Some of us are eternally optimistic, while others shrug at the idea.
What am I talking about? The New Year’s resolutions.
At the end of the year, many of us start setting goals for the upcoming year, but just as many stopped doing that because they’d failed to accomplish their goals too many times.
Love or hate them, but most importantly, understand the science behind our motivation, self-discipline, and, overall, our self-regulation.
To make them or not to make them?
I say: make some!
Research shows that the so-called *temporal landmark* or clean slate can help you find the motivation to work on your goals.
But make them right, as they are a double-edged sword.
If you just go the way most people do, you can actually hurt yourself.
But if you approach them well, you can reap the benefits far beyond achieving the actual goal!
What happens when you don’t accomplish your goals?
HINT: not NOTHING.
It depends on why you didn’t accomplish your goals. Was it because of things beyond your control or down to your actions/ inaction?
It’s safe to say: life always ‚happens’; things don’t go to plan.
But every time you set your goals means you promise yourself something.
If you break that promise, you might think there’s no one to blame and there are no consequences. WRONG. There is a far bigger consequence: you stop trusting your word and taking your own goals seriously.
With every broken promise to yourself, you lose a bit of your self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Fall 7 times, get up 8. But also check what makes you fall in the first place.
Just grinding it and powering through won’t cut it if you’ve failed at something many times before.
First of all, investigate WHAT WENT WRONG the last time you tried.
How did you fail?
- Was it too much too soon?
- Was the goal not that important to you?
- Did you chase something ‘better’ instead of sticking to the original goal?
- Was it too hard -whatever that means to you? (‚Hard’ can mean: boring, unsatisfying, unclear, anxiety-inducing, etc.)
Take a closer look at your past failure so that you know what tripped you over, and prepare yourself better this time.
PROMISES ARE CHEAP; EXECUTION IS NOT.
If your self-esteem and self-discipline are on the lower side of the spectrum, I suggest setting some foundational goals first:
- Re-establishing your self-trust so that you can start taking your own word seriously again
- Raising your self-efficacy by only making to yourself promises that you know you can keep. Start small and start slow; you can always do more later, but make sure you stick to your non-negotiables, however small and unimpressive they are. You will most likely need to adjust the scope a couple of times.
- Embrace self-compassion; be understanding, but be firm like a good parent. Parent yourself well.
- Align your goals with your true values
- Align your intentions with your actions
To a degree, you also simply have to … embrace the suck.
And if you want to learn more about the Art of Better New Year’s Resolutions, check out my latest ebook 🙂
And good luck!