Now that you’ve had the chance to give them a go and get a feel for them, maybe you’re realising that they’re not for you. They were too ambitious or too vague or not interesting enough to hold your attention. Maybe you’re considering giving up on them—or maybe you already have.
Hold on a moment.
Remember why you want to change.
When you made those resolutions, what was the driving motivation behind them? Why did you want to change? To replace a bad habit or build a good one? To better yourself in some way? To make life more fulfilling? Reconnecting with the original incentive to change can instil new life and motivation in you.
ACTION POINT: Take 5 minutes to identify the core reason you want to change and write about it. What are the benefits? How will it make you feel to achieve your goal? How will it help you and others?
Identify what’s causing you problems.
Maybe your motivation to stick to your resolution is waning because you set the bar too high or didn’t make it challenging enough. Maybe it’s just inconvenient for you to do at this point in time. Whatever the obstacle to achieving your goal is, you can’t overcome it if you don’t know what it is.
ACTION POINT: Take another 5 minutes to write about why you’re having problems sticking with your resolution. Is it too much? Too little? Unmemorable? Or maybe you’re lacking the drive to do it? Identify the problem at its root and it becomes much easier to deal with.
Reassess your goals.
Now that you know what it is about your resolutions that’s causing you trouble, you can start to address it. Resolutions aren’t set in stone. They’re adaptable. If you know you can’t keep up your current resolution, change it to make it more manageable. It’s better to admit you couldn’t maintain your original goal and adjust it than give up on it entirely.
ACTION POINT: Keeping the problems you’ve had so far in mind, think of what parts of your original resolution need to change. It may be just one facet of it (e.g. altering a word count target), or the entire resolution may need to be revised (e.g. setting yourself a weekly goal instead of writing every day). Life is unpredictable and altering your goals to reflect that isn’t quitting or cheating—it’s being adaptive and efficient.
Set new, improved goals.
You have the benefit of practice. You know now what you can do and what you can’t, so reset your goals to reflect this.
ACTION POINT: Adjust your resolutions, keeping this checklist in mind. Make sure your new goals are:
- Concrete and specific. Don’t be vague in your wording. Instead of ‘I want to write a novel,’ try ‘I want to write a chapter a week’ or ‘I want to write 500 words a day.’
- Short-term as well as long-term. Having an end-of-year goal gives you something to aim for, but having short-term goals keep you on track. Break your long-term target down into smaller steps and cement your goals in time so that you work towards them gradually and don’t put them off for weeks or months at a time.
- Phrased positively. Remember, your goals will help you to make positive changes in your life, so why phrase them negatively? For example, instead of ‘I want to stop procrastinating,’ try ‘I will do something writing-related for at least 15 minutes a day.’
Now that you have your new, improved resolutions for the year, you can start implementing the changes that you long to see. When you feel your resolve wavering, remember why you want to change and, if you stumble in your goals, don’t give up. Learn from it. Revisit this checklist. And come back fighting.
What were your New Year’s resolutions and how are you progressing with them so far? Have you had to make any adjustments to your goals?