Yes, I am well aware that it’s the middle of January, and no, I’m not just “late” with my New Year’s Resolutions.
I like to have a couple of weeks to get over Christmas and get used to going back to work before I think about my resolutions and goals for the next year.
It’s so tempting to sit down on New Year’s Day with your self-critical hangover and write a long list of things that you just have to change about yourself. The problem is, you never think about how you’ll actually achieve those things and, after a couple of weeks (or even days) you realise that you’ve set too many goals to cope with and give up.
Going to the gym every day seems like a good idea whilst snuggled up on the sofa, nursing your hangover by shovelling handful after handful of Quality Streets into your face. But what about after your first full day back at work? When you finally fall in through your front door at 7 pm, do you feel like going back out again? Of course you don’t!
There’s always the temptation to change everything about yourself too. Especially with the whole “New Year, New Me” culture around (which, FYI, I hate!) Trust me, two weeks into January you’ll remember how awesome you are already and realise that you probably don’t need to change that much.
And that’s the secret to setting goals that you can stick to – don’t try to change too much all at once. It simply won’t work. If you stop drinking, stop smoking, and stop eating junk food at the same time as you start running 10 km per day, doing yoga at 6 am 5 days a week, as well as learning 14 new languages, you’re going to wear yourself down and, more importantly, you’re going to be miserable. And, because it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pinpoint which of your new hobbies you hate the most, you’ll probably just give up on them all.
Now this isn’t meant to be a negative post and I’m not saying you can’t do these things because you can! You just need to take it slow to ensure that you continue these things throughout the year.
So, start small and just make little changes. Once you’re used to them and they’ve just become a part of your everyday life, you can think about making another small change and so on. If you take this approach, you’ll be able to achieve everything you wanted and probably more by the end of the year.
It’s ok to start something and quit too – there’s nothing stopping you from trying again later on in the year. New Year’s Resolutions and Goals don’t have to be for January alone.
I’m still thinking about my goals for 2016 and I’ll post about them soon but my small change for the time being is Dry January which is going well so far.
So, start small and don’t be too hard on yourself, you can do this!