this builds momentum. Over time, all of this consistency will bring you what's meant for you.
12 More Goals:
- Play to your strengths. Spend less time developing weaknesses. Instead, take a test and discover your strengths profile by clicking here.
- Quality over quantity. Stop counting calories; start reading the nutrition label.
- Make your home more ergonomic and functional. Do you WFH? What's your work-from-home set-up look like? Does your body feel tense day after day? It's probably time for a self-ergonomic assessment, which will determine if your furnishings and posture are causing you unnecessary pains.
- If you create a goal, make it measurable. Read about SMART goals here.
- Get curious. Find new hobbies, try things you didn't think you'd enjoy.
- Better your self-talk. Think about your words and how you're slowly programming and constantly triggering yourself day-in-and-day-out with in-conducive with the things you say in your head.
- Live life to the fullest. Try your very best each and every day to feel alive. Don't be afraid to reach for what you want.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you're a person who veers away from assertion, it might be tricky at first, but saying what you mean will make you more confident.
- Say no when you want to say no.
- Skip dating for a time. Focus on platonic relationships over romantic ones. Take this time to build your support and give your friends the support they ask of you.
- Eat when you're hungry. But always check if it's actually just thirst, anxiety, or boredom and not hunger.
- Build confidence. Find people who intimidate you and spend time in their orbit. But note they should intimidate you in a positive or reflective way (e.g., they could intimidate you because you admire their ability to act out certain traits you desire.)
Some of these goals are a bit lofty, so make sure to break them down to figure out how to actually experience (and work toward) them each day.