Now that the New Year is here, many people will be setting resolutions for 2016 to create their ‘best year yet.’
While it probably comes as no surprise that less than 10 per cent of people actually accomplish their resolutions, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your ‘best year yet’ or that you shouldn’t set goals.
On the contrary, I believe we should all take time out to set (or reset) targets for ourselves each year. It just means we need to go about the process of setting a resolution/goal in a way that sets us up for success.
First, the goal you set for 2016 needs to be something you WANT to do – not something you think you ‘should’ do. If you are resolving to give up smoking, for example, but you don’t really want to give up smoking, then you will only be disappointed. Changing a habit is hard enough when you want to. Instead, you could start with exploring the reasons you don’t want to quit and start there. There are plenty of people committed to habits that don’t serve them and, practices that may in fact harm them. Getting to the reason why you smoke, overeat, gamble, drink excessively, etc. is a first step toward eliminating a bad habit.
Another reason many people don’t achieve a resolution is that their goal isn’t detailed enough: “I’m going to lose weight,” or even, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds,” isn’t as specific as, “I am going to cut out junk food, go to the gym Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and walk on my lunch break.” Creating the ‘recipe’ needed to reach your goal will help you put one foot in front of the other (literally) on the path to a healthier, happier you.
A third, and perhaps the biggest reason any of us fail to accomplish our goals, is limiting or negative beliefs we have about ourselves (and may not even know it). Limiting beliefs are those pessimistic thoughts you have every time you think about making a change, pursing a dream or working toward a goal, including but certainly not limited to: Who am I to deserve fame/wealth/love/happiness; wanting to make more money is greedy; I’m not good/smart/capable/strong enough; life isn’t fair; I’m not lucky; I’m too young; I’m too old; or what will people think?
From early childhood we begin to form all kinds of ideas and beliefs about who we are, what we are capable of, our worth and about how hostile or harmonious the world is. Our beliefs control our destiny. We can all make lofty goals, but if we don’t truly believe we are capable or worthy of achieving these dreams, we will give up when we are tired, we hit a road block or the going gets tough. Limiting beliefs give us the excuses we need to quit, so what can we do to beat the odds and fulfill our resolutions for 2016?
Grab a pen and paper, sit down, dig deep and examine what it is you really want, not just for 2016, but for your life. Allow yourself to dream big and put it in ink. Next, become aware of the negative self-talk as soon as it comes up. Write down the things you tell yourself so you can fully examine whether in fact those beliefs are true. This is more difficult than you might think as we tend to work very hard to hold on to our excuses. This is where choice comes in – which are you more interested in: defending your perceived limitations or achieving your goals?
Next, try on a different belief: I AM smart/strong/worthy enough; I deserve success/love/wealth/health, I CAN do this, etc. Remember most of your beliefs have been ingrained for a lifetime, so be gentle with yourself when those pesky negative thoughts creep back in. Replacing them with positive thoughts will take practice but the positive talk will help you to create strategies to overcome any challenges that will ultimately crop up on your way to achieving your resolution.
Finally, break your goal into smaller steps and get to work. Living your best life isn’t always easy, but it sure is fun. Your talents are your gift to the world and your contribution to a better planet. Now is your time — go for it!
I’d love to hear your resolutions for the new year – please share in the comment box below!
P.S. My New Year’s Resolution is to create even more opportunities for children and families to experience the transformative powers of nature and connect with animals in a fun, heartfelt way. To receive updates, please LIKE us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter .