By Mia Casey
So if you’re anything like 92% of the population, chances are you’ve already failed at your New Year’s resolutions. Which is a pretty depressing thought – just over 2 weeks in, and things have already gone downhill. So what made you give up, and how do you get back on track? Here are a few quick tips to help get you reinspired for 2017, and ready to retake your New Year’s resolutions by storm.
You bite off more than you can chew
As the end of another year approaches, it can be easy to accumulate a huge list of things you want to do the following year. Anything from losing weight to quit smoking, drink more water, cook more, sleep more – there always seems a veritably endless list of personal changes we all want to make at one point or another, and the New Year is the time they all come to a head (the hashtag #newyearnewme is popular for a reason). But when, in our enthusiasm, we decide to make all these changes in the New Year, by the time mid-January rolls around many of us have slumped under the weight of our own expectations, and often just flat-out give up.
So how do you come back from this? Well, first you need to take stock of what changes you want to make, and why you’ve struggled maintaining these goals. Then list them in order of priority. Are there some changes you wanted to make because of your health? Some skills you wanted to develop for your career? Or plans you wanted to implement to help with your work/study/life balance?
Figure out which goals would make the most difference to your life, and which ones are easiest to achieve. It’s good to have a combination of the two, as it can help you feel accomplished as you complete the smaller goals, giving you the motivation you need to tackle the bigger ones as the year progresses.
You also want to make sure you’re breaking the bigger goals down into achievable steps. If you want to tackle the work/study/life balance, start making small changes and see how you cope with the change in schedule, before moving on to bigger ones. This way the tasks don’t seem so insurmountable, and each step you take in working towards your goal is something you can celebrate!
You focus your goals on one area of your life
If you’re really passionate about changing one area of your life in the New Year, it can be easy to become distracted when other areas need attention. For example, you want to eat healthier and go to the gym – the first week goes great, your fridge is stocked, and you’ve got some awesome new sneakers ready to go. Then you have a tonne of readings you need to do, work you need to stay back to complete, and your best friend is having a crisis. Before you know it the fresh food in your fridge has gone off, you’ve got no time to prepare meals so you’re buying takeout again, and you haven’t seen a treadmill in weeks.
We’ve all been there, and it’s so easy to feel down on yourself for letting other things distract you from this one goal. Making one big goal isn’t bad in itself, but you need to think of what other areas of your life may need improving to accommodate this goal. Do you need to get more organised this year, and stick to a clear timetable to make sure you have more time to go to the gym? Do you need to fix your sleep schedule so you have enough energy to do some meal prep for the week? The trick is to make smaller goals for other areas of your life that compliment your main goal of the year. That way, if you do find yourself lacking motivation again, you can restart your New Year’s resolution again by tackling these smaller goals first!
You make resolutions that ignore your network
No man (or woman) is an island. When you make goals to improve yourself, that’s great! But if you start working towards these goals and cancelling plans, refusing help, or believing you have to make these changes on your own, you can start to feel a bit isolated.
So rather than thinking you have to power through alone and feeling disheartened – try to make resolutions that involve your friends or family. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but having someone else working alongside you towards the same goal can help increase your motivation, strengthen your relationships, and help make your goals seem that much more achievable!
Read more: Some 2017 Career-Inspo
You see a singular failure as an inability to fulfil the goal
Cheat days can exist for any goal you put your mind too. If you’re trying to gain a new skill for work and have put aside time each week to work on it, it’s easy to think ‘Oh, I can’t study this week, I’ll just do twice as much next week instead’. Then the next week rolls around and suddenly you’ve got double the work, just as little time, and what started as something you were really excited about turns into too much hard work and you give up.
You’ve given yourself too much work, and made what was once an exciting opportunity for growth into a chore – it’s no wonder you’ve lost motivation! It’s time to get back into that ‘I can do it!’ mindset and start again. Break what you want to learn down into easily achievable segments. Maybe you want to learn a language so you can work abroad? Do some research into language apps, highly rated textbooks, simple to understand movies or tv shows, and casual weekly classes in your area.
Look out for what resources are available to you and think about what motivates you. Did you quit before because the pressure got too much? Download a language app to play around with on your way in to work each morning. Found textbooks boring? Check out other media in that language, or interactive websites to help you learn. Regardless of your goal, it’s amazing how many resources are freely available online or in your area. (If you’re a UTS student, you can check out Lynda.com, and up your skills that way for free!).
So if you’re lacking some motivation this New Year, don’t beat yourself up about it! It’s simply time to reassess your original enthusiasm in light of your recent struggles, and try again.
If one of your goals this year is increasing your employability and landing a job, then apply for the Accomplish Intensive program! Open to students at the end of their studies, this 3-day program can help you refine your skills, improve your job applications, and boost your career confidence. Registrations are now open, so apply today to secure your spot!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.