Here are some suggestions on how to turn your goals into sustainable, achievable resolutions:
- Choose your resolutions carefully. These should be things that you are really ready to work on, not just things that you think you should work on.
- Be realistic: Set yourself up for success. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make it manageable. This year’s goal can be part of a longer-term goal that you plan to achieve gradually. It doesn’t all have to be done now.
- Focus on actions, not results: Identify what you can do to move towards your goal. We can only change our own behavior, not necessarily the results of that behavior. Some things are out of our hands- for example, the reactions and behaviors of other people.
- Write them down. This changes an idea into a decision into a commitment.
- Be very specific. If you want to quit or start something, set firm dates for yourself regarding what precisely you are committed to do (or not do) on that date.
- Know WHY you want to change it. You will be able to remind yourself of this if you slip up and/or if your motivation is waning.
- Do not try to change too many things at once. Each habit that you want to change has taken a long time to develop and it will take some focused time and attention to alter your usual routine. Be patient.
- Let other people know. Change is hard, and it is important to enlist a support network to encourage you along the way. This becomes a higher level of commitment.
- Don’t give up just because you get off track. Just revise your dates/goals, if necessary and start afresh. Many people give up goals too quickly because they feel like they have already failed and will just be setting themselves up for more failure if they try to stick to the original plan. Be flexible, be nice to yourself, and remember that virtually everyone slips up. It is all part of the process of positive change.