We often take that one night of the year to make promises to others about what we will or won’t do for the foreseeable future. More importantly, we also make these promises to ourselves. In some cases, we can’t live up to those newly established expectations of ourselves and what was initially an empowering and positive exercise becomes disappointing and frustrating.
Here are some reasons why we may struggle to maintain the resolutions that we set ourselves:
Readiness to change: We may not be ready to change, and as obvious as this sounds, it is vital. Our newly declared self may not align with our actual self, and this discrepancy can be challenging to manage. Take for example starting up a new exercise regime. To a regular exerciser, this may be quite a straightforward change, however to an individual who is more of a “couch potato”, this may be a stark contrast.
Target tracking: This idea is
important to monitoring our progress towards our desired outcome. If we don’t do this, we don’t know how far we have come or whether we are even heading in the right direction. Use your available resources to help you reach your targets. This could be apps or people which help us overcome our perceived barriers. Then, celebrate YOUR small wins!
Preparation: Preparation and planning are two fairly simple aspects that we can satisfy, but they just take a little nudge. This allows us to prepare for possible challenges and anticipate what could happen. It also allows a moment where we can answer tough questions related to our resolution prior to being confronted by it.
Over-confidence: This links to the previous point inasmuch as planning and preparation manages the amount of confidence that we experience. It helps us have a realistic level of confidence based on what lies ahead. Over-confidence on the other hand may mean that we don’t anticipate fully what lies ahead. Herein lies the differentiation between optimism and realism. At this point you need to ensure YOUR accountability for your targets.
Neglecting our past: It is important that we don’t do this. Our past acts as a marker of progress and so if we feel that it is not working, this may not be the case at all when looking at where we have come from. In addition to this, we may actually find the reason that we are struggling to reach our goals. Perhaps there is something implicit inhibiting us. Take the example of the exercise regime, in its purest form it is good for us, however, it may actually be compromising other aspects of our life such as family or social time.
Consider these factors above and think whether they perhaps relate to you in some way.
Once you have done that, consider the 4 methods below and perhaps match them to your unique challenges to help overcome them and stick to your new routine!
Personalise: Think about what is important to you. Think about why they are important. This will help you identify ways in which you can move closer towards these targets. Try and find unique targets for yourself that are specific to your life. These can often be more valuable than setting generic targets. This helps keep us on track and accountable.
Strengths based approach: This approach speaks to most of the challenges listed above. It however mostly resonates with readiness to change. By focussing on your strengths, you are better able to commit and remain committed to your targets. These are things you are good at. Take time to think about them!
Tell someone: This acts as a discriminative stimulus. By telling someone, they act as the stimulus to nudge us to stay on track. This can also act as an evaluative tool, someone who we can share the experience with and maybe even brainstorm.
Rewards: Before you can reward yourself, you need to be aware of and identify what success looks like to you. Celebrate small successes and celebrate the bigger successes. Perhaps even tailor your rewards accordingly.
Ultimately, the old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” chimes perfectly for this piece. Stick with it and you will eventually see the results that you desire!