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The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

 The Ultimate Guide to Keeping your New Years Resolutions 2018 and Beyond.  ROX Jewelry Founder Shares Tips and Tricks to Meeting Your Goals with Success

What's your New Year's Resolution?  Are you going to lose 20 pounds? Run a marathon?  Travel more?  Quit your dull job and leave that pain-in-the-ass boss behind? Whatever it is – you're not alone in setting one. In fact, 41% of Americans usually make resolutions!  However, we are constantly bombarded with statistics such as:

Only 9.2% of people succeed in their resolutions and “80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February” - U.S. News

Such statistics may intimidate us and give us an excuse not to achieve our goals, because most people don’t anyway.  But, let’s flip them and do a little math.

  • If 41% of Americans usually make resolutions, and America’s last census population was 308,745,538 then that means that means that 126,585,671 people make resolutions each year.  
  • If 9.2% of the Americans that make resolutions succeed, therefore about 11,645,882 people succeed each year.

This means that literally millions of people succeed each year.  So why shouldn’t you be among them?  I know this is possible because last year, I quit my job, traveled the world, started a company, and am happier than I could have ever dreamed I would have been at the start of 2017.  I want you to join me in joy and achievement, so, I created this post to equip you with the tools you need to go out there and be among the 9.2%.  Let's get started!

1. MAKE A FIRM, NO-NONSENSE DECISION TO CHANGE

Making a decision to change needs to start with you.  Write down exactly what your resolution is, and write it in as much detail as humanly possible.  For example, if you’d like to be healthier, then write down the kind of exercise you will do, how you will eat, how you will feel.  If you want to get stronger, how many reps will you do?  At what weights?  By when?  After you have written your goal down, write down WHY you want this, WHY it is absolutely essential that you achieve this.  I’m serious about this, DO THIS!!!

Change your language.  After you’ve made a firm decision to change your life to achieve this goal, you need to stop treating the goal as though it’s something in the future.  What do I mean?  I mean you’re no longer permitted to say “I’m going to be healthy” or “I will be healthy” or “I want to be healthy.”  Those phrases focus on what you lack, not what you’re working for– which inherently diminishes the work you are putting in.  Instead, when someone asks you what you’re resolution is this year, replace “I’m going to be healthy” with “I am living a healthy lifestyle”.  You’ve made the decision.  This is your new truth.  It’s a lot easier to hold yourself to something when you’re already doing it.

 2. PLANNING & PREPARATION

Don’t let these two words scare you off – they’re your new best friends, your secret weapons.

I’m going to make a broad, controversial statement right now:

Most of the people that fail don’t want to spend the time, energy, or effort it takes to plan and prepare.  Now, if they aren’t prepared to put in the sweat for this, then they are hopeless in the face of the other challenges that will take time, energy, and yes, effort to work through on the path to achieving their goals.

So, how do I plan?  I want to prepare right now!

 

Get a planner solely dedicated to this goal.  I prefer a paper one, but the medium doesn’t matter.  Hell, use google calendars if you feel like it.  Got your planner?  Good!  Now let’s put things in it.  

 

Don’t start a marathon with a sprint.   A huge mistake people make is starting by going at their goal 100%, giving themselves no time for anything else.  Ultimately they burn themselves out because the pace they’ve set isn’t sustainable.  

 

Start Small.  Start by picking one day of each month, and a goal you want met by then.  Write the goal on that day in your calendar.  Make your goal something that won’t be easy, but you know is within your reach.  Make sure that this small goal is a step that gets you to your ultimate resolution.   For example, if I want to lose 20 lbs by the end of the year, then by January 31st my goal could be to have joined a gym and planned out the days of the week that work best for me to go.  Remember that statistic about most people quitting by the second week of February?  Mark that week, and make a small goal to still be working towards your resolution at that time.

 

Think about the challenges that may come, and prepare for them.  I remember the fear that swept over me the day I planned to quit my job to move on and follow my dreams (and subsequently start this awesome company).  The fear was massive.  So massive, that if I didn’t prepare for that moment, I probably wouldn’t have been able to muster up the courage to get out of my car that morning and actually go through with the single action that I’m convinced has been the best decision in my life.  What did I do to prepare?  I spent the days leading up to it calling friends that knew this was what was best for me and practicing what I would say.  I wrote and printed out my two weeks notice days before.  I practiced deep breathing.  I read, re-read, and even added to my list of reasons why I needed to leave.  I cleaned out my office the night before.  To summarize, I made a plan so that my fear wouldn’t make me back out of my decision.

Now, think about your resolution.  What are some obstacles you may face?  Don’t tell me there are none you can think of – if that were the case, then you would have already done it, right?  So, if you’re training for a marathon, but you hate cold weather, how will you deal with still training a cold, rainy day?  Will you have a gym with a track to run at?  Will you buy appropriate workout clothes (ahead of time) to keep you comfortable?  If you crave pizza often but are trying to lose 30 lbs, what will you do when you start to get these cravings?  Maybe you’ll have a healthy alternative sitting in your fridge at all times, or perhaps you will limit the number of times a month you allow yourself to indulge in pizza.  The point is that you know you better than anyone, so be honest with yourself about the challenges ahead, and then plan for them.

 

Don’t negotiate with yourself.  You made your goal.  Look back at the reasons you wrote down about WHY you want this. You are presently working towards it – remember that is your truth.  I love this quote from Jen Sincero’s book about how she rationalized not smoking after she decided to quit: 

“I’m not going to go home and negotiate about whether or not I’m going to smoke a cigarette, just as I’m not going to go home and negotiate about whether or not to snort some horse tranquilizers.  I don’t negotiate about snorting horse tranquilizers because I’m not a horse-tranquilizer snorter.  Now that I don’t smoke, I’m not going to negotiate about smoking because I don’t smoke.”

Remember that bit in Section 1 about changing your language?  Still relevant.  Think about how you could use this thought process to nip negotiation in the bud with your goal.

 

Save things.  Bookmark articles (like this one) that help you move towards your goals.  Create Pinterest Boards dedicated to motivation.  Snip pages in magazines of images that inspire you.  The bigger your arsenal of motivation is, the more you have to refer back to when things aren’t easy-peasy.

 

Reward yourself.  We talked about setting small goals, but what about the bigger milestones?  Like losing 50% of the weight of your goal.  Or going to the gym consistently for a month?  Or writing your two weeks notice?  Or saving up enough money to start investing?  These are joyful moments that should be praised.  So let’s plan and prepare to reward yourself, you’re awesome, you’ve earned this! 

Bring out the planners again! Most planners/ calendars have a section for notes, but if yours doesn’t, you can do this on another sheet of paper, and keep it in your planner (or create a google doc).  

  • Write down 4-6 milestones towards achieving your goal.  
  • Next to them, write down how long you estimate it will take to get to that milestone
  • Put that milestone in your planner for the date, or range of time, that you hope to achieve it by.  
  • Then, write down 4-6 things (equal to the number of milestones you wrote) that you would absolutely love to have or do.  These are your rewards to yourself.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure these rewards line up with your ultimate goal AKA don’t reward yourself with tons of calories for losing 10lbs.

  • Next, write down how much those rewards cost (can be money, or time, etc.)
  • Lastly, get out your phone or calculator and do a bit of math to figure out how much per week/month you would need to save up to do those things – start calculation after previous goal.  Your last milestone should be the completion of your resolution.  Start saving up for this at the beginning of the year.  Please see example below if you need help with this: 

Example: Rewards for training for a marathon

*disclaimer: I am not a marathon runner, so these are time estimates

Milestone

Time to Get to Milestone

Reward

Cost of Reward

How much I need to save

Run a 5K all the way through

1-2 months (end Jan-Feb)

Lulu Lemon Running Pants

$108

~$13.50-$27.00 per week

Run a 10K in under 1 hour 4 minutes (average for women)

4 months (April)

New Handbag

$200

~$16.67-$40.00 per week starting after meet first milestone

Run a Half-Marathon

7 months (July)

Go camping at cool national park

$200 + 2 vacation day

~$11.76-$22.22 per week starting at second milestone + 2 vacation days

Run 20 miles without stopping

9 months (September)

Full spa day

$300

~$23.08-$60.00 per week starting after 3rd milestone

Finish a Marathon

11-12 months (November- December)

Trip to Bahamas

$2000

$3.84-$4.65 per week starting at beginning of year

Make this list for yourself.  Do that math.  Get excited about all of the awesome things coming your way.  Write down in your calendar when you will put money into a savings account, or PayPal etc. for these things.  When you need extra motivation, or willpower, look at this list.  Let yourself get excited over and over again. 

When you achieve each of these goals, give yourself the reward.  DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO CLAIM THESE REWARDS UNLESS YOU COMPLETE YOUR GOALS – EVEN IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY.

Hold yourself accountable.  You got this.  Look at all of the awesome stuff you have planned! I’m already excited for you to achieve your goal!

3. Put in the “Good Stuff” 

Then make it a habit.  “Good Stuff” is a term I’m going to use to describe something that only you can define.  The Good Stuff is whatever makes you feel inspired, determined, alive, optimistic, fill-in-the-blank-here, awesomeness. This is the stuff that you need to make an active effort to incorporate into your life as often as possible.  Once you make it a habit, then the positive changes can unfold.  To, albiet cheesily, quote Bruno Mars, “Don’t believe me?  Just watch.”

If that above paragraph was way too vague for you and you need some extra guidance, then please see below for some suggestions:

  • Read self-help books that inspire you click here for a blog post on some of our favorite reads (coming soon)
  • Volunteer or give back
  • Talk to/ Hang out with/ Be around people that make you feel like your goals are achievable ***more on this in the next section
  • Listen to podcasts by people that inspire you. We are huge fans of theIN
  • Create a playlist of songs that make you feel invincible.
  • If you have a strong faith, then read scripture that inspires you.
  • Making time to go places that inspire you. That could be your favorite coffee shop, a place in the park, somewhere with a scenic view, etc.
  • Do yoga, run, rock climb, hike, spin class, any sort of exercise.  Remember when Elle Woods said endorphins make you happy?  That’s totally true.

 

For Bonus Points: Write down 10 things that are the “Good Stuff” for you, then pick one week in your calendar to do all of these things, making sure that you do at least one per day.

 

Example:

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

• Go to (insert location that inspires you here)

• Go on a hike

• Read one chapter of (insert self-help book title)

• Yoga class before work

• Call awesome friend that I haven’t seen in a while

• Listen to new podcast

• Dance to playlist while getting ready

• Hang out with that girl from accounting that’s a total badass

• Read another chapter of book

• Volunteer for a cause that speaks to you


4. Get Support 

Phone a friend.  All jokes aside, it’s going to be a lot easier to do this if you have someone who really has your back.  This person can be someone who is just as dead set on their goal as you are, or they can just be someone who wants you to be happy.  Either way, having someone to encourage you is going to make a world of difference.  Set up times to check in with each other and make sure it’s a two-way street of motivation.

 

Coaching.  This one is one to approach with caution. There are two types of motivation to think about when considering this: intrinsic and extrinsic.  If you don’t think you can achieve your goal without a coach, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you need a coach because you lack the intrinsic motivation (true desire) to achieve the goal, and want a coach to motivate you (extrinsic motivation)?
  2. Do you want a coach because they can offer you experience and insight that you don’t currently have, and you believe that you can truly learn from them more effectively than you could on your own?

If you answered yes to question one and no to question 2, then coaching is not for you, and you need to find the intrinsic motivation on your own.  (Think about why you’re doing this here, remember Section 1?)

While there are many coaches (life, business, fitness, etc.) that are a fantastic investment, unfortunately, not every “coach” is qualified to give themselves that title.  If you choose to go the coaching path, then please do your research.  Don’t take business advice from someone who has never been successful in business, and don’t throw your money away on the next guy pitching diet fad or ‘crazy fast fat-burning workout routine’.  Find someone who has the knowledge you want to learn, the credentials, and has the numbers to back it up.  

