10 WAYS TO SMASH YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS & GOALS
It’s the New Year again and you have probably drank a little too much booze, ate a little too much chocolate and indulged in some of the festive debauchery. It’s Christmas, we are British and it’s what we do best. After the hangover subsides it’s then time for the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, do not fear, as it is the new year and with the new year brings a fresh slate. New goals, new ambitions and a new you. This year is going to be different, trust me.
Many of us start the year with great ambition and gusto but by the end of January we have failed to use the expensive gym we signed up to, we bailed on the latest fad diet and somehow we’ve fallen back into our bad habits.
We have all been there, so firstly don’t worry. Do not dwell in the past as this is an area of your life you most definitely can’t change. Instead of wasting energy in that space, use it to fuel change in the present and future.
Only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions (1). You will be part of the 8%!
You need to understand that humans are habitual creatures and any change is painful and difficult. We need an armoury of weapons to feed our mind, body and soul so that we can grow the changes we want.
“10 Ways to Smash your New Year’s Resolutions & Goals” will help you combat your status quo and drive positive change through 2019 and beyond!
1.DEFINE YOUR LIFE MISSION & PURPOSE
Tough opener I know, but it’s all about putting first things first. You wouldn’t get in your car and drive unknowingly in any direction. You need to know where you are going (the goal), how to get there (resources / activities) and how you know when you get there (measures of success).
Knowing your life goal(s) is essential because you can’t set effective annual goals (New Year’s Resolutions) without them.
Why do you get out of the bed in the morning and what is the impact you want to have on the world? I told you it was a tough opener.
Walk, relax, meditate (if that’s your thing) and figure out what you really want away from all the distractions. Grab a pen and just start writing. You can refine your scribbles as you keep going deeper and deeper into what you truly want to achieve. It might be related to health, money, a career, travel, love, it can be anything you truly desire.
What do you want to achieve in your lifetime?
Be honest with yourself and ensure you motivation is truly intrinsic (for you) and not extrinsic (to impress other people) as this shift is essential for long lasting change and a sense of contentment.
The answers to this question can be more general as it is an over-arching life theme. For example – “I want to help young people with their mental health challenges.” or “I want to inspire people to make positive life changes”.
Consider what you want to attain 10, 15, or 20 years from now. What would an average day look like, who are you spending time with, what are you doing, where are you living, what material possessions do you own, etc, etc.
Life goals are not set in stone and it’s granted in life that you may take a few wrong turns. As long as you are heading in the right direction then you will eventually reach your destination. Think of it like a ship following a compass rather than a car following a sat nav.
2.FOCUS ON TWO OR THREE MAJOR GOALS FOR 2019
It is so tempting to set an array of New Year’s Resolutions and goals on January the 1st when you are so full of hope and gusto. Outside of day job, socialising, eating, hygiene, sleeping, family commitments, etc., we only have a finite resource of time.
Figure out what is really important to you and centre it around your life goals, beliefs, values and desires. What small number of activities, people and actions give you the most joy and reward? I can’t answer that for you.
For me personally, my two most important values are balance and ethics. They transcend all parts of my life and subsequent goals.
Hence why I decided to start an ethical fragrance brand that gives back to men’s mental health but I also wanted to keep a sense of balance with my own family (I love spending time with my wife, son and dog) and my mental/physical health so I’ve been very mindful of checking in with regards to what I’m doing every day, week and month and how much I’m stretching that sense of balance.
Try not to bite of more than you can chew. If you succeed in reaching your goals half way through the year then sit down and set some more! Start with small micro-goals so that you can build momentum fast and get some quick wins under your belt as you climb the mountain to your larger goals.
Make sure you give yourself a pat on the back as well! Be mindful of your self-talk if you don’t reach a goal as the conversation we have with ourselves is the most important one of all.
3.MAKE YOUR GOALS POSITIVE
A simple and effective strategy is to make your New Year’s Resolutions and goals attractive and positive.
For example, “I won’t eat junk food” sounds rather depressing when compared to “I will eat healthy, high energy foods 80% of the week”.
Sublimely your brain will be more likely to act on the goal phrased in a positive manner so think about how you are going to trick yourself into completing your goal. Call it “Mind Hacking”.
You can also associate your goal to a positive image or another higher level goal. For example, “I will eat healthy, high energy foods 80% of the week because I want to look good for my wedding in the Summer”. You could add an image of someone who looks ‘healthy’ for you and use it to visualise your goal.
Write your goals down, look at them every day or at least every week as this is another ‘Mind Hack’ to ensure you reach them.
4.BE SMART STUPID
Make your New Year’s Resolutions and goals SMART. That’s specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
Specific – Clearly define your goal. Identify exactly what you want to accomplish. Make them clear, concise and valid.
(Bad) Write a blog.
(Good) I will write a blog titled “How to achieve happiness”.
Measurable – You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Quantify the result of your goal to whether or not you have met it.
