It’s G.O. Month with C.G.O… All month long, we’ll be visiting tips and challenges to get our lives, homes, offices and time more organized. It’s Monday, so today is a Life Organizing day.
Today: How to Make and Keep Your New Year’s Resolution.
I’ve said before that I’ve always felt that I do best starting a new plan on a Monday. That’s why any time I have a New Years Resolution, I launch it on the First Monday of the year.
I don’t always have resolutions. And even when I have had one, some years, I’ve been better at keeping them than others. I’ll bet some of you can say the same. But don’t you think we all deserve to have a great year ahead, and make sure that we’re still on a great track, even more than 3 weeks into the year? According to scientists (so it must be true, right?) it takes 66 days to create a new habit. That’s more than 2 months. So, how do we all make sure we’re on track more than 2 months from now, which gives us a better chance of success?
So, in today’s Life Organizing post, I’m sharing with you today the best ways to make and keep your resolution this year!
1. Make a Good One. I’m not talking about what you pick; I’m talking about what you create and call your resolution. Make sure it is:
- Meaningful – you should feel that achieving this resolution is going to make a big impact in your life, and you can see what life will be like when you achieve it. Changing habits and behavior can be really hard work; it’s important to have a vision of what you’re working so hard for, even when times are tougher.
- Specific and clear – “Lose weight”… eh. It’s easy to see that there is a difference between losing one pound and losing twenty. Be specific.
- Measurable – Make it quantifiable whenever you can. “Swear less” is hard… less than what? How will you know you achieved it if it isn’t measurable?
- Achievable – A goal should be a stretch, but make it one you have a decent chance of making happen. “Become an Olympic Skier” might not be achievable if a) you’ve never skied before and b) you have a full time job and no real access to a ski mountain every week. The best resolutions are ones that you can actually set up a plan to achieve. Lose 10 pounds? Sounds good. Lose 100 pounds this year? Do you really have the time, support system and dedication to make that happen? If not, you might find yourself derailed by February and giving up on the plan altogether.
- Time-bound – Know when you want to achieve this goal. Is it December 31? That’s fine. But you’re going to want to think about stages that you’ll need to hit along the way to achieve things. Maybe you need to break it down; “Learn a new language this year” might be “Put a new savings plan into place by end of January, and continue to save 10% of our income each month.”
2. Make a Plan. Think about what you’ll need to put in place to be successful, and whether you have what you need on Day One.
- Do you know what you need to know? Is it something that requires a bit of research?
- Do you need any resources or tools for this resolution? Even something as simple as training for a 5k may need a pedometer and a great playlist!
- Do you need to speak with a doctor first to develop a plan?
- Are you *really* ready to make this change? Make sure you’re honest with yourself. Readiness can not only mean on your own (“Yes, even though I ate 2 donuts for breakfast yesterday, I’m *totally* ready to stop eating donuts today”) but making sure you’ve got the support you need around you.
- Is anyone else impacted by this, and onboard? If your resolution is about eating healthier this year, is there someone else in the house whose diet might be impacted, but, um, they’re not so into that change? Think about either how to get them on the same page with your plan, or to make sure they don’t end up in your way.
3. Be Accountable. Your resolution has a much better chance of being “sticky” and achieving success if you’re accountable to yourself and to someone else. When we have a partner we can share our goals, progress, mistakes and ultimately, success with, we stick with things longer, run our commitment deeper, and find more ways to deal with the challenges that come our way.
- Track your behavior in writing (electronically or on paper). Whether your resolution surrounds steps or calories or days without cigarette or weeks without spending, take weekly stock of what you’re doing well (or not so well) and keep an eye on how you’re REALLY doing.
- Find others with a similar resolution to have as an accountability buddy, help support each other, keep each other honest and on track. So many people can use social media now to help connect with one or one thousand people to help share their goal and their progress today.
- Think about joining something that is (or feels like) a support group. If you’re taking on a big challenge that really has some life change to it, find like-minded people (even if they’re on the internet and you never meet them in person) to find kindred spirits, best practices, and great tips you can use to get through the tougher times.
4. Plan for Failure. Changing habits means tough work sometimes. There will be slip ups, missed goals, lazy days, cheat days, whatever. It doesn’t have to mean the end of the longer resolution.
- Be realistic and acknowledge that tough days and less-than-perfect days are in your future. No one is perfect at anything let alone any of us who are trying to change something meaningful about our lives.
- Figure out what your minimum is. On less than perfect days or weeks, is there an activity that you can use to “check the box” ? Some sort of, “Well, at least I got THIS done…” to help you move forward? Maybe it’s as simple as, “Well, I didn’t run a single mile this week, but at least I did 5 minutes of jumping jacks tonight before the weekend ended.”
- Figure out a way for a “failure” to not feel like the total end of your resolution, and adopt a “clean slate” approach for the next day!
5. Identify and Reward Progress, and Celebrate Success!
- Many resolutions involve multiple steps to achieve. “Run a Marathon Before The End of the Year” is great, if you were already running half marathons. If you’ve never run a 5k before, you’re going to want to start out with shorter goals that BUILD to your ultimate goal. Identify the natural steps you’ll need to accomplish that go into your bigger goal. Maybe quitting something Cold Turkey isn’t the best answer for you for your resolution, and you need to chart out what a decrease looks like.
- At each step of progress and achievement, make sure you’re celebrating the small wins! Maybe set some small rewards and goals: “If I run a 10k, I’ll treat myself to a spa day” or something that feels like a great reward to you for making progress against your big goals, keeping you motivated along the way.
That’s just 5 things to keep in mind to make and keep your resolution this year. Think about the resolution you told yourself on New Years Day you had for this year. Did you change anything about what it is or how you’ll tackle it after reading this? I hope so! Share your own resolution below!