As the buzz from the festive season winds down, and you begin to settle back into your daily routine, you might find that your new year’s resolutions have become nothing but a distant memory.
This is all too common – every year people come in hot looking to change themselves for the better, and little by little that spark that keeps you motivated starts to fade. So, what’s the issue? And more importantly, what can be done to turn these goals into sustainable practices? Here are a few suggestions.
One of the biggest mistakes when setting any goal is to set big expectations but provide little or no plan to help you achieve it. This sets a mental roadblock, with the destination feeling miles away, and can lead to intense burnout as you begin to feel like you’re making no progress.
The solution? Get specific. It’s fine to have a long-term goal, but to keep your motivation high you need to make sure to set some milestones along the way. A detailed roadmap helps to keep the end goal in sight as the year goes on, and also rations out dopamine with each little success, giving you the energy to keep up your self improvement all year round.
Keep it consistent
Starting out, a new resolution might feel burdensome to incorporate into your daily routine, but by keeping a consistent schedule, you will find that over time it becomes easier and easier to carry out.
Consistency helps your mind to transform this new task into a habit, making it second nature to get up and get on with. By having a consistent time or place where you carry out this task, you will gradually start to associate that particular trigger with the activity, making it much easier to sustain throughout the year.
Check in with yourself
Life comes at you fast, and while you may visualise your self improvement journey a certain way, circumstances change and as such it is good practice to take the time to check in with yourself and make sure what you are doing is still in your own best interest.
This will help keep you happy, and keep what you’re doing feasible in the long run. It is important to understand that only you set the agenda, and if there are any issues with your original plan, it is fine to switch it up to work around them. By keeping tabs on your feelings and life in relation to your goals, you are sure to catch any problems that might be on the horizon.
Remember that progress isn’t linear
One of the biggest goal killers all year round is the ‘what the hell’ effect. This is a nasty cycle that even the strongest-willed are vulnerable to if they happen to make a mistake in achieving their objective.
Maybe you are looking to read daily, but you miss a day – if so, you could keep reading the next day as if nothing happened, or you could indulge yourself in another day off – what the hell right?
This then leads to shame and regret, which leaves you remorseful and prone to indulging as a quick fix to feeling happy again – thereby starting the cycle all over again. So, it is imperative that you set out with the understanding that your progress isn’t linear, and that little slip ups are bound to happen along the way. You’re only human after all!
So the most important tip to keeping your goals sustainable all year round is that it’s fine to fail, and it’s even better to forgive yourself – you’ll be sure to thank yourself later.