(Bad) Earn more money from my job.
(Good) I will gain a promotion into a managerial role and earn £40K a year.
Actionable – Every goal should start with an action verb and be set in a positive tone.
(Bad) Be more consistent with exercise.
(Good) I will exercise 4 times a week.
Realistic – Your goal(s) should be hard but achievable. You have to strike up a balance between what is stretching you outside your comfort zone and what is unattainable.
(Bad) Fly to the moon.
(Good) I will learn how to fly a micro plane.
Time-bound – Associate a date with your goal. Your goals won’t all finish on the 31st December 2019 so figure out your time frames.
(Bad) Lose 10% body fat.
(Good) I will lose 10% body fat by the 31st March 2018.
You can now combine all your SMART requirements to make some awesome goals. Some examples could be:
I will look and feel healthier by losing 5% body fat and limiting junk food to once a week until the 31st March 2019.
I will help other people by volunteering once a week throughout the whole of 2019.
I will expand my view of the world by visiting three new countries by the end of 2019
I will read ten books by influential historical figures by the end of 2019.
I will learn a new language so that I can speak it fluently when I visit Spain on August 31st 2019.
I will run 3 times a week so that I can complete the London marathon in April 2019.
5. BREAK BIG GOALS DOWN INTO SUB-GOALS
Once you’ve created your major New Year’s Resolutions or goals, create monthly sub-goals for each one. The idea is that your monthly sub-goals will very clearly lead to you accomplishing your major goals for the year.
For example if your large goal is “I will run a marathon on the 31st June 2019 under 4 hours” then you could break down the overall distance of 26.2 miles into a target mileage for each month.
You could set monthly sub-goals such as “I will run 6 miles without stopping by the end of January 2019”.
The whole objective is to break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks so that you can keep up momentum, morale and motivation.
6.PLAN, SCHEDULE AND PRIORITISE
What you do every day and every week will determine where you are at the end of the month and therefore determine where you are at the end of the year.
It’s no big surprise that successful people put in the hours every day. Hours that directly bring them closer to their goal.
The small daily and weekly changes will snowball into your annual goal(s). Therefore you must plan your day, week and month if you are serious about achieving your goals.
Get planning already!
7.WRITE, VISUALISE AND REMIND YOURSELF
People with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them when compared to those without written goals (2).
Your brain is a magical device and the act of writing down your New Year’s Resolutions sublimely leads you closer to your goals. So it’s probably a good idea just to write them to edge your chances of success.
Write your goals up on nice piece of paper, make it colourful, clear and then stick it up somewhere so that you can see it every day. You can have your very own goals poster!
Outcome visualisation involves envisioning yourself achieving your goal. To do this, create a detailed mental image of the desired outcome using all of your senses. For example, if your goal is to run your first marathon, visualise yourself crossing the finish line in the time you desire. It’s just another ‘Mind Hack’ to add to your repertoire.
8. REFLECT, REVIEW AND REVAMP
Your New Year’s Resolutions and goals aren’t set in stone. You change, situations change and your environment can change. Continuously reflect on your goals, review them and revamp them if that’s required.
You could use 10 minutes every Sunday to revisit your goal poster and reflect on what stage you are at, how it is going, if you need to make any changes and if you need some particular resource or help.
9.IMPROVE YOUR ENERGY LEVELS
You need high energy, motivation and drive to succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions and goals. 92% of New Years goals fail by January 15th (2). Don’t worry, you will be part of the 8%!
We live in a society filled with information, distractions, instant gratification and low energy activities.
Why read a book when you can watch a whole box set on Netflix. Why visit your best friend when you can message them on social media. Why cook your own food when you can order takeaway. Why play sport when you can virtually partake in the comfort your own home. The list is endless.
These activities in balance are fine but if you find yourself struggling to do the things you truly want to do then your lifestyle will need to be addressed.
Your energy levels can be increased simply by eating healthy whole foods, limiting screen time, exercising, reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and drugs (legal or illegal), limiting social media and controlling when and what information you receive.
For example, multi-tasking has been proven to lower output. 40% of productivity is lost by task switching (3). Basically, just do one thing at a time.
Turn off your mobile phone notifications and decide when you want to read your emails, Facebook alerts, Instagram pop ups, headline news banners, etc, etc, etc. Turn it all off and check once or twice a day. I promise you, your productivity will go up.
Another benefit of controlling what gets your attention is that you will become more mindful of the moment you are in. You can improve your social relationships and you can also reduce stress and anxiety.
10.SHARE GOALS AND CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS
Share your New Year’s Resolutions and goals with your partner, close friends and family. If you are brave then you could even share them on social media.
If you reach a goal then make sure you tell people and celebrate. Allow yourself a treat or do something special to celebrate the fact that you are one of the 8% that nailed their New Years Resolutions. Don’t forget to let me know as well!
Good luck with 2019 and I know you will reach some of your goals!