New Year’s resolutions left unresolved

With the coming of every new year, lots of people make resolutions to help start it off right. However, finishing it the same way is often a different and much less successful story.

Some people choose to focus on things like losing weight, cutting ties with bad habits and friends, getting out of the house more or being more organized. Others decide to save more money, quit smoking or pursue a new hobby.

Whatever the choice, a new year’s resolution is no different than any other goal and should be treated with the same seriousness if it is to be accomplished.

The clock will always strike 12, and the next day and new year will always roll around, but whether someone is ready to change with the date is not as promising. People tend to set higher expectations and place more weight on their New Year’s resolutions when they are not yet truly ready to face them all.

The journey usually runs smoothly for the first week or two, but soon after, reality sets in and the goals are swept beneath the rug with all the suspiciously similar resolutions set the previous years before.

Short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals and should be spread out appropriately and addressed regularly. Focusing on too many goals at once or goals that are disproportionately unrealistic is a set-up for failure.

The same is true for expecting to quit something cold turkey or setting high hopes for a completely changed life and expecting to feel like a brand new person overnight. The first step for successful new year’s resolutions is to not wait until New Year’s to set them.

If there is a person spreading bad energy in someone’s life, they shouldn’t be allowed to remain there for any amount of time. If a habit is wreaking havoc on someone’s health, they shouldn’t continue to do it. If anything is making someone unhappy, they shouldn’t wait until a new year to change it.

Truly reaching a goal should not be seen as a singular action to accomplish, but an entirely new way of life to pursue each and every day. This requires just as many small and internal steps as outwardly big ones. Not only does the person’s action have to change, but the thought process behind it must also be re-wired.

Goals should be realistic and specific. For example, choosing a goal to be happier is not as effective as choosing a goal to do more of a specific thing that makes you happy. Goals should also have a set amount of time in which you accomplish them and a game plan to help you stay on track. An accountability buddy could also be helpful.

Rewards are a great way not only to celebrate the accomplishments, but also to foster motivation to continue. Something as simple as a celebratory glass of wine or a trip to your favorite store can be an awesome refresher, as long as it doesn’t feed the habit you’re trying to break.

Focusing on the present moment instead of the past or distant future can also keep people grounded and feeling more in control and able to conquer the day–which leads to conquering the weeks, month and years.

“New year, new me” may be a popular phrase, but it is not necessarily the most healthy way of seeing things. A new year ultimately does not guarantee a new person, and it actually may take multiple years of constant work to see a significant difference.

Goals are always great, but they can only be accomplished with the right procedures behind them.