I can’t quite remember when exactly we all start abandoning our new year’s resultions but I think it is about now. Personally, I always find September a better time for resolutions which I think must hark back to the new school term. Still, that’s me. If your resolutions are beginning to falter, then you might like to spend a bit of time thinking about why. In my experience there are several common reasons why people fail to implement their plans. Here are some things to consider if you are at the stage of reviewing/relinquishing your previous resolutions
Do you really want to do it?
Not as daft as it sounds. Many people resolve to be the person they feel (in their dreams) they should be. Or they are responding to someone else’s idea about who they should be or what they should be doing. Research shows that to really succeed you need to be internally motivated which means in effect that you are doing it for yourself. If your goals are the same every year, and you never achieve them, reconsider your goals.
Is it overwhelming?
Much better to make a small change that sticks rather than create a grand plan, and feel exhausted before you start. Think small if thinking big creates paralysis.
Is it too dull?
Change requires effort and so if a goal does not enthuse you, it will be difficult to get started and certainly difficult to keep going. Focus on the ends, not the means and remind yourself, when you waver, why it is important to you.
Is it important enough?
As I have already said, change requires effort and commitment so if a goal does not matter enough, you aren’t going to focus on it. You need space in your life to make changes and if you don’t have it, then your first priority is to create the time and resources you are going to need.
Are you trying to do too many things at once?
Far be it from me to tell you how much you can cope with but given that time and effort is required, be realistic about what you can achieve. Would it work best for you to concentrate on making one big change in one area of your life or would it be better to take small steps in three different areas?
Notice how you feel
As you consider your options, notice how you feel . This is important feedback. Many people don’t pay any attention to how something feels but as humans we tend to move towards pleasure and away from pain. As you think about your plans do you feel: excited, exhilarated, determined, depressed, bored, bewildered, focused, frantic, challenged, chilled, stressed or calm. You get the idea. The thing to do is to relax, think about your plan and notice the first thing that pops into your head or that you feel in your body.
Way before you get round to the SMART aspects of your planning you need to make sure that
- It’s for you and nobody else
- It excites or interests you
- It is important to you
- You have the physical and mental resources right now
- It feels good