While New Year’s is a time of celebration and joy, it’s also a time for reflection.
It’s a time to look back at the past 12 months and assess not only your achievements, the successes to be so proud of, but also failures and the lessons learned through them.
Take a moment now and wind the clock back to the very beginning of 2013.
Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions, those ambitious plans you had to change your life?
Can you still taste your excitement and anticipation for success?
How did things turn out? Did you meet your expectations?
I truly hope you did, and if you did, you have my sincere congratulations for your hard earned accomplishment.
If you didn’t, at least you’re in good company because, according to a large study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88% of all resolutions end in failure.
Does it really have to be this way, year after year frustratingly having high hopes but ending up disheartened and less self-confident, too?
No it doesn’t.
This year, change up your strategy to one that actually works by adopting these 12 New Year’s Resolution tactics:
1. Change Your Approach
When choosing your resolutions, do you think them through well before or, like most of us, jump at whatever is most bothersome at the moment?
Instead of last-minute resolutions, take the time to become more self-aware and realize the drivers for your choices.
2. Think For Yourself
Your choices should be directly related to the needs you want to satisfy to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Since your happiness is exclusively about you, ignore what’s trendy, what your friends are doing, and most of what you see on TV.
Understand that you are a unique individual and that what’s good for others won’t necessarily make you happy.
The first rule of happiness is: Know thyself.
3. Have A Plan
No project succeeds without a plan so apply this simple 3-step formula:
- Discover your needs
- Plan how you’ll fulfill them
- Act to make it happen
If you’re like most people, and not 100% sure what you need and how to make it happen, check out this free Happiness Toolkit.
4. Keep It Simple
Make one change at a time.
Making any significant change in your life is challenging and you’ll greatly increase your chances for success by focusing on just one effort.
Choose your most important goal from your plan, the one that will bring the most wanted change, and start working on it, step by step.
Don’t split your focus. Give your goal the time, energy, and patience it requires.
5. Be SMART
Vague statements of what you’re hoping to achieve will get you nowhere.
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) and write them down.
A goal like, “I want to lose weight,” is a guaranteed failure. You need to be much more specific and the best way to do it is to be SMART about it.
6. Baby Steps
To make the goal achievable you need to make it measurable, so chop your big hairy goal into bite-size mini-goals.
By doing this, you will avoid the procrastination arising from the overwhelming size of the challenge ahead of you.
It will also be easier to stay focused and motivated since your next success will be just around the corner and not beyond the big mountains in the distance.
7. Reward Every Victory
Always reward yourself for every victory, even the smallest.
Rewards are a great part of the motivational process. They help you build self-confidence and make you feel better while you work on achieving your big goal.
Helpful tip: If your goal is losing weight, don’t reward yourself with a pint of ice cream 🙂
8. With A Little Help from My Friends
Increase the chances of achieving your goals by making them public.
Share your goals with your friends and family, and seek their active support. Ask for helpful reminders to keep you on track.
Warning: Don’t be fooled by the feeling that you are making progress just by going public with your goal.
9. Keep A Journal
Writing a journal is a helpful tool to keep you on track and help you visualize your progress toward completion.
Start by describing how you are going to achieve your goal and make regular progress notes as you go.
Writing in your journal will make you think about why certain things happened and how you can change or improve the process.
Over time, your journal can become a great motivating factor – proof in itself that you are capable of changing your life just as you have done so successfully in the past.
Tip: Try writing right after you wake as you are more creative and deeply connected to your subconscious mind then.
10. Focus On The Positive
Imagine what your life will be like once you succeed. Make a list of the benefits you see and keep it somewhere clearly visible.
You can also draw a map, a graph or make a collage of images symbolizing your success in this endeavor.
Display it on a fridge or by your computer screen so it reminds you of your goal.
Psychology secret: Move it somewhere else every week or two so you don’t stop seeing its message due to familiarity blindness.
11. It’s All About Your Needs
Happiness is when your life fulfills your needs.
Your life. Your needs.
Tailor your changes to your needs, your dreams and your desires.
12. New Year’s Resolutions Are Lame – Do This Instead…
Here’s my best piece of advice: Stop waiting for New Year’s to introduce changes into your life.
Why not make it this New Year’s resolution to replace your lame once-a-year resolutions with the deep satisfaction of continuous self-improvement?
Since every day is the first day of the year yet to come, the only question is how you will choose to spend that time. Make that choice daily and you can’t help but make your resolutions come true.
Through Izabela Lasocka’s constant pursuit of happiness and work at Happiness International, she inspires people to courageously follow their unique path to a fulfilled life. To get some of your own inspiration, watch How to Be Happy: 3 Steps to Living Your Unique Path to Happiness, part of the free Happiness Toolkit.