5 Tips to Bring Your New Year’s Resolutions to Life
Put your hand up if you have made a New Year’s resolution that you just didn’t keep or even start. Our hands – here at Bromwich+Smith -are way up and most people would likely raise their hands too if they are being honest. Why does it seem nearly impossible to keep your New Year’s resolutions? There are several factors that detract us from keeping our resolutions and some great tips to help you check off your resolutions this year.
1.Put Pen to Paper. “A goal without a dream is a wish. A goal without a plan is just a dream” this unknown author’s quote is quite fitting. One of the best tips to help you stay on track and actually keep your resolutions this year is to write them down. You are ten times more likely to achieve a goal if it is written down.
A resolution is really a goal and goals, when written down with measurable outcomes are more likely to be achieved than those just in our heads. Make time in your calendar to sit and really think about what you can realistically attain in 12 months. Break these down into physical goals, mental health goals, emotional goals, spiritual goals or goals for every role you play, as an employee or business owner, as a spouse, parent etc. You decide which areas you want to set goals in but just make that time to think about those goals and get pen to paper.
When you write out your goals, you can use the SMART goals acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time oriented goal setting or you could think about how you want to feel, look and be in December next year and write out goals that will help you achieve that. Whichever method you use for setting goals, the key is to write them out and set ways to measure your outcome.
2.Visualize it. We think and process in images – we are visual creatures. A picture is worth a thousand words – this may sound like a cliché quote but let us see the science behind it. Research has shown that imagination, visualization, deep thought and reflection produces the same physical changes in the brain as would physically carrying out the same imagined process!
Our brain is neuroplastic - can change and regrow. New nerve cells are birth daily for our mental benefit. Neuroplasticity means that, whatever we think about most will grow – Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting.
World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.
All this to serve as the proof and the science behind the value of creating a vision board. A vision board is as unique as the person making it. The key is taking our goals, finding images to represent those goals and get them on a board so we can visually see these goals daily. Seeing our goals in pictures means our brain is focusing on and working towards our goals all the time. The visual cues reprogram our brain and keep us motivated and help us move towards those goals. For tips on how to make your own vision board click here
3.It takes a village. Setting and achieving goals is a group project. It is important to involve your spouse if you have one, children and a few other key relationships as well. Not to say you all need to have the same goals, but as a family, you want to discuss your individual and family goals. If one family member is working on healthier eating habits, the family can either help or hinder them. Having a conversation and working on the game plan together will increase the chances that they will help. You can make it fun too! You could put up a calendar and get some stickers. Each day that you hit your goal, you get to put a sticker up or if you have children, let them put the sticker up for you. If, at the end of 30 days, you achieve your healthy eating habits the family gets to go see a movie together that the kids get to choose. This way, everyone in the family is involved and committed to the goal.
Others you may want to involve in your goal setting may be an independent financial planner to help with your financial goals and plans. You may want to consult a personal trainer or nutritionist for physical fitness goals. If paying off debt is a goal this year, be sure to consult a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm like Bromwich+Smith. One of the bravest things we can do is to ask for help and getting the right help and the right team of professionals on your side will definitely help you keep those New Year’s resolutions.
4.Automate. A really great tip to help you keep your financial goals is to set up some auto payments. You could have a travel fund account, an RRSP account a fun money account or any account for any goal you have set financially. Then, simply set up an automatic debit from your checking account to your goals accounts each pay day or each month. You will be telling your money where to go, rather than wondering where it went and at the end of the year, when you cash in for that treat, you will celebrate.
To really excel with your financial goals, you will want to do up a budget (link to joy in budgeting blog) and it does not need to be fancy or complicated. This way you know how much money is coming in, what your fixed and variable expenses are and what your goals are. You set up your automated transfers to meet your obligations as well as your savings goals. This may be a new habit so have some grace with yourself.
Eventually, it will become part of your life
5.Accountability partner. Have you ever planned to go for a walk or to the gym and then just decided not to? Have you ever made plans for a walk with a friend and cancelled? We tend to be more committed to others and less likely to cancel plans we make with others than those we make to ourselves and therefore an accountability partner is such a powerful tool. In very basic terms, an accountability partner is someone we share our goals and strategies for achieving them with and they hold us accountable. They check in to see if we took action, they are there to encourage us when we just do not feel like doing something. You can have an individual accountability partner or be part of a group. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, you could tell your neighbour you plan to jog every morning for 30 minutes and that if they don’t see you out by 8am to call or knock on your door. You could have a chat group where you share your successes daily or weekly. It really depends on you, your goals and your accountability partner. Here are 3 tips for choosing an accountability partner.
- They are extremely disciplined and committed
- They are trustworthy and share your values
- They are willing to call you on your inconsistency and work with you to reset
New Year’s Resolutions are goals and goals are totally attainable. It takes a little pen to paper, some visualization and a little support. Especially during the COVID Pandemic, it is so critical not to feel like an island. Although we may not be able to run with a friend or make vision boards in large groups, we can stay connected and supported and this will make us more likely to bring our resolutions to life.