New year, same me

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

It’s that time of year again where you will undoubtedly see a tirade of posts proclaiming “new year, new me”. A New Year offers the opportunity for a fresh start; a chance to leave behind old habits and shake off the bad mojo that was hanging over your head. However, making a new years resolution could very well be setting yourself up for failure.

Most people give up on new year resolutions after two and a half weeks and the rest around mid-February. This can be for a number of reasons, for example, not setting a realistic goal or simply losing motivation. I believe making new year resolutions puts us under undue pressure to perform. There’s a brand new spanking year ahead of us, and we can’t predict the future yet we are willing to commit ourselves to goals that are often times not thought out. In reality, some goals take longer to achieve or are more difficult than others. When we set ourselves a hard and fast deadline, this is what mounts the pressure on us. Which then creates stress, which leads to resentment towards the goal and eventually… we give up.

A solution for resolutions?

If you are set on making a resolution this year, here are some ways to help you achieve them:

  1. Why

Think about your motivation for creating this change in your life. Are you doing it for yourself or external forces? It will be a lot easier to stay motivated if you are working towards a goal for yourself, rather than for someone else. 

Pro Tip: Write down all the reasons why you want to achieve this goal and revisit this list when you lack motivation.

  1. SMARTER goals

SMARTER goals are how successful people achieve their goals! When you are setting your goals for the new year, ask yourself if that goal is: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, evaluated and reviewed. The latter two being more important once you have achieved the goal.

You probably know about SMART goals already, but the -ER is an important part of goal setting. It’s about reflecting and evaluating how you reached the goal. How did you overcome the challenges? What did you learn? How will this help you in the future?

  1. IT’S OKAY TO STRUGGLE, but remember to CELEBRATE THE LITTLE WINS

Achieving our goals won’t happen overnight, we are constantly working towards them. It can feel like the most difficult thing to keep going, especially when it doesn’t seem to be working. Remember, you are only human and you are trying to make a change in your life and that’s no easy feat. Reach out to family and friends as they are an invaluable source of support. Take a break if you need it.

And reward yourself for staying on track, and completing the smaller goals that will help you achieve your main goal.

With this new year, I won’t be making any resolutions. Simply because I believe that we are constantly growing and developing, and as such our goals should develop along with us. 

I already have goals in place that I am working towards, because creating change in our lives does not have to wait for a new year. We can set ourselves goals whenever we desire, and the deadline can be as long as we want.

We might set a goal, but realise a few months down the line that our lives are headed in a completely different direction and that goal we set is no longer appropriate. At which point, a rethink is needed. It might even involve a complete 360, but that’s okay. Development is a working progress.

A New Year does not have to mean a complete overhaul of who you are as a person. It’s about taking each day as a new opportunity to be better and do better.

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