New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have in mind any self-improvements for this New Year?  Or have you set some resolutions and are already working on the challenges to achieving them?  While there is some current buzz in the media justifying why people shouldn’t have New Year’s resolutions as people can become depressed when they abandon them, this is all bunk.  Any reason that you can use to improve your life is a good one and using New Year’s resolutions is as good a reason as any.  So go ahead and set them!  Here are some tips to help you achieve these goals.

Some resolutions involve a goal date.  While in many cases this is necessary, it doesn’t always have to be so.  One approach that you can use is to create a schedule and use it to work towards your goal consistently.  This is much like the tortoise who wins the race:  the tortoise doesn’t exactly know when he’s going to reach the goal line, he just knows that by working steadily, he will reach it.  Using this example, we can see that it frees us from worrying about an upcoming deadline and allows us to just focus on the day-by-day task of working towards our personal goal.  Sometimes, goal dates can be defeating to us achieving our resolutions through the stress and perceived insurmountable obstacles that they represent and we can become despondent.  “I’ll never lose 15 pounds by April 1st!”

So, if we use the tortoise method, rather than the goal date method, we can subtly change our goals to make them more achievable.  We can change “lose 15 pounds by April 1st” to “lose 15 pounds.”  We will still have the same daily routine that we would use in either case, we would just not have the end date in the same manner that the tortoise does not know when it will reach the goal line.  The main point here is to not focus on a goal date, but simply focus on what we need to do today for our goal.  When we only have to think about one thing at a time, we are better able to achieve that one thing.

Regarding achieving our New Year’s goals, here’s an excerpt from an earlier article here at RCGS on Perseverance, which speaks directly to how to achieve the resolutions we set:

“There is no question that when we complete difficult and/or long term projects, we feel an immense sense of accomplishment. Far more than if we just finished a short term easy task. For those of you who've been following our articles here at RCGS for the past several weeks, you should start to see an over-arching theme here: Goal Setting; Being Positive; Confidence, the value of Practice and now, Perseverance. These are all key factors in helping us become healthier, happier individuals. Science has also come to show that important task completion releases dopamine in our system, making us feel great when we complete something important to us...  Classic examples of this are when sports teams win a championship - many obstacles had to be overcome in order to achieve the goal and the resulting feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement are immense.”
Here are some easy exercises to help us achieve our New Year’s Goals:
1. Invest in your mind.  In order to achieve external goals such as playing excellent guitar, losing weight, achieving a dream career, improving your relationships with others, or meeting that special someone, we must also improve ourselves internally.  It has long been a fact that our thoughts create our reality and if we desire a great reality, we must also spend equal time creating great thoughts.  Develop your mind so that you feel great about yourself and great things like achieving your New Year’s goals are sure to follow.  
Make it a #1 top priority to go to a book store and buy some books on self-improvement and then spend 30 minutes at bed time each night reading them.  If you do not have time to read books, buy self-improvement CD’s and listen to them when you’re driving in the car.
Use positive self-talk. When you are doubting whether you can continue on whatever you are doing, come to your own rescue. Tell yourself, "I can do it!", "I'm doing great!", and “I’m doing the best I’ve ever done!” These are some examples of many that you can use. Be your own best friend and advocate. Be your own coach and cheer yourself on to your victory.  Smile at yourself in the mirror!
2. As noted in our Confidence article, make sure you have close friends and family around you that help you achieve your resolutions, especially when times are tough. Tell them what your goal is and that you need their help. Make sure you surround yourself with plenty of high quality people such as these.
3. Take advantage of your support network. Sometimes, we can be embarrassed that we need help or we can let pride get in the way of asking for help. If we don't ask for help when we need it and try to "gut it out" on our own, we may find that we give up, which is what we don't want. Never be afraid or too proud to ask for help and support! Those who care about you will gladly and willingly give it and you will be able to continue on your goal. Achieving our resolution goals is not a solo effort; reach for that support when you need it.
Well, that’s it.  You now have ammunition to use to help you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions and start to improve your life.  Don’t wait to start incorporating these.  Start now!  You’ll be glad you did.

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