It’s the first weekend of 2017 and most people have already started to wander from the goals they had set last week. What can we do to ensure that we are psychologically prepared to carry forward our new year resolution?
The first step is goal setting. Vague goals like “will exercise more” are most likely to fail. It is important to set goals which are measurable and achievable. If you want to get somewhere by December 2017, set targets for March, June and September and make sure you are measuring yourself. Also set up concrete ways of matching up to your goal. So how often will you exercise in the week? What form of exercise will it be? When in the day will you do it? also, what’s the catching up plan in case of days you miss exercise?
Execution of the new year resolution:
Any new habit takes 21 to 40 days to form. therefore, while it becomes as habitual as brushing your teeth, there will be times when you will have to push yourself and go throught the motions, even when you feel low energy. How can you make sure you get through this? By not buying into thoughts and feelings which push you to stay in comfort and avoid the present moment discomfort. Remind yourself of the larger picture and ask yourself, “If I slack right now, will I meet the goal I have set for myself?”
Some mental exercises to do this include naming a story and thanking your mind for bringing it up. For example, if the excuse your mind gives you is that you are too tired to exercise, then tell your mind a silent “thank you, there you go with the tired story again”. Then make space for your mind’s nagging and go on to do the action you wanted to. Because being tired does not “physically” stop you from exercising. It is only when you buy into the excuse and treat it as a fact. Thoughts are just a view or a perspective or an opinion, its not necssary to listen to them if they do not take us in helpful directions.
The most crucial part of any plan’s success is reward and revision. For each small milestone that you are able to achieve, thank yourself and give yourself a small reward. For every time that you went off track, try to think of how you can avoid it next time. It is important to stay realistic and allow for the possibility of mistakes.
All the best for your new year resolution!
Head Psychologist at Type a Thought