Your resolutions often fail because they’re seen as hard work you can only accomplish by drastically changing yourself. If all your goals are formatted in this way, it’s extremely easy to want to put it off another day.
I mean, look at some of the stuff on your daily to-do list. How many items have been sitting there for longer than they should? In addition to work and school, finding the time to even start your resolutions is hard.
This is why I’m a big advocate for not setting resolutions in the first place. For a few days at the end of December you may be pumped to start the New Year off right, but what if you don’t?
If you didn’t hit the ground running on January 1st, do you start the next day? A week later? A month later? Probably not. At that point you’ve already mentally shut out your goals because you feel like a failure.
This is obviously not the correct way to go about setting goals for yourself. I believe everyone should have goals and plans for self-improvement, but there are much better ways to go about it.If your resolutions always turn into an #epicfail come January, you might want to consider getting real with your expectations. #resolutions #newyearnewmeClick To Tweet
1. Write a bucket list
Sometimes you simply need to change the perception of your goals in order to accomplish them. Setting up a bucket list is a much more fun approach to organizing what you want to complete in a year.
If you perceive your list of goals as nothing but work, it’s easy to fall into the pit of not starting them.
Try mixing in your difficult to achieve goals into a general bucket list.
Not only are you tricking your mind into thinking that your goals are fun, but it’s also a lot easier to see the progress you’ve made in a year.
Which looks more completable?
- Start running
- Take more pictures
- Spend more time with family
or List B
- Go to a festival and take photographs
- Hike up a mountain
- Participate in my first 5k
List B turns your general resolutions into something that can be quantified. It’s much easier to break down your goals into something you can check off.
Even if your bucket list isn’t your end goal, it’s a start.
“Start running” or “exercise more” means nothing if you don’t have a clear end goal in mind. I’m sure you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, and if you haven’t, you can check out what it means here.
As great as S.M.A.R.T. goals are, it’s sometimes still not enough to get people motivated to actually get started.
Adding the elements of fun, realism, and a clear benefit will make your goals much more powerful.
2. Set your goals outside the New Year
I understand the concept of “new year, new me,” but this is very difficult to accomplish if you wait until after the holidays.
Think about it like this.
When do you normally set up your New Year resolutions? Our resolutions tend to become solidified by the end of December. It’s when we create our game plan and what we hope to accomplish. But what’s usually going on during this time?
We’re most likely on break, surrounded by supportive family who are also taking time off, and we have lots and lots of free time to fantasize about the New Year.
The problem with this is by the time the New Year comes around, reality has set back in. You’re back to work or school, and all of that time and undivided support you thought would be available to you is gone.
Also, chances are, you are in no way prepared to start anything on New Year’s Day.
The search for “hangover cure” peaks January 1st.
With this in mind, you’re probably doing nothing but lying in bed on this day anyway (or if you’re extra unlucky, traveling back home). Even if you didn’t get completely wasted the night before, the day of the week New Year’s Day lands on plays a huge factor as well.
We are way less likely to start on a new goal in the middle or end of the week. You’re not going to start your 5-day workout split on a Thursday, if your goal is to begin on Mondays.
By the time Monday rolls around, you’ve most likely come up with another excuse as to why you haven’t started, and thus the cycle continues.
Don’t rely on the New Year to start goals. There are 364 other perfectly good days to start.
Plus, depending on what your goals are, you’re going to be joining a lot of people who want to accomplish the same thing as you.
For example, new people flock to the gym during the first few weeks of the year. If you have no idea what you’re doing and have never tried the equipment before, starting at this time of the year can be rough. The influx of people might intimidate and demotivate you.
Starting even a few weeks earlier in November or December makes you much more likely to stick with it because you’ll have your bearings by January.
I like to utilize S.M.A.R.T. goals here so I don’t put off everything until next year. I’ve managed to successfully stick with goals that I started at seemingly random times. I didn’t start going to the gym until February 1st of last year, and tomorrow will be my 1 year anniversary of sticking with it.
3. Start a Journal
This is one of my favorite ideas. I looooove a good guided journal. Having a journal is a great way to document your goals, lists, and accomplishments. There are also fun journals that help with self-discovery and may even help to pinpoint goals you never thought about before.
