We all start getting wrapped up into New Years now that the storm of Christmas is over. We begin to contemplate what we are going to give up, change or join for the New Year. There is just one small problem with that, it almost always never works. In fact, up to 80% of all resolutions fail by February. We either loss interest, set an impossible goal and resolute to change something that we do not have any control of. What if you went into the New Year with the mindset that you were going to love yourself more.
Now that I just blew you resolution making out of the water lets talk about how to make a resolution that doesn’t fail, be SMART, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. When we use this technique, you are more apt to be successful because you need to create smaller goal, ultimately leading to a bigger picture.
Let’s use the most popular New Year’s Resolution: I want to be healthier in the new year. What does that even mean, health is relative. A better goal is I want to be fitter in the New Year by Running my first 5k by March 2018. This goal states the what, the how, and the when all within a time-period that is completely doable.
Next be honest with yourself and stick to one thing. If quitting smoking is your main objective then stick to that. People will often bite off more than one thing, thinking they relate, like I will quit smoking and get healthy by eating better. What does eating better have to do with smoking. You will be healthier the second you quit smoking. Sadly, we know that most addictive behaviors are replaced with other addictive behaviors so get the help you need, that is where being honest with yourself is so important. You can’t do everything alone and that is ok.
To help yourself, arrange your environment for success. This might mean changing your social group too. If you are trying not to smoke, hanging outside at lunch with the smoking crew might not be in your best interest. Instead go for a walk, eat in a park or meditate. Fear not, if your friends are truly your friends they will not hate you for missing the smoke break….and you never know they may just join you.
Lastly, graph your success and celebrate. This is easy when quitting smoking, the packs you don’t buy is money that you put right in a nice little bank account. 10$ per day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month….you get the point that’s a lot of money. However, if running is your thing, or going to the gym, get a calendar mark what you did and how long or get a Fitbit or other devise to help log your success. These activity trackers are a great way to keep motivated as it tells you when to move and will use different badge and sparkly light ups. Very Cool!
Make this year work for you. Share your successes, surround yourself with a positive support team and understand that this is a journey like all others. It will be hard, it will be long, but it is worth it, because you are worth it.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.