Making Resolutions That Last Past March

2021 is Here! And with it comes a renewed motivation to make a change to our live. The problem is making those changes stick.

Every year people around the world see the new year as a time for a change. A symbol that we can leave the bad behind and gain a fresh start. With that comes the creation of resolutions. A proclamation that this year will be better that we will be better.

The problem is not making these resolutions but keeping them. We start with good intentions, but throughout the year, we lose motivation. By March, many people have already given up as life, stress, and other responsibilities creep in and derail their original goals.

Making Resolutions

Most advice about resolutions focuses on how to maintain them. The problem with this is that a lot of the time, people end up stepping into the new year with hollow goals that have no purpose. The truth is that meaningful changes need to come from a meaningful reason.

Steps to Choosing Your Change

  1. Pic Your Change: Obviously, you have to decide what you want your resolution to be.
  2. Ask yourself Why: Decide why you want to achieve this goal. Why is it important to you, and why it matters to your life.
  3. Compare that Why to Potential Roadblocks: Here is where it gets hard. You need to make sure the reason why you want that goal will stand up against all of the things life can throw at you.
  4. Consider Setbacks: Decide if your why is enough to get you back on track if you have a setback.
  5. Consider Achievability: Finally, decide whether, in the end, with roadblocks and setbacks, if this goal is actually achievable.

Example 1:

  • Goal: Weight loss and fitness
  • Why: To lose weight and be hot

Example 2:

  • Goal: Weight loss and fitness
  • Why: So I meet the requirements to donate bone marrow and will be able to go ziplining and horseback riding without the embarrassment of being rejected or weighed.

Between these two examples, what one is more likely to pass the test of roadblocks, setbacks, and achievability?

  • After a long week of work or a fight with a friend, will you want your goal more than you want to finish the whole pint of that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream?
  • If you did finish the pint, is your why enough to remind you to get back on track, or will a setback lead to a give up?
  • Will you ever acutely achieve your goal, or will you still not be satisfied with your appearance or weight?

Of these examples, it is pretty easy to see which “why” has greater purpose and meaning.

It is important to note that not all goals, whys, or setbacks will look the same to each person. It just so happens that this example is my own real-life resolution!

Maintaining Resolution Basics

Once we have a resolution, we can focus on the maintaining part of our new goals.

Accountability

It is proven that we do better sticking to our goals and making meaningful changes when we have a support system. This includes not only people who will praise us for our progress but also people who will push us when we start to slack. (You Need Both!!!)

Achievable Goals

We need to be realistic about our goals and take our lives and our abilities into account. Our resolutions don’t have to overhaul our entire lives; sometimes small achievable goals are. As we go, we can assess these goals for what is working and what is not.

Make Changes in Steps

Building on the idea of achievable large changes is often better when we take one step at a time. As we accomplish each step, our motivation is renewed by the success and will propel us into the next phase of the plan. Our small changes will build on each other, and soon we have made it to our biggest goals.

Manage Setbacks

As much as we want to be, we are not perfect. Most of the time, setbacks happen when we are stressed, depressed, or just overwhelmed in general. This is the time when we really need some self-care. And that is okay! Take the self-care, recover, and move on. As long as you get back on track, it is not a failure.

Reward Yourself

It is okay to be excited when you cross a milestone. Take a moment to enjoy it. The joy a little celebration can bring just might be enough to motivate you to start a new phase in your plan or renew your resolve for your current one.

26 thoughts on “Making Resolutions That Last Past March

    1. When it comes to working out I’m motivation challenged. Lockdown made it about 100 times worse. So I too had to examine it.

  1. Excellent post. I love the reasoning behind setting goals. You’ve given me a much better way of looking at resolutions and I’m already giving my own health and fitness goal more consideration. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great post! Your why is so important. I realized this when I was easily able to cut sugar out of my diet when I had gestational diabetes, but not when I just want to look better. When I was doing it for my child, it was much more doable. I’m definitely writing down my “why” and making it meaningful. Thanks.

    1. The listed why’s are actually mine. It’s already been tested (I was sick for a few days unable to workout) and is working (back on the treadmill after a slump!)

  3. You made some very valuable points. I know that I’m guilty of making unrealistic and unclear goals. So that’s why I avoid making resolutions. But great post. I will take these points on board.

  4. Great take on New Years’ resolutions. I used to set some every year but haven’t in recent years. Its on me to change my lifestyle everyday not because it’s the end of a year and the start of another!
    Rosie

    1. I didn’t fir years because they seemed so pointless. That’s actually why I started examining what was really wrong with out goal setting and came up with this.

  5. I really like the practical approach you’ve shared here — it can all get a bit overwhelming sometimes. My latest post (a poem called When Change Comes) is about how we approach new beginnings and goals around the New Year and how to see change in a new way — which your post does too. We need to look at things realistically and go from there. Fab post!

  6. I love your examples of “Why”. Having a meaningful reason to want to achieve any goal makes a huge difference and you made that so much clearer.

    1. Thank you. I use myself as inspiration for it. These are my actual why’s before tgat didn’t work and my current why’s.

  7. I am definitely focused on meeting my goals with baby steps this year. I usually dive in all or nothing, which sets me up for failure. For example, I want to be healthier. Instead of a complete fitness/diet change, I’m going the whole month of January without fast food.

    1. I love this! I suffer from a chronic heth condition that has been kicking my butt the last two weeks and interfered with my exercise. Instead of throwing in the towel I’ve made sure to still eat healthier and stay hydrated. My step count may not be the best but that’s not all health is.

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