Here are a few of my favorites that have helped me:
1. Picture of Me: Who I Am in 221 Questions – This is one of my favorite self discovery journals. I picked this up at a time in my life where I really had no clue what I was about. It really does what the title states, and it’s fun too!
2. 52 Lists for Happiness – You’ve probably seen this all over Instagram. This journal gives you a new prompt every week where you’re supposed to list your answers. This journal covers prompts about inspiration, positivity, balance, and joy. I enjoyed this one because I only needed to remember to do them once a week.
3. The Grass is Green Enough Journal – This journal is a mix of the first two. This has daily prompts where you create lists and answer questions.
Guided journals are a great place to start if you have absolutely no idea what your goals should be.
4. Break down your goals into daily to-dos
If bucket lists still offer too much freedom for you to accomplish your goals, try a pinpointed to-do list that has you doing something for your goals on a daily basis.
Since I started my blog, I’ve been living by the mantra, “do something for your blog every day.” Some days all I will do is make a tiny tweak in my design or connect with my followers on Twitter and Instagram. Other days I’ll create and promote a post and work on growing my mailing list. No matter how big or small, I’ve made a step in the right direction, which has helped me snowball my viewership and make some great connections.
Related Page: My Blogging Resources
Realistically, you’re not going to be in the mood or have the freedom to tackle a bunch of tasks every day, and that’s okay. Doing something for your goals on a daily basis can include taking a break!
Taking some time off means you’re still doing something positive regarding your goals. If you’re in a rut and believe the only way to get back into the swing of things with a more positive and creative mindset is to take some time off, then do it!
Related Post: 6 Reasons Why Lazy People Tend To Be More Successful.
5. Don’t share your goals until you gain some momentum
We’ve all been there. We’re excited about starting something new and begin to obsess over it. We immediately tell our friends and family, hoping we’d get their support right away.
The problem with disclosing your goals prematurely is that you have no idea if this is something you’re going to stick with. It’s a great way to significantly increase your chances of failing altogether.
Also, quite frankly, no one really cares when you’re just starting off, which is just as demotivating as it sounds. In order to be decent at something it takes some time.
Too many times have I seen someone on Facebook announce that they’re starting a fitness program. They’ll update the world on completing their daily workouts for a week or two, only to eventually fade away and never mention it again.
And it’s bizarre if you think about it. They clearly care more about the fact that people know they’re going to the gym, than doing it for themselves.
If you want to learn how to play guitar, you should buy a guitar and practice privately for a little bit. At least learn a few chords or maybe a simple song or two. This way, you can go at your own pace without the distraction of feeling like you need to impress others.
If it’s something you’re just not into anymore, then great! You won’t feel obligated to explain yourself to anyone.
When you’re comfortable enough and proud of what you’ve managed to accomplish yourself, feel free to let others in on it. People are way less capable of critiquing your goals or trying to shut them down if you can prove you have momentum. No one can argue with a good track record.
This is exactly what I did for my blog. I didn’t tell anyone I knew at first until I felt that I had a foothold in this space. I didn’t want many eyes from people I knew following my initial growth because that puts a lot of pressure on me.
At best, I would have gotten a few more page views if I told them sooner, but I definitely feel more comfortable (and arguably more successful) with the path I took.
6. Do some self-reflection
Lastly, not everything needs to be goal-oriented. Part of what makes the New Year so exciting is that it’s a great time to learn a little bit more about yourself. Understanding yourself better is fundamental to goal setting, but it’s also fundamental to feeling good about yourself.
I like to use the holidays as a time to reflect a little bit. What are some of my repeat failures? What are the activities that make me the happiest? A few years ago, I thought I was an “every woman” who wanted to be accepted into every group I came across. Now, I know myself and understand what I’m capable of (and don’t waste my energy trying to be someone I’m not).
Striving to stay true to yourself is always a good thing to keep in mind at any point in the year. Take some time to think and reflect.
There are plenty of mindfulness apps, such as Headspace, that will give you prompts to think about as you meditate. You can also practice mindfulness at any point when you’re alone. There’s a reason why “shower thoughts” are so insightful.
Related Post: Why Being An Introvert Rules.
I hope these resolution alternatives have been helpful. January may be over, but that doesn’t mean your goals need to be!
What do your new goals look like?