Research shows this is about the time of the month that most people lose track of their New Year's resolutions. It's really no surprise because we create them with good intentions, but our strategy can be too focused on the end result and not the process that helps us get there.
At this point in your life, being excited about setting a New Years Resolution might only last as long as your sugar high from the office cookie swap. But goal setting for the new year is a socially acceptable way to make self-improvements with little judgment and why not NOW. Use the coming new year as an excuse to make some changes and 11 months from now get ready to impress the only person that matters - YOU!
The problem with many New Year's Resolutions is that they often mirror a 2nd graders declaration to be “the fastest runner alive,” they can be dauntingly unrealistic. Here are a few ways to take those sweeping New Years Resolution declarations and break them down into bite-sized goals to give you a happier healthier you.
Get My Dream Body
As an NYC personal trainer, I get this one from my clients a lot, but often what they mean is they want the body of a 20 yr old supermodel. The problem is not that it is unrealistic but that there is no way to measure it. Try instead “I want to lose 10 lbs by April 1st,” or “I want to spend 3 hrs a week in the gym.” This first step of quantifying your goal will force you to reflect on your current habits, see your hurdles, and begin to daydream about the process. You may find out very quickly that your dream body, is the one you already have.
Studies show that the biggest hurdle to feeling satisfied is sleep. Today we get about 1hr less a night than our grandparents, leaving us irritable, having less energy, and feeling unsatisfied. Everyone agrees that dealing with problems both big and small are easier after a good night's rest. But simply stating that you’re going to “get more sleep” isn’t a solid goal either.
Let’s try “I’m going to turn off my phone/laptop/tv at 930 pm every night” or “I’ll be in bed before 10 pm.” This way you’re encouraging good sleep habits with the same bedtime every night, not fixating on counting the number of hours of asleep or shifting your TV watching around a changing wake-up time. Going to bed earlier will solve this problem on its own giving you ample time for a good night's rest.
Make More Money
Of course, you want to make more money, but for what? Being clear on why you want to make more money can help give you a clear “how to.” If you want to make more money so you can enjoy your vacation weeks, maybe you’re already making enough money, but your saving techniques could use some reflection. You can turn that into “I will put away $50 a week AND NOT TOUCH IT until Nov 2019.”
Maybe make more money means a career change. Are you capped at your job? Talk to other people who have expressed similar feelings and are pursuing their own dream jobs, changing your new year resolution to “I will explore other career options while maintaining my current job.” Or maybe make more money can be “I will be more conscious about my spending” forcing you to look at credit card statements, or maybe even talk with a financial advisor about keeping money in your pocket.
As we can see, getting specific with your New Years goals can lead to actionable steps, accountability, and more self-fulfilling success. Other steps include writing down your goals and ideas, keeping track of progress, being flexible in how to achieve your goals, and taking time to celebrate those little milestones to a new and better you.
About the Author
Elizabeth Crutchfield is the Director of HomeBodies, a Manhattan Home Personal Training Service in NY. Learn more by visiting her website at HomeBodies.com