Even though I have years and years of enthusiastic New Year’s resolutions lying scattered in the communal resolution graveyard, I just can’t help myself – every January, I need to have some fresh new goals or habits to start the new year with. I always have ideas to get me excited and determined. I also usually have a fresh and shiny journal and new pen to get my juices flowing (I love the smell of a new journal and the feel of a fancy pen making the first marks on the white pages. Any other stationery nerds who can relate? 😁).
But how do you avoid the resolution graveyard?
How do you take these past February?
Here are some easy fail-proof ways to make it to the end of the year with no casualties.
- Keep It Real
Forget what others might want you to do, forget what you didn’t get done last year, and have an honest conversation with yourself: what do you want to change? How do you want to grow?
Write it down.
It may be a smaller action, like meditating every day, or a bigger action, like running a marathon. It may be internal, like showing yourself more compassion and kindness.
It doesn’t matter what it is, if it is what you want, it has value – write it down.
At this stage, *it doesn’t matter if you think you can achieve it or not*.
It is worth repeating that sentence to yourself a few times.
Imagine that whatever you write in your new journal has value – so even if it seems ridiculous or unattainable, and if your mental chatter starts to tell you why you won’t make it – shut out that noise, use your gorgeous new pen on a clean page of your sparkly new journal and express yourself freely.
- See the End Before You Begin
This may be the most important step. Close your eyes, inhale and exhale a few times, notice your body wherever you are sitting, allow your jaw, shoulders and body to relax, and now visualize in detail your completed goal or plan.
Picture it all as if you have already achieved it. You meditate for thirty minutes every day and you find it easy and fulfilling, or you have completed the marathon in excellent time and feel healthy and strong, or you show yourself kindness every day in meaningful ways and have deep self-love.
This step is the glue that holds it all together when February rolls around. Your initial enthusiasm and momentum wanes, and your mind starts to want to get the old status quo back. It’s a tricky thing, your mind, and has unending excuses stored up to start using around a month after you start your new habit or action.
Now when your mind says, “Just another 30 minutes more sleep,” when your alarm goes off in the morning, you can show it the fabulous picture of a happy and contented you at the end of the year with a daily meditation practice as an established part of your life. You can bring forth that feeling, that fulfillment as you finish the marathon or live life daily with self-love.
Your mind doesn’t know the difference between something you have actually finished and something you have merely visualized you have finished, so you will have those feel-good hormones come forward just by imagining the end goal completed in the way you wish.
What if the sky is not the limit? You are more powerful than you think and create more than you realise.
~ Michelle Thomas
- Small Steps = Big Wins
Break the goal down into smaller and smaller pieces until you have the bite-sized portions you can accomplish easily every day. Write down what they are and add rewards for yourself at certain milestones. Then take a small action every day no matter what, rain or shine.
If your goal is to meditate for 30 minutes every morning, start with setting your alarm and getting up at the appointed time – for a week that’s all you do. You just get up and get ready. The week after, add 5 minutes of meditation, and do that for a month. Move onto 10 minutes, and then keep going, all the while tracking your progress.
When you reach the reward milestones, make it count by giving yourself a reward that will inspire you. Have a lunch date with a friend, take an afternoon for a walk in nature, go on a date night – whatever it is, this will act as the marker of the short-term, mini end-goal. Instead of thinking you need to make it to the end of the year, you just need to make it to the end of March, for example, which feels much more accessible.
- Tell A Friend
Confession time: this is where I often fail. In this step, you tell people about your big end goal as well as the mini milestones. Share with them what your rewards are and how it is going as take your tiny daily actions.
I struggle here because I get wrapped up in my own world and think other people won’t be interested in hearing about my tiny acts of self-love or how many pages of my book I commit to write every day.
Don’t skip this step! This helps to keep you on track, like having a gym buddy who you don’t want to let down, so you go every day. Be brave, and share your journey with a friend or two.
Big love, Michelle