photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new year

Unsure of What You Want In The New Year? How To Set Realistic Resolutions

It’s so common that it’s become an unfunny cliché. Most people make New Year’s resolutions and break them in a matter of weeks, days, or hours. In reality, this trend is nothing to laugh about. Everyone deserves a fresh start at times, and they deserve to know what it feels like to pursue a goal. This sense of purpose is one of the best things about being human.

Therefore, if we view resolutions as something not to take seriously, we miss out on a golden opportunity to challenge ourselves with an inspiring mission. Let’s break this cycle in 2024 and set an example for others. 

Why Don’t People Follow Through on Resolutions?

At least half of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. For that matter, around a third of such promises are broken within two weeks. Why has this become the norm? Here are three common reasons:

  • Accountability: Actually, it’s the lack of accountability that serves to sabotage the effort.
  • Fear: It may not be clear at first, but you just may be afraid of the success you crave.
  • Big Picture: You’re aiming to change behavior without first changing your mindset.

If there’s something you deeply want to accomplish, you’ll need to do some serious introspection to discover if you believe in yourself, feel you deserve to succeed, and can handle how others may respond to you elevating yourself. 

How To Set Realistic Resolutions

photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new yearWhen you factor in the emotional work that needs to be done, you can probably appreciate the importance of momentum. You’ll want to break the cycle by witnessing yourself attaining some goals to get things started. Increase your odds of success by setting goals that are:

  • Realistic and attainable
  • Specific and time-specific
  • Measurable
  • Motivating

Let’s say your resolutions revolve around physical fitness. It’s self-defeating to list something like “getting healthier.” Ask yourself: What does that exactly mean to you? Is there a deadline? How will you gauge success vs. failure? Are you excited to get started? Questions like this can empower you to narrow down your resolutions into something sustainable.

Making Success Possible

Obviously, each person will have their own individual desires and dreams. For the sake of this post, let’s stick with “getting healthier.” To follow are a few basic suggestions for making this resolution all of the above: realistic, attainable, specific, time-specific, measurable, and motivating. For the first two weeks of the year:

  • Get seven to eight hours of nightly sleep — getting to bed at the same time each night
  • Starting each day with a full-body stretch
  • Drinking eight glasses of water each day
  • Each evening, prepare a healthy lunch for yourself the next day
  • Find a form of exercise you enjoy and get started with it three times per week

On their own, these suggestions are helpful but not the be-all or end-all. However, they will integrate you into a mindset of health and well-being. As you accomplish these daily goals, you experience the joy of success and trust yourself more to upgrade the program. You can next add in elements like:

  • Eliminate one food or drink that you know is unhealthy
  • Increase the exercise to four times per week
  • Commit to weekly grocery shopping and cooking at least four dinners a week at home

Do you recognize the concept here? You’re shifting your perspective as you change your habits. Of course, this is not just applicable to health-related resolutions. Use the above presentation as a blueprint to apply to whatever you aim to achieve. If you feel your perspective is not shifting, let’s connect and find ways to make it happen with anxiety, depression, or life transitions counseling.

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