Ah yes, it’s that time of year again—time for New Year’s resolutions. We all want to start each year fresh. We see it as an opportunity to start anew, push the reset button, and refocus on what is most important to us.
However, sometimes it’s easy for us to get off track. We may start the new year with good intentions and plenty of motivation, but after a few weeks or months, it’s easy to lose sight of our goals and see our resolutions fizzle out with all the new year sparkle.
Here are three simple yet powerful strategies to help you make 2016 your best year yet. I’d challenge you to invest in yourself for 30 minutes, grab a pen and paper, and complete the exercises below today as we learn how to keep New Year’s resolutions.
1. Celebrate Your Success
Each year it’s all too easy to look back and see your failures—the goals you didn’t accomplish, the workout program that wasn’t finished, or the relationships that went sour. But here’s a not-so-new newsflash: If you focus on the negative, you’ll simply get more of it.
Let’s remember that success breeds success. So the first step to making 2016 your best year yet is to look at all of your wins from 2015, big and small. Take out an old-fashioned pen and paper, and make a list of your wins from 2015. Once you open the gates of success and start taking note of your wins, you will begin to see more and more of them.
How will this help you in 2016? Once you see that you are indeed doing great things, it’s evidence for your logical mind that you can surely achieve even more success in 2016.
2. Recognize What You Learned
Some of life’s lessons can be easy, while some can be quite difficult. Whether you faced unprecedented challenges with work, your health, or your relationships, write down what you learned. This isn’t merely an exercise in notating failures. As you already know, failure is simply a lesson. Life attempts to teach us the same lessons until we actually learn them.
This exercise is an opportunity for you to fast-track through those challenging times and see what you learned so the next time around, you know what to do differently to get the results you truly want.
This exercise is also helpful because it takes the emotions out of thoughts like Ugh, I’m just a failure. It helps you look at it more scientifically and realize that you as a person are not your behaviors.
Look at any so-called “failures” like a science experiment. What could you do differently next time? What is the real lesson that you learned? Take your thinking to a higher level, and instead of entertaining thoughts of failure, apply your ability to be a conscious observer acquiring new knowledge and taking different action.
Whether you want to pinpoint how you achieved success or you want to figure out what caused less than stellar results, doing this exercise can lay the foundation for an amazing 2016.
3. Set Both Big and Small Goals
Nothing can destroy motivation faster than being overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to become paralyzed, which leads to inaction and failure. This is a primary reason why many New Year’s resolutions fail. However, you can set yourself up for success by setting both big and small goals alike for 2015.
Why is this so important? Realize that success is an emotion. When you feel successful, it leads to more success. Whether the success is finishing a tough workout or securing your company’s most powerful new partnership, your brain simply says, “SUCCESS!” and you feel the emotion of success.
Knowing this, you can leverage how your brain works for maximum gains as you learn how to keep New Year’s resolutions. Set some smaller goals for the beginning part of 2016 that you know without a doubt you can accomplish. Maybe it’s to finish a small project for your colleague, or perhaps it’s to eat three more servings of veggies this week. Whatever you decide, make some small, very specific, easy-to-achieve goals.
What you will notice is that even though you set goals you knew were super easy, it begins to breed more success. You then begin to bridge that elusive gap between New Year’s resolutions and lasting achievements.
If the above exercises sound good but you would like a partner in success to help keep you accountable, schedule a free consultation today. Together, let’s make 2016 your best year yet!
Here’s to your success in 2016—
Dr. Alex Ledgister