How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

So, you’ve made some fancy new resolutions for the year. Want to keep them?

The new year is a magical time of year when everybody walks around in the sunshine full of good intentions and resolve to make this year the “best year ever!”

But once February rolls around, you’ve all-but abandoned those earnest promises of self-improvement as the day-to-day gets in the way.

If you’re a business owner, you’ll be playing catch-up with your workload before you know it, leaving little room for new goals.

If you’re thinking about starting a business, the courage you had around New Year’s Eve will quickly turn to worry about how you’re going to pay the bills.

READ: New year, new business?

It’s something we all do – as humans, we’re known to often act against our best interests.

But with the right tools and mindset it’s entirely possible to overcome your tendency for self-sabotage and get stuff done this year.

Here’s how:

Define an actual target and make a roadmap

A lot of people fall over because their new year goals aren’t specific.

We’re talking about resolutions such as ‘make more money’ or ‘learn a new skill’.

Those resolutions are almost doomed to fail from the start because there’s no definable target to measure progress against – so there’s little to keep you on the path towards the goal.

If you set a target such as ‘I want to make $10,000 more dollars this year and I will do it by doing X, Y, and Z’ or ‘I want to learn how to code by going to coding classes every week’ you’ll be better set up for success.

Check out this piece on SMART goals from contributor Susan Rochester for more tips on how to set goals which will keep you on track.

Get real

A lot of resolutions fall by the wayside simply because they were unrealistic to begin with.

For example, some people may say ‘I want to learn two new languages this year’ when learning one language is enough of a stretch for most people.

Before you set out on achieving your goals, it’s important to sense-check them and make sure that they’re actually achievable.

Start small

On this theme, it’s important to break down your goals into smaller, manageable chunks.

For example, when your goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year you generally don’t start by running a marathon.

Instead you’d more than likely start by running 5km, and then 10km, 15km, and so on.

Setting yourself a high wall to get over right from the start runs the risk of finding that wall simply too daunting to get over – meaning early abandonment of goals.

It’s all about defining the pathway to the goal, and then starting with small steps.

Tell people about your goals

An important part of sticking to your goals is to tell people all about them – and it’s important for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it turns out that people can be incredibly helpful at times and will support you in achieving your quest.

For example, if you tell your network that you want to expand your business into a new area someone may know people who can help you do that.

Secondly, it creates a bit of external pressure for you to stick to your goals.

If you just keep your goals to yourself it’s incredibly easy to give them up – because nobody will know you’re giving up.

But if you have people asking you how you’re tracking against your goals, then it creates a bit of external pressure and triggers a shame response if you give up your goals.