As the last strands of tinsel are swept away and the leftover ham sandwiches are polished off, we’re all left to contemplate the end of one
year and the beginning of another. For most of us, the new year brings with it a sense of opportunity, the chance for a fresh start, and of course, plenty of resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions can be exciting, challenging and even somewhat scary. But no matter what yours are, the ultimate challenge is finding a way to keep them past January 31st. Whether you’ve resolved to improve your health, devote more time to family, take the next step in your career (or even start a new one entirely), it can be easy to start the year with good intentions, but fall off the bandwagon a few weeks in. So this New Year, I’ve put together four simple strategies you can use to not only plan your 2019 resolutions, but turn them into your everyday reality. Think of these as initial resolutions that you’ll use to set up 2019 as your most successful year yet. Cheers to that!
Resolution #1: Don’t make too many resolutions (because quality is better than quantity)
Before you start making a long list of the many things you’d love to change or achieve this year, consider whether they are realistic and achievable all at once. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but logic dictates that the more resolutions you make, the less time, energy and focus you’ll have to spend on keeping each one. As a result, you’re likely to find yourself feeling stressed, burnt out, defeated or overwhelmed with change, which can lead to falling back into old habits – or worse, giving up on your resolutions entirely.
To avoid this, try prioritising your resolutions and narrowing down the list into your top three. This way, you can focus quality time and energy on your top priorities throughout the year, giving you a better chance at success and ensuring you don’t try to take on too much too fast. When you feel you’re successfully achieving your top three resolutions, you can then try adding in the next resolution on your list and continuing from there.
Resolution #2: Make a solid plan (because a goal without a plan is just a dream)
I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping my resolutions will stick with just a bit of luck and minimal effort. But unfortunately, this is rarely the case! Successful people turn their dreams into reality by creating a strong plan with achievable goals, step-by-step methods and deadlines. So instead of leaving your New Year’s resolutions up to chance this year, take charge and break them down into a series of focused goals.
One goal-setting method you might like to try is the SMART system, detailed by global learning solutions company MindTools. Ask yourself: is my goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound? If so – write it down, plan the steps you need to take and make it happen!
If you’re looking for a bit of extra motivation, Australian company MiGOALS has an extensive range of empowering and practical goal journals and planners, ready to help you achieve your 2019 resolutions. If you’re more the digital type, a quick Google search will yield a wide selection of online and app-based goal planners, many of which are free (a bonus if one of your resolutions is to save some money!).
Resolution #3: Hold yourself accountable (because accountability breeds responsibility)
It’s no secret that a sense of accountability has amazing benefits for achieving goals and keeping resolutions. Studies on accountability by the American Society of Training and Development found that holding a regular accountability appointment with a person you have committed to (such as a mentor) can increase your chance of success by up to 95%. How amazing is that?!
While establishing a mentoring relationship and checking in regularly is a great way to help resolutions stick, there are many other ways you can keep yourself accountable. Accountability can breed from something as simple as saying your resolutions out loud to your significant other, a friend or a family member, who can help remind you of your goals. You could also go a step further by enlisting a friend to kick goals with you and bring a fun social aspect to your hard work – for example, a gym buddy, travel partner or work pal.
Another great idea is to write your resolutions down on paper and keep a journal of your progress throughout the year. Not only will this allow you to track your achievements and challenges and stay motivated, it will also help you identify and correct any trends that might be holding you back.
Resolution #4: Visualise your goals (because if you can see it and believe it, it’s easier to achieve it)
As the old saying goes, ‘seeing is believing’, and what better way to stick with your resolutions than by creating constant reminders of your end goal to inspire and motivate you?
Vision boards are a fun and creative way to positively reinforce what you want your 2019 to look like. There are endless great examples of vision boards online (Pinterest is a popular option), but I personally love to go a bit old-school. Just grab a bunch of old magazines, cutout pictures that match your resolutions, and get to pasting on a piece of cardboard. Easy! Instead of a vision board,you could also pin inspiring pictures or quotes around your workspace, an area where you spend a lot of time, or somewhere you can see them when you first wake up. I love keeping a few positive quotes and pictures that exemplify my goals around the mirror where I get ready for work each day. But if you’re more tech-minded, you can easily go digital by adding a collage or slideshow of inspiring images as your screensaver.
If your 2019 resolutions are career-focused, don’t forget that you can always get in touch with GWG for advice and guidance. Happy New Year!