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… on the 17th of January!

It’s almost that time of the year again, chances are that you bought yourself a new planner or a new notebook with a matching pen and are setting yourself up for the New Year. Maybe you are going to focus on your health, you would like to read more, to be more active, grow your business, you want to spend more time with your family, or want to become a master organizer!

Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, you are going to make it happen! More than ever you are motivated to make achieve that ultimate goal, nobody or nothing is going to be in your way from you achieving that. You are finally going to master that new habit once and for all! I hear you and I’m on your TEAM!

But, yes, there is a big BUT. More than 80% of those who make resolutions will have forgotten all about them by the beginning of February! To make matters worse, most people don’t even make it to the middle of January. The second Friday of the year is known as Quitters Day, the day that most people give up their new year resolution! Google it, I’m not kidding you.

Does this sound terribly familiar to you? Then keep reading because this is what you’ve been doing wrong every single year…

1. Your goal is too vague!

Let’s say you’ve decided to read more. That’s awesome, but what does “reading more” actually mean? Nothing really, right!

What would be a better description? How about “one book per month” that is very specific and measurable. 

Or what about “I want to create a healthier lifestyle”?

Does that mean that you want to increase the amount of veggies you put on your plate? You want to at least have a home cooked meal three times a week? You want to eat healthy snacks?

Try to describe your goal as specific as possible. That way it is also easier to create a plan on how to achieve your goal.

2. You want too much too quick.

You want to learn to meditate. You are all set up, invested in a meditation app, and bought a really cool wireless, noise-canceling headset so that you can meditate undisturbed. In other words, nothing can go wrong. Until those first 15 minutes of meditation. Why has nobody told you that 15 minutes can feel like an eternity?! Did you ever bother to ask?

But you know what, you could have started with just 3 minutes, 3 times a week and then slowly build up to those 15 minutes every day. It took me about three years to get there, so give yourself some slack!

If the couch was your best friend for the past year, then don’t expect that you are going to run a marathon by the end of February. Just thinking about the fact that you are going to actually run 42 km’s could trigger you to stop even before you started. Set smaller more realistic and achievable goals! Run your first km – 5km – 10 km – half a marathon – YOUR MARATHON. In that order! There is a reason why children learn to crawl before they walk.

Weight loss is another good example of too much too quick. Maybe your ultimate goal is to lose 20kg. But do you know how long that will take? Even if you are off to a good start and lose 1kg per week it will take you 20 weeks, that is 5 months! Still feel like starting? How about starting with the first 2kg? Or 10% of your body weight? Sounds more achievable, right? Chances are that you are actually going to achieve that ultimate weight loss of 20kg with a lot more motivation and determination!

What I’m trying to say, avoid seeing it too big and start with micro-goals! Goals that you can actually achieve and will propel you forward to take the next step.

Take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey!

3. You are NOT doing it for the right reasons

Why have you set those New Year’s resolutions in the first place? To please yourself or someone else? Give it a thought when you make your plan for the next year.

You are more likely to stick to your resolutions if they really matter to you.

4. You are not keeping track

If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it! It’s as simple as that.

Look, stop kidding yourself, if you don’t see the progress you are making, it’s going to be hard to stay focused and keep going.

Documenting your progress will help you stay on track and committed. Just don’t overcomplicate yourself. You don’t need a fancy app, you just jot in down in that beautiful new planner or notebook.

To make your life easier, you can even download my monthly habit tracker right here. Print one for the month, write down the habit you would like to create, your reward for doing so, and keep track by simply ticking off boxes. Trust me on this one, it really works!

Habit Tracker A Backyard Hiker

5. You are too hard on yourself when you skip a day

Just imagine how you react when a friend confides in you that they “skipped a day”? You are probably hearing yourself say “It’s not a big drama, just pick up where you left off!”

So, when life happens and you lose sight of your intentions, forgive yourself, acknowledge that creating a new habit takes time, look at your tracker to see how far you have come, and start again ASAP! The danger lies in giving yourself too much slack. No one is perfect but at least you can try to get as close as possible.

6. You are not thinking about the finances

You have this great idea of starting a new hobby. Learning to fly sounds like a really cool idea! But then you realize that it is actually a really expensive new hobby. Before you get disappointed, you might want to check if your New Year’s resolution will actually fit into your budget.

7. You don’t have a real step-by-step plan

In case you didn’t know yet, I just LOVE to plan, you can read all about it here! Just one of the reasons why I love to plan and make plans is because they help me to actually achieve goals. Remember those micro steps I talked about it earlier? They all form part of your step-by-step plan. Your goal that seemed so far away and unbelievable to achieve, all of a sudden becomes more realistic. What are you waiting for? Start making that plan!

© Unsplash

8. You want to “squeeze” it in

You don’t actually have an idea when you are going to implement that new hobby or habit. You will just – wing it!

Seriously… You made it to point nr 8 on my list, which means that you are really thinking about tackling that resolution this year. Then you are not just going to wing it this time around. No, you are going to take that fancy planner out and note down WHEN you are actually going to incorporate that new habit. 

5 min of meditation three times a week? Cool, when? Does Monday, Wednesday, Friday right after you wake up sound like a plan? Then you write that down and commit to it. YES, commit to these times even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll thank yourself and me afterward.

9. You start on the 1st of January

I still don’t understand why people want to start with their New Year’s resolution on the 1st of January. Honestly, couldn’t you have picked a worse day? Yes, I understand, it’s the first day of the year, a new beginning, a fresh start, a new page in that book… but every day can be the first day! Just think about it for a second. It is YOU that decides when the first day of that new improved life is going to be!

More importantly, when is a good time for YOU to get started? If you want to lose that 20kg then it’s probably a good thing to start when all the New Year’s receptions are finished. Commit to a starting date, plan it in, and get yourself ready.

© Unsplash

10. You don’t reward yourself for achieving every single step

– All work and no play is not good for the soul –

Resolutions should be more than only hard work, it should be FUN as well! Ideally, they should only be about FUN in the end.

A good first step into that direction, is to reward yourself. As soon as you hit that first milestone, you have set yourself in your step-by-step goal you treat yourself. It could be by buying yourself something small or something you would like to do. It even could be a small reward every time you accomplish your habit.

Let’s say you meditated first thing in the morning. As a reward, you can have your favorite coffee and spend 10 min on scrolling mindlessly on social media. A reward doesn’t always have to cost money. We need to think about your budget as well!

11. You are not signed up for the FREE 21-day #findyourcalm challenge!

The what? A 21-days challenge I organize to find calmness in your day by going for a walk! All those most popular resolutions in one challenge and you can start whenever you want to. Getting curious? You can read all about it here.

Put on your walking shoes

Now that we got all the pitfalls out of the way, there is nothing anymore that’s going to keep you from achieving those New Year’s resolutions! Nobody you can blame, besides yourself, if you are going to be part of the statistics. Oh, and if you still want to celebrate “Ditch New Year’s resolution day” all you have to do is to ditch those resolutions by the 17th of January.

Good luck!

Peggy

Peggy

Hi, I'm Peggy, A Backyard Hiker. I like to inspire you to go outside, to explore your Backyard. All our backyards look different but we can all hike!