There’s an old saying ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions!’ That’s a bit harsh, but it’s true that the route to disappointment and low self-esteem can be created by breaking the promises you make to yourself. Why go through all that and start the year on a duff note? Find out how to improve your life permanently by following our tips.
- Treating each day as a new beginning
- Forgiving yourself for slip-ups
- Counting what you’ve achieved
CHOOSE WITH CARE
Keeping your resolutions starts with picking and planning realistically. Of course, this does not mean that you set your sights on something that requires no effort at all. But it does mean achievable goals. For instance, however overweight you feel you are, saying you’re going to lose a stone by the end of January could be too much. Far better to aim for half a stone. Determined to go to the gym more? Three times a week could work, but if you commit to going every day you could soon let yourself down.
So bear in mind the following:
- How much time do you have to spare?
- What resources do you have? Transport, money, support etc
- How difficult is your goal going to be? If you’re taking on something challenging it may be best to ensure that you only have one thing to cope with
- Make sure your goal is something chosen by you. Pressure from others, however well-meaning, rarely works unless you are motivated
If you keep your resolutions fairly modest then success is more likely. Success is heartening and will inspire you to greater things. By the end of the year you may achieve far beyond expectations, just because your initial choice was sensible.
TAKE IT STEP BY STEP
You may feel inspired to do something dramatic, and that’s all very well, but huge efforts can make you run of steam. Far better to have bite size pieces so you can gain a sense of achievement day by day, week by week.
For example, if you’re going to write a book, thinking about producing 80,000 words may be daunting. Even 5,000 a week might seem like a lot. But promise yourself you will write for 3 hours per week and you are set for success, even if that time is spent planning and re-writing.
Similarly with weight loss. 1 or 2 kilos per week is much less demanding than three stone total. You can also measure success by healthy eating and exercise.
If you have decided to do something radical like give up smoking, count your success by the days you do not smoke, rather than thinking of the rest of your life as a cigarette-free zone.
Day follows day, achievement builds on achievement, and a few weeks down the line you realise that you have come quite a long way!
EVERY DAY IS A NEW ONE
Most of us would love to change several things about ourselves and our lives. Often it seems like this should be easy, but we are all human. A low mood, something someone says or does, some bad news – all of these can throw us and take away our energy and motivation. Before you know where you are you’ve broken all your golden rules and those fabulous changes have gone out of the window.
But that is just now, today, in this moment. A slip does not mean disaster. You can always start again!
If you can let go of any all-or-nothing thinking you will be doing yourself a massive favour. Every morning is a new beginning and you just dust yourself off and start again.
FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR ‘FAILURE’
It’s a few days or weeks into January and all your good intentions are in tatters. You feel bad and you’re probably saying some horrible things to yourself such as ‘I’m rubbish’ ‘I’ll never be any good’ and any of a host of negative, punishing remarks.
Now just stop that! If you didn’t keep your resolves, ask yourself why. Were they just too hard? Did you lack the right back-up? Has something unforeseen happened to drag you down? Or did you simply not plan properly?
Forgive yourself for not coming up to the standards you set. You’re trying your best. At least you’ve had the motivation to set yourself goals, even if you haven’t reached them.
Isolate the reasons why your resolutions haven’t worked and re-frame them. This isn’t ‘failure’, it’s a lesson learnt. Hopefully you now know more about yourself and can go forward more wisely and realistically. Set your sights lower, get organized and go forwards.
COUNT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Remind yourself of every little thing you achieve, every day – or even half day – you have kept to your resolution, everything you have learnt and every positive aspect you can think of connected to your efforts.
You could stick gold stars in a note-book or diary, keep a journal or simply set aside five minutes a day to reflect on how amazing you are! Everyone benefits from positive input. Give yourself some and go from strength to strength!
HOW WE CAN HELP
Now you know how to choose your goals, take things step by step, see every day as a new beginning, forgive yourself for slipping up and count your achievements. You should now be empowered to make some beneficial changes, but help is always a good thing and our Readers offer it in abundance! For that extra encouragement and insight, call today and be set on your way to a truly Happy New Year!
PUBLISHED: 01 January 2018