How to KEEP Your Resolutions
Here are my 5 tricks to making a resolution stick:
1. SET ONLY ONE GOAL
I know, the over-achiever in us wants to tackle all our shortcomings at once, and what better time to do this than at the start of a new year? Setting several goals and maintaining progress is like trying to juggle several new balls while you already have balls in the air.
Pick one new goal to add to the mix. Limiting your resolutions to one at a time may be difficult, but pick ONE really important goal. You will be more likely to succeed if you keep your expectations simple. (Remember, once you achieve your single goal you can always move on to the next one on your list!)
2. MAKE IT MEASURABLE
- I want to be more cheerful.
- I want to be a better mom.
- I want to be healthier.
All these desires make great ambitions, but are horrible goals. A measurable version of the above statements would look like:
- I will smile at 10 people everyday.
- I will spend 5 minutes of one-on-one time with each of my children every night.
- I am cutting out carbonated beverages.
Not only is the second set of statements measurable, but they are in doses that you can handle.
3. TEAM UP WITH AN EXISTING HABIT
There are things we do everyday without much thought. If you team up your new goal with one you have already mastered, then you are more likely to succeed. If you brush your teeth every night before bed, make its partner writing in your journal. Do you put the milk back in the fridge daily? Try saying one positive thing to your teenager every time you put the milk away. You may have to get creative, but pairing up a new goal with an existing one is a great way to find success.
You need accountability. Maybe it is only to yourself or your dog, or your Aunt Barbara via private message on Facebook. Pick a frequent “check-in” time to report to your supportive individual on how you are doing. Discuss and evaluate what is working and what isn’t so you can find success.
5. TRY AND TRY AGAIN
There is a story circulating about Thomas Edison saying:
“I have not failed 700 times to make a better light bulb. I haven’t failed once. I have found 700 ways that won’t work. I will find the way that will work.”
Whether or not the quote is accurate may never be known, but the message is as clear as a light bulb: keep trying until you find a way that works! Think of how many skills or habits you have had to try again and again before you mastered it and found success.
My friend Laura said, “When a baby is learning to walk and stumbles and falls, we don’t say, ‘Look, she is stumbling.’ No, we exclaim, ‘Look she is walking!'”
Often people give up on their resolutions because they were not met with success, or they fell off the wagon for a day. Failure isn’t measured by how many times we fall; rather, success comes as we keep getting back up. The same concept can be said of whatever endeavors we pursue.