6 Tips to Create Resolutions That Stick Without Burnout

Updated on January 26, 2019

How to Make Achievable Resolutions

As a new year unfolds, many people are vying for brand new versions of themselves. You’ve probably heard this before, but at least half of all resolutions fail. This is the statistic that prevails within every single article on resolutions or just goals in general. While some say that resolutions are no good, I am one to believe in their effectiveness because of their role in making my life much easier.

An ambitious perfectionist, I have faced resolutions over many years and I have learned a few things on how to create more effective resolutions to prevent them from fizzling out.

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Tip 1: Pick Your Battles

As a notorious perfectionist with way too many goals, I speak from experience here. Narrow down your goals for the year. While it may be difficult, reducing the number of goals you have for the year enables you to focus. Goal-setting is less about the quantity and more about precision and follow-through.

Decide on the parameters of the goals you want to dedicate your time towards. For example, if you want to practice yoga, it helps to narrow down the goal. How often do you want to practice yoga? Are there specific programs you want to follow? Do you have any poses to commit time to?

Why a Little Work in Advance Helps Throughout the Journey

Planning ahead will save you time in the long run and it will reduce stress. Plus, it can help you see the bigger picture.

Tip 2: Prepare for the Unexpected

Another vital element of picking your focus revolves around creating an awareness of what this goal entails. I like to keep an eye out for what is happening within the communities centered on my goals. For example, the yoga community has been having some budding conversations rising around body-positivity and who gets to practice yoga without garnering criticism for their bodies.

As a plus-sized person, this topic hits close to my relationship with exercise. Listening to the community grapple with it keeps me aware of what I have internalized just by following a lot of people in that community.

In short: The first two steps are about choosing a specific goal and then researching what this goal necessitates. Keep your awareness of what other people face while trying to achieve this goal. It helps a lot to have a general idea of what could happen on this path.

Looking Ahead and Looking Around

By researching, you can have an idea of what may arise while you try to accomplish your plans. It also helps to have a community to support you should problems arise.

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Tip 3: Create a Plan With Bite-Sized Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Goals

One of the reasons why a lot of resolutions fail is that the goals are way too huge. When I decided to become vegan eleven years ago, I had made the goal with few expectations. Month after month, I expanded the way I lived this lifestyle. However, years later, I stumbled for a while because I didn’t research possible ways of dealing with cravings. Instead, I’d expected myself to change as quickly as possible.

If I were to achieve this goal again now, I would have slowly weened myself off of animal products one month at a time. In doing so, I would’ve avoided the stress caused by the enormity of such a drastic change. Furthermore, having broken down this lifestyle into smaller goals would have made it less overwhelming and isolating. The internet certainly facilitates the research and the discussions needed to decide on how far I would have wanted to live that lifestyle.

In addition, breaking down the goals into smaller chunks also keeps you engaged with the goals you set for yourself throughout the year. This is particularly effective when dealing with goals around weight-loss. Rather than having one daunting goal, such as losing 100 pounds, I am designing my approach to this mission with smaller benchmarks.

Besides, as someone who has been trying to lose weight for a couple of years now, I can tell you that getting my body to a certain weight can be frustrating. Rather than creating a goal that feels a bit out of my control, my attention is on what I can do: steps to take each day, exercises to try out each week, how many repetitions and sets of a given exercise move to do, and how many times a week I am able to get that exercise in my schedule.

Motivation Tip

Reflect on your reasons for choosing these objectives. Try to come up with personal connections to this plan you've created.

Tip 4: Purpose to the Process

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a motivation fueling the goals you set for yourself. While many of us fall into popular goals, I think it’s best to have a connection to why this goal is important for you personally. For example, there are many weight loss stories and motivators out there, but, for me, I am finding that internal connections to my life make me far more interested in carrying on with my fitness journey. I like to think of playing with my cats, or taking strolls with my mom, or even dancing to my favorite songs without getting breathless.

Having a journal or notebook can also serve as a way to remind yourself of these goals. I am quite fond of quotes, vision boards, pictures, songs, book characters as inspiration to fuel my process.

Curiosity-Led Conversation

Do you use any journaling system to keep track of goals?

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Tip 5: Reflect Often and Reflect With Honesty

Another aspect of goal-setting is having a continuous dialogue with yourself. Reflect on what works and what doesn’t. As much as research is helpful, success stems from having mindfulness of what works for your personality, your schedule, and the resources available to you.

I like to include space in my bullet journal where I get to examine my attempts at accomplishing a certain goal. Specifically, it is helpful to have data to quantify the success and the failures. In no way is the word “failure” here one with negative connotations. Some things just do not work for you and that is fine. You just have to go back to your goal and tweak the expectations a bit more.

Image courtesy of Pixabay. Edited by me
Image courtesy of Pixabay. Edited by me | Source

Record Data to Readjust Plans

Keep an on-going log of how you're doing and revisit the numbers often.

Tip 6: Say "No" to Perfectionism

It is key to approach your goals with realism and flexibility. No one ever accomplished anything by psyching themselves out. You have to start somewhere.

My most challenging yet most valuable trick to accomplish things is through the remembrance of my own humanity. Mistakes will happen and adjustments will have to be made because we are not puzzle-pieces that fit perfectly into a bigger jigsaw.

Keeping a sense of awareness regarding your own limiting beliefs is also important. As much as I love research and create images of what I think I should look like while doing my new habits, it also is essential that I realize it does not have to resemble these lofty images for it be effective.

In the end, what matters is the experience, the journey of self-discovery, the way you will prevail in the end. The goals you set for yourself could help propel you into a whole new chapter in your life. Taking the time to adapt to these new habits increases the possibility of them becoming permanent. What’s the use of a goal that leaves you emotionally and mentally depleted?

Did you make any resolutions this year?

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Celebrate Your Successes

Goal-setting in popular culture is frequently championing unhealthy attitudes. Not only is the collective mindset around goal-setting unrealistic, but it is also rigid and monolithic. In order to have long-lasting changes, there are processes to take and they will vary from one person to the next. As you create new goals, be it as a resolution or not, remember to check in and adjust your mission as things become clearer to you.

Finally, celebrate your successes. No matter how small they may seem, rejoice. Every victory is a step closer to a bigger goal.

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