Your Guide to Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick
As we draw closer to the end of 2020, many of us have begun thinking about resolutions for 2021. Maybe you’re planning to lose some COVID weight, get a new hobby, or learn an instrument. Whatever your goal, we’ve got some tips for making resolutions that you’ll actually keep.
Be Intentional & Plan Ahead
In recovery, you have learned just how challenging it can be to change deeply ingrained behaviors. If you normally return home from work and turn on the TV, it will take some mental preparation to go to the gym instead. You may be surprised to learn that the 12 Steps can help with this process.
Taking a personal inventory is actually a crucial component of making a lasting change. At the end of the year, be sure to reflect on what you set out to do last January. Where did you succeed? Where didn’t you see progress? What would you like to focus on in the months ahead? This can help you find a resolution that is meaningful to you and which will prepare you for change.
Next, it’s time to set your resolutions. Consider this list of the most common choices – exercising more, losing weight, saving more money, traveling more, learning a new skill, getting organized. What do you notice? These goals are vague and difficult to quantify.
It’s difficult to succeed at something when we don’t have a marker for success. Choose a goal that you can measure – for example, instead of saying “I want to exercise more,” decide that you will exercise for 30 minutes per day, five times per week. While you’re selecting this specific objective, be careful that you don’t fall into one of the common traps of goal setting…
Pick Something Attainable
While we encourage you to dream big in 2021, we also urge you to choose goals that are possible. Many people get overzealous while setting resolutions; for example, they may say that they want to meet 100 new people this year. When this appears to be out of reach, they stop trying altogether. Instead of setting unreachable goals, think deeply about what is possible for you. Instead of meeting 100 new people, maybe the social butterfly in this example could make 10 new friends. Successfully checking off resolutions will give you the steam to continue positive behaviors through the new year.
Choose Resolutions That Are a Good Fit for You
Somehow, many Americans end up setting goals that are not even for themselves. They may come from societal pressures, the urging of friends and family, or expectations at work. These resolutions rarely pan out because they are not motivational or inspiring to the person themselves.
When considering your plans for 2021, be sure that your goals align with your lifestyle, priorities, and aspirations for the future. People who are personally invested in their resolutions will experience better outcomes than those who are tacking “get better at Excel” onto their list for their manager’s sake.
Break Tasks Up into Smaller Pieces
Big goals are exhilarating, but they also present some unique challenges. Be sure to break your plan into smaller, more manageable tasks. Many people find written steps – especially those which are drawn out or jotted down onto moveable post-it notes – helpful for this part of the process. Again, just like in recovery, focusing on each step can help you to achieve your goals.
Share Your Resolutions with Friends and Family
Accountability can make an incredible difference in your resolutions. If no one else knows about your goals for 2021, it’s easy to quietly abandon those dreams at the first hint of struggle. However, if your loved ones are cheering you on and checking in, you’re much more likely to stick with your resolutions for the long haul. You can also find people who have similar goals and pursue them together. For example, if you’re hoping to exercise more, you can do Zoom workouts with a friend who has the same resolution. You can also stay in contact with them to celebrate progress or discuss setbacks. Community keeps you motivated!
Check in with Yourself Regularly
Finally, it’s time to abandon the “set it and forget it” attitude that many of us take regarding New Year’s resolutions. Put aside an hour or so each month to check in with yourself, review your goals, and analyze your progress. Where are you finding friction? How can you change your routine to accommodate your goal? For example, if you’re too tired to run after work, this is when you can consider switching up your routine to include a morning workout. With a bit of mindfulness, anything is possible.
Getting Sober in the New Year?
If you would like assistance in finding sobriety in 2021, the team at Lakeside-Milam can help. Our staff are experts in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. When you call our admissions office, you will receive your own individualized treatment plan. This path to recovery is tailored to your individual needs. To get your treatment plan, please contact us today.