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New Year's Resolutions: How to make them STICK this year.

Well, here we are again... Another year in the books.


But this one feels WAY different than any other 'end of the year' that I can remember and I don't think that's any secret. 2020 has been a roller coaster, a whirlwind, an absolute mess, and plenty of other words that I'm choosing to leave off the internet.


Personally, I am glad to finally see this year come to a close, but it also leaves the door open for an amazing opportunity.


Every year around this time, MILLIONS of people sit down and figure out what their cliche, simple little New Year's Resolution is going to be this year. And if I were a betting man, I would wager that the VAST majority of those people don't ever reach that goal, or stick to that Resolution.


Now there's a million excuses we can make as to why we couldn't stick to them. Or we can sit here and explain how 2020 messed up your plans. We can spend hours creating excuses to justify our failures of years past.


OR


We can finally do something about it...


With 2020 being so much different than any year we have ever seen. Then 2021 is a PRIME TIME to do something different than we ever have when it comes to our New Year's Resolutions.

But,

What can I do different?

What will make them better this year?

What was I doing wrong in the past?

What can I fix?


These are all common questions to ask when we try to make a big change to something we have been doing for a long time.


First of all...


The SECRET to New Year's Resolutions is... that there is no secret.


I know this isn't what people want to hear, but it's the truth. We, as humans, are always looking for shortcuts, backdoors, and secret ways to get to our goals as easy as possible. But that simply does not work. Now there may not be a 'Secret' to these Resolutions, but there are some tips and guidelines you can follow that will make this road a little easier to follow and make you much more likely to stick to this new Resolution.


1. SET A DEFINITIVE TARGET GOAL OR END DATE.


Some of the classic 'New Year's Resolutions' are things like "I want to lose weight" or "I want to eat healthier", but looking at these through this rule, they sound pretty weak. Instead, try something like

"I want to lose 25 pounds by September 1st!"

or

"I am going to track my calories and stay under 2500 calories per day for all of January!"


By creating a numerical goal that ties to this Resolution, you are helping your mind understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You are able to look forward to something specific in the future. These give you hope, something to truly work toward, and a reason to hold yourself accountable.


2. MAKE THESE GOALS MEASURABLE.


Similar to the first tip, staying away from those arbitrary, easy 'resolutions' is important. If you aren't able to measure your progress toward the goal in some way, shape, or form, there is no way of telling whether you are succeeding or not. By making things trackable and measurable, you are making it possible for you to adjust along the way, while still chasing your goal. Something like


"I want to Back Squat 300 pounds this year!" instead of 'I want to get stronger."

or

"I want to read 24 books this year!" instead of "I should probably read more."


Keeping yourself accountable through some type of tracking process is going to make this process a lot less stressful and quite a bit more fun.


3. REMIND YOURSELF OFTEN.

January 1st: The gyms are packed, the 'healthy food section' is cleaned out, Personal Trainers' schedules are filled. Everyone is on top of their new 'lifestyle changes' and are going all in on tackling this year's resolution... For about a week or two.


It seems like every year after about 2 weeks or a month, the gyms thin back out to the normal crowd and everyone seems to go back to their 'normal' lives again.

But how can I avoid falling into this same pattern again?


Keeping your new resolutions in front of you and constantly reminding yourself of what you've set out to do is a very powerful move. There's a million different ways to do this, but finding what works best for you is your best bet:


-Put them as your phone background

-Tape them to your bathroom mirror

-Put them in your car

-Keep them at your desk at work or school

-Read them last thing before bed

-Then read them again first thing in the morning


Anything that you can do to keep these goals, aspirations, and changes front and center in your mind will make this process much more manageable and less likely for you to join that crowd that 'falls off' about 2 weeks into the new year.


4. REWARD SMALL VICTORIES.


So, if we follow all the steps so far, it puts a lot on our plate... For example 'I weigh 250 pounds right now and I want to get down to 175 pounds by Christmas 2021 through a better diet and an exercise plan.'


Right off the bat that is a very large, long term goal.

No matter how many times I remind myself of the goals, a few months into this journey, when I'm deep into the woods of dieting and exercising, I am probably going to start getting discouraged.


This can happen even if things are actually going well. Maybe now it's May and I'm down to 220 pounds. That's an awesome 30 pound loss, but it is much easier to look at it as...'Man, I still have 45 pounds left to go.' And this is just how a lot of us are wired... We are pessimists... We see the glass as half empty...


To try and avoid this, we need to give ourselves a few pats on the back along the way and celebrate our small wins on the path to the GIANT VICTORY at the end.


A 75 pound weight loss is incredible, but so is a 10 pound, 20 pound, 30 pound, etc. and we should recognize that and celebrate it. Having that HUGE end goal is important, but so is having some smaller milestones you can pass along the way. And when you do pass these milestones give yourself some credit, be proud, and celebrate what you've done so far and what you've still got to do moving forward.


It takes a whole lot of small wins to finally get to that BIG Victory you've been dreaming of all along.


5. KEEP PUSHING! DON'T GET DISCOURAGED.


Hey, this is a lot easier said than done. And with the last tip, it sounds like no matter what the goal is, if we structure it right, it will be all sunshine and rainbows on our journey to the top.


Hate to break it to you... It's not that easy.


Any type of change we try to make is going to be met with resistance at some point. We will mess up. We won't hit some goals. We will fail.


But, it is important to remember that this is apart of the process! Success is impossible without Failing our way there. The previous 4 tips are designed to help lower the chances of us failing at these new goals, but it still might happen at some point. When that happens there is a choice that each and every one of us has to make:


Do we want to give up? Maybe next year? Fall into that category of 'falling off' just like everyone else?

or

Do we want to do something tough? Challenge ourselves? And hop back on the horse and chase a goal that YOU set for YOURSELF?


Trust me, all these failures along your journey will make the BIG Victory at the end that much sweeter.



Like I said from the start... There is no 'Secret' to making your New Year's Resolution stick, but there are some steps we can take from the start and along the process to make it a little more likely that we will stay on track and achieve these goals we have always wanted to.


So when it's time to sit down and write out your New Year's Resolutions for this year, use these tips as a framework and give yourself the best chance possible to make some real change in your life.


2021 will be a great opportunity for all of us to change, grow, and work to become the best possible versions of ourselves!

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