Most people sabotage their New Year’s Resolutions through inadequate planning and adoption of the wrong attitude. With weight loss and increased finances being the most common goals, people tend to be left disheartened when such goals are miserably failed. If anything, people end up finishing the year with weight gain and finance loss so this year, take a different approach.
I am guilty of the “screw it, start 1 January” attitude. Two years ago I was attending CrossFit classes regularly then 1 December came around and boom I did not step into the gym for a good four or five weeks. One of the worse decisions I have ever made. My thought process was ah well I am going to gain weight anyway so might as well enjoy the season. Of course, I was bound to get a little fluffy because I adore my food and Christmas is all about food! However, the fact I thought I could just wake up 1 January and be able to resume my usual routine was one of the biggest jokes I have ever played on myself. You do not become a fresh, newly inspired person because it is the 1 January, no this is a myth, the only way you wake up this way on the 1 January is if you implement the necessary plans and mindset. So you can do this any day of the year, not just 1 January.
Nonetheless there is something symbolic about 1 January so let us get you prepared for a successful 2019.
Create resolutions in every area of life
Throughout the year, and generally throughout life, you will experience periods of time where things will absolutely not be going in your favour. If you only set goals in finance, you will feel failure when your car breaks down and you are stuck with an unexpected repair bill or if you only set goals in fitness, you will feel failure when you unexpectedly get injured. Events occur which are out of your control so at times you need to set your focus elsewhere to ensure you feel as though you are still achieving things, otherwise you lose reason to get out of bed each morning and this can send you down some dark paths.
Above is a watered-down table of my 2018 goals and, as you can see, I have separated them into the seven areas of life. Of course some of these goals are more meaningful than others and some are harder to achieve than others. The fact I have a variety means I will always be achieving goals throughout the year which reinforces the “I can absolutely smash this” mentality when faced with one of the harder goals (which inevitably will make me feel faithless in myself at times because that is the reason why they are so difficult).
Furthermore, all seven areas of life intertwine with each other therefore neglecting one or more areas can cause issues in the areas of life you value higher. For instance, weight loss falls under the physical category yet it is linked to financial because your weight loss will depend on what foods and drinks you consume which of course comes at different prices. It is also linked to professional because if you are stressed and unsatisfied in your job, you may hold onto fat because of the stress or you may be more drawn to binge eating. Same for familial and spiritual.
Make both types of goals
One of the key points I try to drive home in every blog is that there is always two sides to every event, person, object and situation. Remembering this one fact will provide you with a very different way of living. In this context, you should create both chore-like and reward-like resolutions. For instance, in my table my legal and mandarin exams can be classified as chore-like resolutions because they require a great amount of hard work whereas my salsa parties are clearly reward-like resolutions. They’re momentary fun yet it is really cool to look back and see the collection of places I have danced salsa; that feels like a great accomplishment.
Ever have those moments where you feel like you aren’t achieving enough in life and are a little lost for purpose? My table is a perfect reminder that I have achieved plenty so far and that I have so much more to achieve. Trust me, when you are having a life blip, you will much rather look at a list of things with ticks next to them than a list of things without ticks (the unrealistic goals people commonly make) even if they aren’t all substantial achievements. Collectively they show you what your purpose is in life and that you are fulfilling it.
Be ready to adapt and develop
As I said at the start of my post, you can make resolutions for any time of the year and whilst 1 January is a great starting date, your year goals are a working progress. What you want to achieve in January may differ to what you want to achieve in April, or any other month for that matter, because you’ll have many life experiences and they may affect the type of life you want to live. For example, back in January I was so sure I wanted to continue my legal studies immediately after graduation yet here I am taking some time out focusing on other goals, which were impacted by my time in Malaysia in February. And you may still have the same goals, but throughout the year add to them; at the start of the year I set myself the goal of turning up to a salsa event on my own, now I have the goal of finding a salsa party every Saturday.
I break my year up quarterly; every 3 months I sit down and completely review my table (I also briefly review it weekly for minor amendments). It gives me a good level of appreciation of what I have done and achieved so far and it also gives me the opportunity to change and develop my goals as I may want to achieve different things or it acts as a reminder of what I need to start working towards next. Most importantly, at the end of 2018 I can review the year on paper, because the mind is not as good at remembering things as we think it is, and be blessed that it was epic.
What will your goals in the seven areas of life look like for 2019?