Health starts in the kitchen
Health starts in the kitchen
Now that we’re done with January and getting into February, it’s time for an important check-in: how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions that you set at the beginning of the month? Are you working out more? Eating healthier? Have you taken up that new hobby that you’ve been meaning to pick up for years? If your answer to these questions is “no,” or “not quite,” then you’re not alone. In fact, studies show that 20% of resolutions are broken by the first week of January and 80% are not completed within the year. 
So, what’s going on here? Are you just not committed enough to self-improvement? Are you setting unrealistic expectations? Are you being too hard on yourself? Well, maybe it’s not you; maybe it’s the very idea of setting New Year’s resolutions and expecting to immediately implement many large changes just because the calendar has flipped to a new year that needs changing.
If you’re feeling frustrated about missing the mark on some of your resolutions, maybe this year is the year where you don’t give up and push them aside until next year, but rather start making gradual changes and goals throughout the year. This will allow for a more manageable approach that will ultimately result in more lasting changes.
Setting Goals That Last
There are two main ways to tackle the issues that many individuals experience when it comes to achieving New Year’s resolutions: setting resolutions in more realistic ways or setting smaller intentions throughout the year rather than large resolutions at the beginning of the year.
Changing the Way You Set Resolutions
Changing the way that you set resolutions starts with setting more realistic resolutions and expectations when it comes to achieving them.  This means setting a goal and breaking it down into smaller, more tangible steps that you can accomplish throughout the year. Not only does this provide you with something more concrete to work towards, but it also prevents the frustration of being unable to achieve a goal that was unrealistic, to begin with.
Next, try changing the way that you think about resolutions. Rather than thinking about them as make-or-break goals that you must accomplish by year’s end, think of them as opportunities to try new things. This way, the beginning of the year can be a time to start a new endeavor, rather than feel like you’re punishing yourself for goals you may no have accomplished in the past.
Finally, remember to forgive yourself if you don’t accomplish some of the goals that you set for yourself in pursuit of your larger resolution, and to keep trying. Adopting new lifestyle habits is difficult, and although this change of mindset isn’t an excuse to not continue pushing yourself further from improvement, it allows you to acknowledge that the process towards working towards the “you” who you hope to become will take time and effort.
There will be bumps in the road, but continuing to work towards your goals when it is difficult will make success that much more rewarding when you do achieve it—and forgiving yourself is an important step in that process.
Setting Intentions Instead of Resolutions
Changing the way that you set New Year’s resolutions can be quite effective for achieving them more successfully. However, if you’re looking to move away from the idea of New Year’s resolutions altogether, try setting intentions instead. Intentions are different from resolutions in that they focus more on the journey of achieving your goals, rather than just the actual outcomes.  Ultimately, they focus more on big-picture goals and rewards, rather than the short-term gratification that may come from resolutions.
The steps for setting intentions are also a little bit different than the steps for setting resolutions. First, start with self-reflection. Your intentions will only be effective you hone in on something that’s important to you and determining that effectively involves spending some time pinning down just what that may be. Think about your priorities and passions and how and why you would like to transform those into specific intentions.
Next, create your statements of intention. This should be more big-picture, long-term, internally-focused than resolutions. For instance “taking better care of your body—mentally, physically, and emotionally” rather than “losing five pounds.” Now, allow your intentions to guide your future endeavors and propel you to increased success towards reaching your goals in 2020.
Goal-setting is an important part of actualizing changes that you hope to make in your life—whether internal or external. If you feel like you’ve been hitting a wall year after year after setting your New Year’s resolutions, perhaps it’s time to change up the process. Now that we’re into February, think about where you are with your resolutions, and if you feel like you aren’t reaching your potential, perhaps it’s time for a change in the way that you set your goals to allow you to achieve them more successfully.