Since I was a kid and as far back as I can remember, I was always asked what my New Year’s resolution was. I remember one resolution and it was for “Saddam Hussein to get out of Kuwait.” I was 11. The Gulf War was all over the news – I kind of cringe at that one!
As I got older and hit my later teens and into my adult years, the idea of a New Year’s resolution was a big thing. Most of the resolutions that I heard from people were some combination of lose weight or get healthier. A lot of people had that same resolution year after year. In fact, I was one of those people. I was determined that, starting a couple of days after New Year’s, I was going to hit the gym, eat salads and never enjoy another meal for the rest of my life.
Later on, I got to be a frequent gym-goer and liked to use the weight room and the pool sometimes. I saw it from the other side, and that this cycle of going all in on a resolution only to fail, was not just me or a few of my holiday-partying friends. Right after New Year’s, I would brace for the onslaught of new people with their new gym passes and resolutions. Within about three weeks, though, things would return to normal and most of those resolutions would be set aside until the next winter.
New Year’s resolutions are not just restricted to the realm of personal health. At Backswath, we hear from farms all the time that they are going to get their books in order in the New Year or get started on their transition plan.
Here’s what I’ve figured out. The key to a successful New Year’s resolution is… to not have one.
(Everyone: What did you just say?)
Yup, that’s right. The way to successfully build changes into your life – health related or other – is to take it in bite-sized pieces and not all at once. Think: what can I successfully build into my life for the next 10 years? The best way to reach the top of the stadium is by taking one step at a time, not trying to scale the walls.
Here are 4 things you can do to help make your un-resolution stick!
- Be honest with yourself
The idea that this farm boy was going to eat salads for lunch and nothing but chicken breast and rice for dinner was a delusion. I don’t even like chicken breast! What is your reality, and what can you incorporate into your life?
- Start with something you can achieve
Find a quick win. Get some momentum. Feel that sense of accomplishment and confidence that you can continue to make these changes.
- Do it, make it a habit and then build on it
That quick win you just had, make it stick now. Make it a habit, and then build on it.
Life is going to get crazy and whether your goals are health related, professional or personal, there is going to be a time when they get dropped in the chaos. Habits are something that will come back quickly. You are used to doing them and they don’t take much or any extra effort to incorporate into your day. Dramatic changes are likely to be left behind in favour of familiarity and what we know.
- Tell someone and engage those around you
Whether you are making time for personal goals, changing the way you do things or what-have-you — the change in your life is going to affect those around you. Talk to these people – family, coworkers — and tell them what you are planning to do differently, why you are doing it and how it will affect them. This will help them get on board to support your change and help keep you accountable.
To my mind, the goal of self-improvement is something that ought to be celebrated and embraced! Whatever change you are trying to make – congratulations and best of luck (and have a Happy New Year!).
If you would like to speak to one of our consultants about this topic contact us.