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A new year is just around the corner. Another blank slate, a new chance is here. The possibilities are exciting and empowering.
There’s a lot of naysaying around New Year’s resolutions. After all, some 90% of people don’t see their plans through. Maybe you’ve personally set some goals in the past that you haven’t accomplished. Maybe this is a pattern for you— you set ambitious goals for the year, but by the time March rolls around, your motivation has fizzled out.
I get it, because I’ve been there. It seems like every January, I’m listing out some big dreams for the year, and every June, I’m reviewing and realizing that I haven’t made a dent in many of them. But I’ve also been very successful with other goals, including the allusive “This year I’m going to exercise!” one. After triumphing with some resolutions and falling flat on my face with others (as well as coaching many women with similar goals), I know what it takes to succeed.
In January 2014, I decided that I was going to start an exercise routine. Notice my word choice there—I decided.
At that time, I had a newborn baby and a 17-month-old toddler, plus a full-time job in retail. I faced some difficult obstacles. Among the challenges in front of me: Time, energy, and motivation. I had set similar goals before and had failed. I had never exercised consistently and therefore had never been in good shape. And this time, as a mom of two, I was in an unprecedented situation. But I was determined.
Today, as the dawn of 2019 approaches, I have been exercising consistently for 5 years. I lost 40 pounds within the first six months of starting. My pre-pregnancy clothes finally fit again. But more than that, I felt a confidence that was entirely new to me. Not only because I had lost the weight, but because I accomplished something that I’d never done. This past year, I ran my first half marathon after having my third baby in May (you can read more about that experience here). I even began coaching other women, first as a fitness coach and then as a certified life coach.
So, I don’t care about what the statistics say, what you’ve done in the past, or what obstacles you face—you can be successful if you make up your mind to be. Here are some tips on how to succeed with your New Year’s resolution…for real this time!
1. Make a Decision
First off…Don’t be wishy-washy about your goals, whatever they may be. Decide what you want to achieve this year and set your mind to it. Wishy-washy goals will be forgotten. If it helps, call your goals “plans” instead. You’re more likely to follow through with plans than goals, right?
Check out this post for some amazing planners that can help you get organized and reach your goals: https://getlifeyoudesire.com/best-goal-planners-to-reach-your-goals/
2. Create Your Plan and Focus on the First Month
After deciding what your plans are, break them down into increments. You know what you want to accomplish this year, but what do you want to accomplish in January? What do you want to accomplish in the first week? Personally, I like to think in 90-day increments. At the beginning of a new year though, I find it helpful to focus on smaller time frames. Start with the first day, the first week, and then the first month. After you experience some success, then shift your focus to longer increments.
3. Commit Your Goals to Paper
You might think this suggestion is silly and be tempted to skip it. Don’t do it. Studies show that you’re 42% more likely to succeed at written goals than unwritten ones. Why would you skip a simple step that increases your chances of reaching your goals? Just do it!
Along with your plan, be sure to include how you plan to reach your goals. When will work towards them? What will you do? How will you evaluate progress?
4. Narrow Your List Down
If you’re like me, the new year tempts you to make a full-page list of lofty goals that all require time, energy, and commitment. But we need to be realistic. If we aren’t focused on one or two things, it’s easy for us to spread ourselves too thin and achieve nothing.
You can list out several goals, but you should choose a few that will be your biggest focus. To choose, decide which ones will make the biggest difference in your life. You should also examine your values. What’s most important you? For me, it’s my relationship with God, my family, and other loved ones. So, if I create a plan that takes all my time and energy away from my relationships, then my goals aren’t in line with my true values. Instead, I should make sure that I include these relationships in my plan as one of my top priorities.
5. Anticipate the Roadblocks You’ll Encounter
No matter what your plans are, something is bound to go wrong. After all, a year is a long time. Life happens, we get busy, our kids get sick, our schedules change… These occurrences are not surprises. They are to be expected. When you’re committing your plans to paper, list out possible obstacles and how you will handle them. Which leads me to the next point…
6. Be Flexible with Your Methods
If your goal is finally getting into shape this year, maybe you’ll start off on January 1st by going to the gym. You start out strong, carving out the 90-120 minutes you’ll need each day to drive there, get your kids checked into daycare, work out, shower, pick the kids up, and get back home. Maybe this will work for you. Or maybe you’ll find that it isn’t sustainable with your schedule. What do you do?