 

Therapy.  I’m a strong believer that everyone, no matter who you are, should go to therapy. When it comes to setting goals, this can be especially valuable.  When things aren’t going the way you hope, then therapy is a great way to get to the root of the problem.  This is because dialoguing with someone who is an outsider to your life, and also happens to have a PHD in Psychology, can give you a refreshing new perspective, and help pull you out of the negative feedback loops  or thought patterns.  Forget the stigma, going to therapy doesn’t make you weird, weak, or crazy; it makes you self-aware, accountable, and heard.

5. Realize that it’s okay if things don’t go exactly to plan.

Say you are on your way to living a healthier lifestyle.  Let’s say you are doing everything according to plan.  Let’s even say you’re on a really good streak.  Then that day happens:  the day you down a whole bottle of wine, eat half a pizza, and are too hungover the next day to go to the gym.  Afterwords, most people experience one of these:

  • Total self-loathing, which tends to spiral until you give up on your goal completely just for making one mistake (looking at all the Type-A’ers out there)
  • Denial; chalking it up as a thing that happened, and not thinking about it further (until it happens again)
  • Playing the victim and making excuses. “What?! I’m going through a breakup okay?  Who cares if I let loose a bit?  Do you know how hard this is emotionally for me?  I can pick up where I left off when I feel better.”

Odds are one or more of the above resonate with you.  And that’s okay.  But what if I told you there’s another, more powerful option?

 

Learn from it. This part is tough, and often people skip it because they are afraid to confront themselves (aka they’re in denial).  But, this is the part that makes you more powerful, more in control of keeping your goals.  You need to ask yourself tough questions about your feelings to get to the root of why you did what you did.  Take this example from the situation mentioned above:

Why did this happen?  I’m going through a breakup.
What about going through a breakup made me do this?  I was feeling sad.
Why does feeling sad make me want to do this?  Because the wine made me care less and I find comfort in the delicious taste of pizza, plus that’s what you always see people doing in movies/tv so it must be normal and it’s okay.
Does eating a ton of pizza and drinking a ton of wine align with your goal of being healthy?  No.
What are the benefits of achieving your goal being healthy?  Getting sick less, being able to go up the stairs without running out of breath, looking better...
Do these benefits make you feel better or worse?  Better
Does breaking your goal make you feel better or worse?  Worse
So, the next time that you feel sad, are you going to do the same thing even if it makes you feel worse? Probably not.
Well, what will you do instead? Reach out the friend that supports my goal and see if she wants to talk or hang out.

 

Forgive yourself.  Forgiving yourself starts with accepting that yes, what you did doesn’t align with your goals. But, that doesn’t make you horrible, or make your goals any less important to you.  True forgiveness means that you aren’t going to hold this against yourself anymore.  I find it’s much easier to forgive other people when they accept that they did something wrong and talk about why they won’t let something happen again.  Well turns out, when you also come up with a plan of how to avoid a recurrence, then it also becomes easier to believe yourself and ultimately forgive yourself.

 

Love yourself anyways.  Let’s face it.  You can’t take what happened back, try as we might, the time machine doesn’t exist yet, so tough luck.  But, you have a choice.  You can hold this against yourself (aka not forgive yourself).  Or you can love yourself anyways.  A question I always try to ask is “what do I gain from holding on to this, and will it make my life better or worse?”  If the answer doesn’t align with what you want to feel about yourself or your life, then let it go so that you can let the love in. (Sorry that’s cheesy, but true.)

 

The Almighty “Off-Day”.  This is counterintuitive, so stay with me here.  You are human.  You can try and try and try to do every single thing perfectly day to day, but that’s not going to help you.  In fact, believing in perfect isn’t going to help you.  So what will help you?  Accepting that you can have an off day.  It can be as simple as “I use Sunday as a rest day, so will not work out on Sundays,”  or “I am allowed to order pizza, but only twice a month.”

Don’t use off-days as rewards. Use them as tools so that you can balance your goals, work, relationships, etc. better and live a more awesome, fulfilling life.

6. Go out there and kick some ass.

You got this, now all that’s left to do is to go out there and make it happen.

 How to loose weight, quit your job, make lots of money, or achieve any of your other goals and New Years resolutions this year

How to reach your goals and keep your New Year's Resolutions Ultimate Guide to HappinessHow to reach your goals and keep your New Year's Resolutions Ultimate Guide to Happiness


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