How to readjust your New Year’s Resolutions & get back on track
We are now at the end of January, so I thought it could be a good time to do a check-in on any New Year’s Resolutions or goals we may have set for the new year. Are you feeling frustrated because you are not totally rocking your resolutions or goals? Did you start off strong and motivated, but now you find yourself losing steam and sliding back into your old routine and habits?
I feel you – been there, done that. We are all human, after all, and the struggle is real! But never fear – there is still time to re-assess and course correct. After all, today is a new day. So, let’s do a check-in and see how we can get things back on track.
If you find yourself off track, there are likely a couple of common culprits to blame. First, you may have tried to tackle and change too much at once. This has likely caused you to become overwhelmed and has divided your focus into too many directions. In this state, it is easy to become side-tracked by daily responsibilities and challenges.
Second, you have decided on your goal(s) for the new year, but you haven’t really examined and changed your existing habits in order to take the necessary actions to work toward your new goal(s). We all have our existing habits – think of it as our default mode. Often our habits and default mode of operating are not serving our best interests.
First issue: trying to tackle and change too much at once
Perhaps you have the habit of setting lots of goals that you want to tackle all at once. I remember in the past, I would set soooo many New Year’s Resolutions – as if I was trying to be a mega overachiever in terms of goal setting. What I didn’t realize back then was that the only thing I was setting myself up for was a mega case of disappointment. At some point, I read somewhere that I should set no more than three New Year’s Resolutions at once. So I tried that, but I would usually struggle with even that number – losing focus along the way and getting sidetracked.
As a result, I have decided to get super clear and specific in my resolution and goal setting. So this year I only set one goal. I do have in mind for the year the main areas I want to focus on and make progress in, but for now, from all of that, I have chosen only one area to focus on. And it is really very simple – sleep. Yes, I want to focus on getting more and better sleep.
I’ve decided on putting all my focus and energy into improving my routine, habits, and discipline so that I’m regularly getting into bed earlier and falling asleep earlier. My goal is to wake up well-rested so that I can tackle my projects and tasks with more energy, efficiency, and creativity. I see the simple improvement of more and better sleep paying big dividends in my life and work.
Best of all, instead of trying to focus on, remember, track, and change three different goals, I only have one to focus on and to give it all I’ve got. So for at least the next month or two, I’ve decided to focus on increasing and improving my sleep. Once I feel that I have improved my sleep and created a new solid and sustainable habit, I will consider turning my attention to a new goal.
I invite you to do the same.
Of the resolutions/goals you have set, ask yourself:
- If I could only focus on one goal, what should it be?
- Which one change/improvement would bring me the greatest overall positive return on investment (ROI) in my life?
Make the choice to focus on that one for now. Keep the others on your list, and consider returning to them in the future. But for now, put all your focus and attention on your #1 top priority goal.
Next issue: failing to examine and change your existing habits to reach your new goal
As I mentioned before, we all have our existing habits – the way we behave and take action on a regular basis – in most cases, daily. These habits have become our standard operating procedures (SOPs) for our life. For example, at the end of a long day, you might find yourself in the habit of flopping down on the sofa, exhausted, for a Netflix binge session accompanied by your snack of choice (ask me how I know!) instead of working toward a project or goal you want to accomplish.
Especially when we are feeling tired or stressed, we tend to default to our habits and SOPs. Very often, I’m sure you’ll agree, these are not serving our best interests. Therefore, I invite you to bring your one goal into focus and begin with the end in mind by imagining how your ideal scenario would look. Imagine you had accomplished your goal and everything were running smoothly. What would that look like for you?
With that happy picture in mind, reverse engineer your situation. Step-by-step, what would you need to change about your regular, daily habits in order to make your goal a reality?
For example, with my goal of more sleep, I decided on my target bedtime. Then I asked myself how much time do I have available to work with in the evening after dinner. I next listed out what I need to complete during that evening time. I also considered how I could make better use of my time and improve my current routine. I considered what things I need to stop doing or reduce the time I spend doing (e.g. Netflix), and I considered what things I would like to start doing (e.g. reading in bed before I turn out the light).
I mapped out an ideal evening routine for myself leading up to my new, earlier bedtime. I decided on my non-negotiables that must be completed, and I decided on my nice-to-haves. This allows me to adjust as I go. For example, as I keep an eye on the clock and check my progress, I can decide that tonight I can enjoy a bit of TV time and/or reading in bed. Or perhaps I realize that tonight since I need to do a load of laundry, I will choose to skip TV in order to get into bed on time because I have decided that extra sleep is more important to me than watching TV.
The key takeaway here is to consider how your current habits are supporting or interfering with your ability to achieve your goal. Change and adjust accordingly. Remember that ‘the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to completely change everything overnight. Work on making progress. Full disclosure, I still am not making it into bed every night by my earlier bedtime. However, I am making it into bed much earlier and having a much more intentional and productive evening routine. I am continually improving, step-by-step, and I am confident that I will get there.
Now it’s your turn. Will you choose and focus on one goal? How are your current habits supporting or interfering with your ability to achieve your goal? What changes will you make to help you move forward toward your goal?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!