You adjust your method. Get creative. Figure out something that will work with your lifestyle and schedule. But don’t change your goal. Can you work out at home? There are plenty of home workout programs that can be done even in small spaces with limited equipment. Or can you create time by giving up a different activity in your life?
Maybe your goal is to build your home-based business and create a full-time income, but a few months in, you realize that you’re not on track. If you’ve been putting the time and effort in, it’s time to evaluate your methods. It’s OK to try a different way and find what works best.
7. Expect Motivation to Wear Off
I couldn’t tell you the number of times that someone has said to me “I wish I had your motivation.” I never know what to say, but what I should say is, “Motivation has nothing to do with it.” OK, so motivation has a tiny bit to do with success, but it gets way too much credit. No one wakes up every day and feels like working, even if we enjoy what we do. We all have good days and we all have “MUST I do anything today?” days.
Since you’ve already decided on what you’re accomplishing this year, your daily feelings of motivation shouldn’t matter. You’re going to take the actions to reach your goals regardless of how you feel that day. Losing motivation is one those roadblocks we talked about earlier and it’s one to put on your list, because it will happen. But it doesn’t have to throw you off track.
Once you’ve been consistent with your daily actions for a month or two, you can expect that things will get much easier. Jim Ryun said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Although it’s difficult to say how long it takes to form a habit (because everyone seems to disagree), it will happen eventually. And then it’ll take much less daily effort to act, it’ll simply be part of your routine.
8. Find Accountability
At the beginning of a difficult journey, accountability can make all the difference. When it’s hard to show up and do the actions that lead to success, you’re more likely to do it anyway when you have someone to answer to. It’s harder to eat that donut when you have friends questioning you about your sugar detox. It’s much easier to show up at the gym at 6 am when you have a friend meeting you. It’s harder to opt for the nap instead of work when your husband is going to ask you how much you accomplished that day. You get the point.
You can ask some friends or your spouse to help you stay on track. Devise a plan of what that accountability will look like. Will you text every day, talk on the phone, track your actions through an app? You can also find tons of Facebook groups with like-minded people who would be happy to support you. It doesn’t matter what accountability method you choose, as long as you feel like you are truly accountable to it. If you’re comfortable telling your BFF that you gave in and ate the donut (and you expect that she’ll give you a pass), then you should try to find someone that will push you out of your comfort zone and towards your goals.
I recently started a Facebook group as a complement to this blog. It’s open to all moms who are in pursuit of wellness and balance. Feel free to share your goals with us!
You can also check out my FREE 5-day life coaching course “Finding Wellness and Balance as a Mom” by signing up here.
If you need help with time management in the new year, you can find it here: How to Manage Your Time So You Always Have Time For What’s Most Important
If one of your goals is to start a morning workout routine, check out this post: 12 Foolproof Tips to Start Working Out in the Morning.
If you need help with home organization, check out my post on How I Keep My Home Organized with Three Small Kids.
If your goal is to spend some daily quiet time with God, check out this guest post I did on the site “One Determined Life: Easy Things a Busy Mom Can Do To Enjoy Time with God
In case you’re curious, my top 4 priorities for 2019 are:
- Be present with my family (post coming on this soon)
- Heal my relationship with food (I will be restarting the 131 method by Chalene Johnson-You can find out more info here.)
- Commit to a daily home Bible study (I will be following Jen Wilkin’s Bible study method based on her book, Women of the Word.)
- Create and stick to a schedule for writing/blogging (I will be using tools I learned in Cate Rosales blogging course, Becoming a Blogger)
Although those first two seem rather vague, I have specific plans for both. If you make vague plans, expect vague results. Now, get ready to rock 2019!
Best of luck to you all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!