New Year’s Resolutions!
2021 has officially begun, and most of us have made resolutions to achieve. We have lots of things we want to change, and no better time then now, Right? Understanding the reasons behind resolutions is more important than making the actual list, and here is why.
Myth # 1: You know exactly what you want to change.
Reality: We should focus on the reasons why we are trying to change.
You think you will be happier when you lose 10 pounds. Why? Is it to fit into your old clothes from when you were younger? Is it to make yourself more attractive for your spouse or future potential partner? Setting a goal without understanding the purpose of the goal makes individuals less likely to accomplish the goal and more likely to feel dissatisfied, even when the goal is met. If the goal is to lose 10 pounds, and the reason is so you can feel more confident in yourself, will this weight loss actually result in more self-confidence? Self-confidence is about loving your body regardless of the size and shape. Maybe losing 10 pounds will help you feel more comfortable with your body; however, are there other aspects in your life that have caused you to lose confidence in yourself? Maybe a broken relationship, feeling discontent with your job, or a battle with depression can also be contributing to your need for higher self-esteem. Start with what you want to feel, then set goals that help obtain those positive desired feelings or eliminate the negative ones.
Myth # 2: Big goals are better than little ones.
Reality: It is all about baby steps.
We often set huge financial goals for the New Year, like “let’s save 25 percent of our paychecks,” and it may be feasible for the first quarter, but things come up during the year that can leave us feeling like we are not meeting our huge financial plan. Medical bills, unforeseen broken appliances, taxes, a big splurge on a vacation, or car repairs; some of these things we can control, but other we cannot. Setting up an automatic deduction of $50 per week from your checking account into savings, and then setting up quarterly reminders to move the money into an investment account, will help you accomplish your goal in a more manageable way. We are more likely to achieve goals that are broken into small, specific steps, and we should celebrate these small steps along the way to meeting our big goal.
Myth #3: It is easy to make one small change.
Reality: Changing anything takes commitment and time.
Small changes, such as reading for 30 minutes a day or exercising four days a week, seem easy, right? On paper, yes, they do; however, a habit forms from a behavior that is repeated for three months straight. Any type of behavioral change, big or small, requires continuous effort until it becomes an automatic part of our routine. And adding something to your routine means subtracting something else. Reading 30 minutes each day may mean watching less television per day or getting 30 minutes less sleep each night. Even the slightest change is difficult.
Myth #4: Starting January 1st, you are a whole new person.
Reality: You are the exact same person you were the previous year.
Yes, we want to change, we want improvement, and we want a fresh start; however, we cannot re-invent ourselves all at once. Change takes time, commitment, and needs to be done in small goals. Start with changing one small thing about yourself over a period of 3-4 months, then try introducing a new change to your life. Eating healthy, cutting out television, saving more money, and exercising daily are all great goals, but trying to do these all at once will be overwhelming and ultimately will lead to failure in the long term.
Myth #5: You don’t have to write your New Year’s resolutions down. Just thinking about them counts.
Reality: Write your goals down, and allow others to hold you accountable.
Make a list of your goals, the reasons and feelings behind these goals, a plan to obtain these goals, and a timeline. Measurable commitments are easier to keep track of rather than lofty commitments, such as “I want to be happier.” If you want to be happier, find measurable ways to do this, such as meeting new friends, learning a new hobby, and understanding what exactly makes you happy. Keep a log of these things, and ask others to help you meet these goals by holding you accountable.
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