Setting New Years resolutions that stick
With the new year looming so many of us are thinking of what we want to achieve in 2019. And making resolutions is a good thing – effective goal setting gives you a sense of direction and purpose, boosts your motivation and narrows your attention. Not to mention that working towards goals is proven to boost happiness and success.
But, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about setting a new years resolution. Here are five golden rules for effective goal setting to give you the best chance of celebrating success at the end of the year:
You’re no doubt familiar with the SMART goal formula; that is, your goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic & Time-bound. Saying “I want to get fit” or “I want to save money” is too general. Phrase your resolution in SMART terms to it’s clear what you’re working towards.
What’s also important to know is that STRETCH goals are more motivating than easy ones so when you’re setting goals, so aim high! Think about what might be achievable and then push yourself just a little bit out of your comfort zone. Not so far that you feel discouraged by it, but enough that you need to work that bit harder!
Write it down, make it happen
Take the time to write down your goals in the present tense (as if you’ve already achieved them). For example, “It’s the end of the year and I feel AMAZING because I have achieved.... [my SMART goal]…” Then read it regularly to keep it front and centre of your mind. When you’re thinking about your resolution daily you’re more likely to keep working towards it.
Focus on the feels
Ultimately, when we set a goal, what we really want is the feeling that will come from achieving it. Consider how you will feel when you reach your goal. Maybe it’s happiness, pride or satisfaction. Be sure to be specific about the feelings when you write down your goal and consciously connect with that feeling as you visualise achieving your goal so that your brain links the goal with the emotion. You can enhance the positive feeling by putting a motivating image up on your fridge or bathroom mirror to inspire you to keep going.
Set meaningful milestones and (non-food) rewards!
Chunking down your goals into smaller bite-sized pieces helps keep you motivated when the finish line feels a long way off. Acknowledge all those milestones with a reward that supports your efforts. Perhaps some new clothes, a massage or a day out. Our brains naturally default to focusing on our flaws or slip-ups so it’s important that you make the effort to focus on what you’re doing well and rewarding your little wins!