How To Make A Mid-Year Resolution You’ll Keep
With July just around the corner the New Year’s resolution you made on January 1st may long be forgotten. Oops.
But don’t stress, this is the perfect opportunity to revise your goal, assess where you went off-track and venture bravely into the next six months with a positive mindset and clean slate.
Choose one goal
You want to run a marathon, get a new job, learn Spanish, quit smoking, be spiffier at budgeting, sleep more, eat less, learn how to make green tea ice cream from scratch, write a novel, start a small business, join a yoga class, be more organised, take up a new hobby…
Wow, take a breather! Before you get swept up in a whirlwind of wants, now is the time to prioritise a single, specific goal. Spread your focus too thinly and you’ll feel the responsibility weighing on you like a hippo on your roof.
What do you really want? Think on this and you may learn more about yourself in the process. Stick to a doable, realistic goal and once you’ve ticked that off, move onto the next in your list.
Break it down
Take baby steps to prevent getting overwhelmed, try to be specific in your goal and make sure it’s measurable in some way, whether that’s in the form an experience, event, completed creative project or numerical target.
For example if your goal is to run a marathon, break it down into running 5km, 10km, 15km and so on until you build up your strength and endurance to reach your 42km target.
Write it down
Physically writing it down makes your goal ‘real’ and not just a fantasy like unicorns and narwhals (wait on…) and ticking off the milestones as you go sets the positive vibes as you put changes into action.
Jotting down a plan can guide you, keep you on track of your resolution and prevent distractions from leading you astray – like a health-conscious shopping list reining in your temptation to buy cookies.
Create a deadline
Even something as simple as a coffee catch-up with your bestie probably won’t happen if you don’t set a date. Create a deadline for each milestone to give you a kick up the you-know-where to get your momentum rolling.
Celebrate your milestones
Reaching a milestone can add momentum to the bigger picture of your goal and is proof that if you keep at it, you can do this.
Positive reinforcement with a reward can reaffirm your new behaviours and pave the way for future changes with an optimistic outlook.
Your reward itself can even act as a further motivator, like investing in a new pair of running shoes to achieve a personal best or new paint brushes to inspire the artist in you.
Make it personal
Don’t just think about what you need to do but why. Rather than focus on losing weight, think about how being fitter will help you travel abroad, keep up with the kids and give you confidence as you look in the mirror.
Superficial goals won’t get you anywhere - you need to focus on what matters, and it’s not enough to do it just because someone thinks you should. First and foremost, you need to be your own motivator.
Hit a wall?
Time to rewind your memory and clearly identify why you diverged off-track. With information comes power (to sound like a superhero movie) and if you know what the obstacle is, you can take realistic steps to overcome it.
Your barrier to success may seemingly be exterior influences that are outside your control, but often it is the restrictions we place on ourselves that are the most limiting.
Overcome negative thinking
Dark and twisty thoughts can pop into your head and stick to you like gelato, telling you you’re not good enough. They may let you off the hook of actively making progress, but leave you lost in a feeling of dissatisfaction, lack of self-worth and isolation.
There’s no fast fix to overcoming negative thinking. However, identifying unproductive thoughts before they can take the reins of your emotions and disassociating yourself from them as a mindful observer can give you a clearer, constructive perspective and better self-awareness.
Externalising negative thinking (knowing it’s not you) and replacing your inner critic with an “I can do it” mantra takes time and persistence, but it’s well worth the effort. Seeking the aid of a mental health profession can help you along your journey.
Don’t get hung up on perfection
Yes, there will be bumps in the road, but you must let go of unrealistic expectations and be OK with making a mistake – it’s all a part of the learning process and overthinking with harsh criticisms of your efforts is detrimental to that.
Mistakes simply give you the means to revise and refine your efforts for an improved result – letting your fear of failure control your actions (or lack of) is an inhibitor to your success.
Let go of perfect. Once you do, you’ll find you’re better able to unleash your creativity and discover that finding motivation in the moment comes easier.
Put a leash on your procrastination mammoth
Don’t let phrases like “It’s not the right time”, “That’s not good enough” and “Why bother?” let procrastination stomp on you like a tiny mammoth unleashing mayhem and self-doubt inside your mind.
Everyday distractions like googling 'cute tortoises in cosies' and rearching excessively instead of doing can be procrastination in disguise. In truth, work pressures, family and social life, and your own ‘me’ time is a constant juggling act– chances are if you’re waiting for the perfect moment to begin, you’ll never get started.
The hardest part is starting. A blank page is daunting but full of potential. Once you get past that initial bump and find momentum, you’ll realise you had the power for change all along.
Your goal may even act as a driving force in your life, with each step of progress giving you a sense of fulfillment.
A supportive buddy (friend, mum, dad, hubbie, wife etc.) will understand, be your personal cheer squad, hold you accountable and even go out of their way to help you out on your journey.
They can be a motivator in the form of a running buddy, hider of cookie jars for weight loss or kid-minder to free up ‘me’ time that you can use wisely, and alongside your own personal strength, empower you to chisel away at your goal.