When it comes to the end of the year and the start of another, taking some time to reflect on the lessons learned and think about tweaks going forward can be a life enriching experience. But making sustainable resolutions can be hard! This year, save yourself wasted time and use these tips to create a fitting resolution – not without the help of Dr. Lipman. When you are brainstorming about your New Year resolution this year, feel free to use this guide as a journal exercise. Here’s what to look for in a sustainable resolution:
1) When creating a resolution, make sure the resolution is realistic, attainable, and measurable.
When you think of creating a resolution ask yourself the following:
- What am I looking to improve?
- What needs to happen in order for me to become the ideal version of myself?
- Why do I want to do this?
- What am I hoping to achieve by fulfilling this resolution?
- Is this realistic?
- Does this feel achievable?
- Is the overall resolution something that can be measured in steps/smaller goals?
Choosing a measurable and realistic resolution is at the forefront of creating an attainable resolution. It is easy to say “I want to move more,” but without thinking about if it is realistic or not, where it will be able to fit in or schedule, or if it is measurable, this goal might not become actionable. Be honest with yourself. If you feel hesitant after reflecting on your resolution or if it seems a bit out of reach – choose a resolution that allows you to take a few steps back but is still along the same path. It doesn’t mean you won’t do it, but starting with something smaller, will help you get there.
2) After choosing a measurable goal – identify the action steps that you’ll need to take to fulfill your resolution and as motivation, reflect on how completing these steps will make you feel.
When you think of creating a plan to achieve your resolution, ask yourself the following:
- Where am I now?
- What does progress look like? Feel like?
- Where do I want to be in 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
- What do I need to do to achieve my resolution?
- What do I need to change to achieve my resolution?
- Where can I start?
- What sequence of steps makes sense?
- How will each of these steps make me feel?
Every resolution has a roadmap for success – little steps that help you accomplish the overarching goal. Making a meaningful resolution requires thought to decide on what it is you want to improve to begin with, but it also requires thought on how you will make the changes and what feelings will motivate you to do so. Mapping your steps along the way will not only allow you to measure your progress, but will also help you feel confident in your ability to make the necessary changes.
3) Use your goals and strategy for success to track your progress.
Now that you have identified your resolution and established action steps to achieve it, ask yourself:
- Now that I know my steps, how will I create a plan that works?
- How will I track my progress?
Once you have your action steps outlined, creating a way to track your progress will help you put those steps into action. This could be a journal, a system of rewards, or even Todoist or the How to Be Well apps, whatever is most convenient and doable for you.
4) Accountability – set yourself up for success.
When you reflect on your resolution thus far, ask yourself the following:
- Do I need any support from those around me in order to achieve my goals?
- Is there anyone or anything that will help keep me accountable?
- How do I work best? What else do I need?
You’ve done the work – you know what your resolution is, why it is meaningful to you, what your steps are, and you’ve thought of how you will track your progress. The last part is to strategize on ways you will stay accountable. What does accountability look like to you? Perhaps this means having others keep you accountable, or even that you use an app to remind you to achieve your objective(s) like Apple Reminders or the How to Be Well app(with notifications on!). Whatever you feel is missing from allowing you to achieve your resolution!
5) Remember that mistakes are inevitable, be patient with yourself – you’ll get there.
Finally, know that in achieving anything, mistakes will be made. Try your best to avoid taking it out on yourself, it is part of the process! Take time to learn from each mistake, be patient with yourself, rest and get back on track.
6) Lastly, if you can’t think of a resolution, here are some of Dr. Lipman’s proposed focuses:
- More Moving, Less sitting
- More Being, Less Doing
- More Slow, Less Hurry
- More Outdoors, Less Indoors
- More Smiles, Less Anger
- More Eating In, Less Eating Out
- More Letting Go, Less Holding On
- More Relation, Less Isolation
- More Music, Less Noise
- More Gratitude, Less Attitude
Keep in mind, research shows that it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become second nature, no changes that are worth it happen overnight, stay persistent and patient. And, remember, all successes matter, big or small! Let’s see what this new year brings.