A new you for the new year

In a few days, we will be saying goodbye to 2017 and whether we are ready for it or not, 2018 is here. This means it’s that time of the year where we set goals and resolutions hoping that this time, we will keep them, only to have things revert back to come February.

Most of us have a long list of things we hope to achieve but the list just keeps growing longer and longer every year. It’s so bad that a lot of us gave up making new resolutions because it just doesn’t seem to pan out.

No matter how motivated and driven we were about our resolutions when we set them, we just don’t have the same enthusiasm to follow through with them. It just seems futile to even bother with new year resolutions.

Begin with a review

Before we even get to setting our resolutions for the new year, we should take some time and review the year we are leaving behind. It’s time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t. We should know the current state of affairs before planning for the new year.

Review your life one category at a time. Assess your health and fitness then examine your financial standing. Look into your career and evaluate your relationships with family and friends. Review as many categories as you can and be creative about it.

The aim is to have a clear idea where you stand in each category. You should note not only things that went well but also those that didn’t. List out both the good and bad for each category as you review them.

Start by doing less of the bad stuff

For most of us, if we could only do one thing, it’s better for us to focus on not doing something that’s bad for us. If you smoke, aim to stop smoking and ignore everything else. If you love your booze, resolve to drinking less and limiting your visit to the bar.

Since it’s hard to get ourselves to do something, we start by not doing some of our bad habits. Identify the factors and triggers that leads towards the unwanted activity thrn avoid them.

If you tend to smoke when you are stressed, find other ways to reduce stress or go after the source itself. If you only drink when you are at the bar, avoid going there as much as you can.

Build on the good stuff

Next, you can try tapping into the wins you already have in your life. If you are consistently hitting the gym once a week, try to increase that to twice a week instead. And if you are already eating healthy for dinner, try to do the same during breakfast or lunch.

We can leverage the positive momentum we have in certain areas to improve the other aspects of our life. And no matter how bad life seems, most of us have something that’s doing okay.

The key is to realise we are already doing some things right. The next step is to do more of the good stuff. All of us need a little confidence boost to help us along. So whenever you feel like things are tough, think about the wins you had before.

Use routines and habits

No matter how disciplined and driven you are, it’s hard to keep things together all the time. There will be times where we give in to temptations and distractions. We are only human after all.

But humans are also creatures of habit and we can use that to our advantage. I like to outsource decisions with the help of routines and habits. By programming my life with pre-made decisions, it’s much easier for me to stay healthy and active.

Another trick you can use is to introduce a new habit around your existing habits. By anchoring your new habit on old ones, it makes it more likely for you to do it and integrate it into your routine.

Be realistic and start small

Having said all that, it’s crucial for us to stay grounded and be real about what we can achieve realistically. Set goals and resolutions you can actually complete so you have some wins under your belt.

Don’t aim to finish a full length marathon if you have never jogged in your life before. Start by completing a 5km run and work your way up from there. We need all the small wins we can get for motivation and momentum.

We set goals and resolutions because we aspire to be a better person. That’s a life long journey and it begins with a single winning step. Start by reviewing where you are now and take decisive actions towards your goal, one step at a time.