What about your New Year’s resolutions?

Reality check: Where are you standing regarding your New Year’s resolutions? Why you might not yet be where you would like to be and why you should quickly make some resolutions if you have not done so.

It is almost the end of April and the first four months of 2015 are almost over. I have made a lot of New Year’s resolutions for this year and I have to admit that time flies and I am not even near my goals. Oops.

I personally love making resolutions and generally setting goals. Honestly, I use almost any interpretable point in my life to make some resolutions. My birthday, for example, is one of those typical starting points, since I can pretend to be wiser and older. The beginning of each school year was another of those points when I strictly believed that I would survive school this year with less stress and more organization. And then New Year itself, of course, – a moment of endless resolution lists.
Many people reject resolutions and feel that they are only sources of frustration. I, however, think that resolutions are essential. To have no resolutions (or differently said: no goals) in life is comparable to travelling without the intention of ever arriving. We need goals to work with ourselves or to reflect upon our environment. Those who never set goals can never experience the fulfilling satisfaction of FINALLY achieving something they have been working on for months. I think if you do not make any resolutions this derives from a fear of failure and self-disappointment. Yet, do not be afraid. Everyone has to overcome their lazy selfs on a daily basis and we have to challenge ourselves taking the risk to fail.

Here are some tips of how to set your goals success-proof:
1.     Be honest with yourself: You have probably heard this a million times. It is not a secret anymore. And still, I believe that not being honest with oneself is one of the main reasons that so many people fail to stick with their resolutions. Resolutions are a pact between only you and your dreams. You do not have to impress anyone else. Your resolution is only for you. So for example if you actually hate sports and decide to start running, do not aim to go running five times a week. Not in the beginning at least. If your life did not include sports before, you will probably not manage to integrate a running schedule from one day to the other and instead you will be frustrated. If you are not very flexible, do try to get into the splits until next month. You will not only be frustrated, but you are also in great danger to insure yourself. Again, you do not have to impress anyone with your resolutions, they are your little secret. So set yourself modest and achievable goals.

2.     One step after the other: Have some short- and some long-term goals. Optimally, your short-term goals support your long-term goals. I am staying with the sports example: Try to reach your toes this month, try to get your head to your knees the month after. Your long-term goal, of course, is the splits, but you have to accept that your way there is part of the process and it might take some while. Also, do not make three or four similarly difficult long-term resolutions at the same time. Do not try to loose 10 kilo, run a marathon and get the splits in two months. This will only keep you from pursuing your goals ambitiously and also successfully.


3.      Write down concrete goals: Flexibility is not a goal that you will ever achieve. What does flexibility even mean? Ask 10 people and you will have 10 different answers. And there will always be someone who is more flexible than you. To become flexible, therefore, is too diffuse as a goal. You will never get the feeling of achievement. To be able to do the splits, however, is a concrete goal. You will notice when you have reached it and you then be proud of yourself.

4.      Readjust your goals: If you do not reach your goal your set time frame, please do not be too hard on yourself. Maybe you have underestimated how challenging your resolution would be or how challenging it would be to stick with your resolution. If you did not meet your goal yet this does not mean you have failed. You will never fully fail until you stop trying and give up. Even then, you can re-start.

That is that in theory. But what about our resolutions now?
Option 1: You have not the faintest idea anymore what New Year’s resolutions you have made after those two glasses of champagne. Now is the time to be proactive and write down some concrete resolutions for yourself. This will help you to challenge yourself and to think about what you want and where you want to go. And really, do write your resolutions down so that you can look them up at some point later and compare what you have achieved already and whether you are still on the right track to success.

Option 2: You wished you would not remember your New Year’s resolutions anymore. You feel frustrated because AGAIN you have not managed to stick with one single resolution. In this case throw a critical look at your resolutions again and take the bullet points from above into consideration. Are your goals concrete? Are they realistic? Could you divide them into short-term and long-term goals? Again, accept that the way is part of the goal. You cannot achieve anything without having to start from where you have to start. Be nice to yourself and re-think whether you really have not achieved ANYTHING. Is that true or do you overlook some smaller achievements? Give yourself a pat on the back for every small achievement you have made so far.

Option 3: You have already achieved seven or your 10 long-term goals and you are sticking to all your resolutions? Pfft, liar. No honestly, you have probably done everything right. You have set yourself realistic and concrete goals and you are probably a very ambitious person. Congratulate yourself on your very rare and extremely valuable character trait.

What are your resolutions for 2015 and how far away are you from reaching them? Do you have some personal tips and tricks of how to stick with them more easily?

(Photo by BecWonders/photocase.com)