There’s a quote by Georgina Bloomberg which says I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think if you want to change something, change it today and don’t wait until the New Year.
When it comes to resolutions, we don’t have to wait until the New Year actually comes around. We can actually make resolutions and improve our lives year-round. But that’s not always the case because resolutions are tied to a trend, which happens to be on New Year’s.
Eighty percent of people break their resolutions by the first week of February, and only 8-10% successfully achieve them. Most people like the idea of making resolutions, but they don’t actually do anything about them.
As we approach the end of the year, we get busier with holiday parties, shopping, and traditions. Next thing we know, we’re past January first without a plan for the New Year. We have ideas and dreams, but no actionable plans.
Most people take it to the extreme and force themselves to achieve their New Year’s resolutions right off the bat. But overtime, this leads to resentment and discouragement. They no longer have the inspiration and desire to make changes in their lives and go back to their old ways.
Therefore, it’s important to plan now.
There are things we can and should do in December to set us up for ultimate success when we flip the calendar to January.
Not only will these help us set resolutions, but also achieve them! These tips and mindset shifts will help us actualize our dreams and let our desired lifestyles become a reality.
No matter what our goals and resolutions are, and no matter what time of year it is, it’s important to take the right approach and have the right perspectives in place.
Because we’re so close to the New Year, here are seven things you can and should do in December.
#1 Look at the New Year Objectively, Then Plan.
To plan for a successful new year, look at the hard facts first.
What are some major events that you already know about? How old are you now and how old will you turn? Are there scheduled vacations or business trips? Which holidays do you celebrate with your family? What traditions are unavoidable for you? Etc.
Then, plan, but only with this information for now. Look at the calendar and write down these “hard dates.” These hard facts will help you plan for the things you want to accomplish without feeling guilty for having to choose one over the other later.
By looking at the new year objectively, you look ahead in a way that is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions. These hard facts are not dependent on your resolutions or goals that you want to achieve, but rather act as the groundwork so that you can plan accordingly for the entire year.
#2 Challenge Your Perspective and Mindset.
After looking at the New Year objectively, ask yourself if you need to change your perspective and mindset, so that you can achieve your goals and resolutions.
There’s a reason you want to set goals in the first place. You want to change something about your life, otherwise you wouldn’t set these goals. But for your life to change in the physical sense, you must challenge your perspective and mindset.
There’s a fantastic quote by Lao Tzu, where he said, watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny. It all begins in our thoughts. We must ask ourselves why we want to set certain goals and resolutions. Why do we want to make these changes in our lives?
If you want to be more healthy and fit, ask yourself why. If you feel you need to budget better or make more money, ask yourself why. By asking yourself why, you challenge your perspective and mindset to think bigger. You get clarity about your resolutions and goals and stir up motivation. As you challenge your perspective and mindset, write your answers down to look back on them when you need a reminder.
#3 Practice commitment to small resolutions now.
Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something with the quality of staying determined in those decisions.
There are resolutions you can make right now to get you into the habit of staying determined. There are things you can do right now that will help you practice commitment. By practicing commitment to small goals, you set yourself up to achieve bigger goals.
For example, if you haven’t been working out but want to when the New Year comes around, commit to daily walks to help you get in the exercising habit. If you want to learn a specific skill or hobby, watch one or two YouTube videos about that hobby or skill once per week. Set small, attainable goals to get into the habit of being committed to your goals and resolutions.
#4 Create a system that works for you.
Systems protect you from you. If you have a system in place, you’ll be able to make choices more objectively. Think about it, if you took away emotions out of every decision, things would not be that hard.
Creating a system goes hand in hand with #3. Along with practicing commitment to small daily goals, a system is a set of principles or actions to which something is done. It’s a framework that helps you get back in the groove when you fail at something. No matter what happens during the day, a system in place can be as simple as writing daily evening reflections or having a catch phrase that gets you out of your head and reminds you of your why’s.
Fly up to bird’s eye view and follow your system. That way, when the new year comes, you already have a system in place that protects you from going back to where you were three months ago.
#5 Schedule time to create a master list.
Set aside one day this month to spend a few hours writing out all that you want to achieve in the new year. This will be your master list. Pick only one to three things that you can commit to accomplishing next month.
Once you accomplish these one to three things, you can select the next one to three things for your next month. If you achieve before the month is up, select the next goal or goals for the rest of the month. Let this be part of your system.
The objective of this point is to schedule time to create a master list of your resolutions for the new year.
#6 Don’t be hard on yourself.
You’re acting on your life to make changes that will set you up for success.
You’re doing what you need to do to make your life the best. You’re doing what most people don’t want to do. It’s hard because it’s new and it’s challenging because it’s unfamiliar. You’re embarking on a journey to get stronger.
So, don’t get hard on yourself when something doesn’t work out. Don’t put yourself down when you don’t achieve a daily goal. Keep going and celebrate the fact that you’re on the winning side already!
Think of this point like hiking. When you get to a trailhead, you’re excited and ready to hike. Somewhere along the way, it gets hard, and you express that. But you don’t beat yourself up for being tired or sweating or feeling pain in your legs, you just keep going. Once you get to the top or the end of your destination, you get the benefit of the view and you’re proud of yourself for pushing through and making it. You’re proud of yourself that you even went.
The reason you’re even thinking about change or growth is a huge victory in itself. So, don’t get hard on yourself as you prepare for the New Year, and not to be cliche, but also the “new you.”
#7 Pretend Yourself Forward.
Here’s a little secret: we’re all pretending.
Imagine your ideal self and pretend you’re them. Not because you’re inauthentic or untrue to yourself, but because that’s where you want to be and the person you want to become. It feels like you’re pretending because it’s currently not natural for you. You’re still practicing and imitating. You’re working your way towards your ideal self. Repetitive behavior turns into habits, and habits shape our lives. Therefore, pretend yourself forward.
When we start making changes in our lives by working on new habits, setting new goals, and trying new things, it will be tempting to compare ourselves to others. At its core and definition, comparison is not bad. It’s part of our human cognition and can be beneficial for our personal development if we use it right. When we compare ourselves, we get information about what and where we want to be, if that’s what we focus on.
We won’t feel like we belong at first, and we will experience “imposter syndrome” because this new lifestyle isn’t natural to us yet. When this happens, it’s important to pretend yourself forward.
Pretend you’re committed. Pretend you’re generous. Pretend you’re fit. Pretend you got it figured out. Pretend because you’ve got nothing to lose. Stay tuned for a post on this particular concept.
This is the best way to plan for your new year without getting jumbled up and scrambling around. Make it your mission this month to set yourself up for success. So that when the new year comes around, you’ve already laid out the groundwork with your calendar and your mindset, you’re actively practicing commitment, you have a system in place with a master list of resolutions, and you’re taking one step at a time.
And finally, resolutions can be made at any time, so if you’re reading this mid-year, implement the same steps and make changes now.
How will you plan for the New Year? What resolutions are you setting now?
“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”– Lao Tzu