The start of a new year can inspire positive – sometimes lofty – goals and changes in some people while cultivating a spirit of resentment, bitterness and discontentment in others. Following the hype of the holidays and expectations for a cheerful, merry and bright season, many people are familiar with the difficulty that comes with Christmas, over-spending and family hardships. Most of us are eager to welcome new beginnings, especially after reflecting on a year of disappointments or even failures. Some like to “ring in” the new year with new resolutions and promises for a fresh start.
Whether you are interested in renewing lost commitments, losing weight, beginning new projects, goals or dreams, chances are you will face challenges in keeping your newly founded resolutions. Roughly 40 percent of us will make New Year’s resolutions for 2014 and out of this number, 30 percent will fail after two weeks; 40 percent will fail after one month; and 60 percent will fail after six months. Despite our valiant decisions to sustain well-intended resolutions, our motivation dwindles and many are left to ask, “Are New Year’s resolutions even worth making?”
Goal-oriented, driven individuals find success when they set a diverse range of goals in life – ongoing, measurable, short-term, medium and long-term goals. Here are a few tips for how to make – and keep – New Year’s resolutions throughout 2014:
- Map out your course: Include breaks in your schedule to reflect on progress. When it comes to sustaining motivation, progress is key. Write your New Year’s resolutions where you will see them often, ideally every day. Record any positive or negative emotions in a journal as you pursue different goals and dreams.
- Limit your goals to 10: Do not create a lengthy list of lofty resolutions, but rather, define less than 10 tangible goals. If you start out with too many resolutions, you will lose your motivation. Later in the year you may find the motivation and energy to add to the list, but for now keep them short.
- Consider a New Year’s theme: You may find that typical resolutions do not inspire you, but rather, a theme or word makes all the difference in behavior and day-to-day striving. Rather than defining specific actions, keep your theme in mind and allow your day to unfold according to your “mantra.” Your theme could be mindfulness, movement, courage, etc.
Why New Year’s resolutions do not always work – and how you can change your goals
In order to create and adopt goals that last, we have to understand why so many people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions. Avoiding these pitfalls will keep disappointment at bay.
1. Internal change is not taken into account.
At the start of the new year, many people obsess over external change without acknowledging the internal problems. Some resolutions like “Do not eat junk food” are made out of deep-rooted internal issues, such as stress-eating or other unhealthy relationships with food. Many people do not realize that there is often a psychological component to their external or physical resolutions. In order to stay motivated, it is important to explore the deep, important issues and confront them before trying to inspire change in our external lifestyles.
2. You make goals to last the following 364 days without making 364 daily goals.
Keeping the big picture in mind is the most important aspect of creating – and keeping – New Year’s resolutions. However, daily discipline is the vehicle in which we achieve the big-picture goals. Many people do not want to face daily discipline and smaller goals because they do not want to acknowledge their weaknesses. However, it is important to be realistic. Do not set out believing that your resolve at the beginning of the year is enough to propel you forward the following 364 days.
3. You make goals for yourself – by yourself.
People who try to keep their resolutions alone are much more likely to fail by the end of the year – or even the end of the month. Resolutions are usually individualistic. However, they should be welcomed within a community context for commitment and met with a joint effort or accountability. Do not resolve to tackle your most intrinsically bad habits, fears or foes without letting others know you may need your help; by doing so, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is devoted to offering life and health coaching services, as well as career and business coaching services and a diverse array of counseling services. The coaches at Safe Harbor are equipped to help clients create and achieve their goals within a biblical framework, making balance a priority. The certified counselors and coaches at Safe Harbor Christian Counseling believe new goals should align with God’s goals for us in his word and be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They also believe every individual has God-given talents and passions that can be used in goal setting to make our hearts more alive, both of which are important for painting a larger picture of a rewarding, fulfilling life.
For more information on Safe Harbor’s counseling, coaching and therapy services, visit http://www.safeharbor1.com. Interested individuals are welcome to join in on the faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page and welcome to follow Safe Harbor Christian Counseling on Twitter.