Ditch the resolutions and go for goals to set yourself up for success!
Did you set New Year’s resolutions for 2022? How’s it going so far? If you answered not great, join the club. For most of us, the resolutions we set on January 1st – while made with the best of intentions –seem to lose steam before they make it out of the gate. The result? We’re left feeling down on ourselves, frustrated or even 10 steps further back than we started.
So Why do we keep making resolutions year after year when we often fail at keeping them? And what can we do differently to set us up for a successful change?
Let’s look at why we make resolutions in the first place
The drive to set resolutions is more often external peer or social pressure rather than intrinsic desire or self-awareness. Talk about setting resolutions overtakes news clips, magazine covers, casual conversation and social media. And so, we make them because we think we’re supposed to, because it’s that time of year.
Maybe we want to lose weight to fit into how we think we should look. Or take up spinning because our friends are doing it. Or resolve to _________ (fill in the blanks) because everyone else is making a resolution and we need one too. Remember what Grandma used to say…if everyone was jumping off a tall bridge…
For many of us, making resolutions exhibits a genuine intention to make positive changes in our lives. We feel like we want to, we just don’t know where to start. A new year seems like a solid jumping off point. The problem is, putting off those changes to a specific start date is just one more way to procrastinate a difficult, intimidating or less-than-savory task (think: starting a fitness regime, getting more sleep, going on a diet, or creating – and sticking to – a financial plan.) Add in the somewhat vague and grandiose nature of most resolutions – for example: I’m going to go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 5 am EVERY SINGLE DAY – and we’re not looking at a recipe for success.
But what can we do?
Resolutions vs Goals: What’s the difference?
First, it’s helpful to understand the difference between goals and resolutions.
- Resolution. Vague and impulsive pronouncement to make a change, not usually accompanied by a clear plan. May be a genuine desire or based on societal or external factors such as what we think we should do or what people will think of us.
- Goal. A clear and specific desired outcome, measurable, achievable and, most importantly, reasonable. Well thought out, detailed, with regular check ins to improve the chances of success.
Know your “why” vs “fine I’ll try”
Now that we understand that what we really want to do is set goals, not resolutions for ourselves – and not just when the calendar turns, but anytime we want – we can benefit from setting the scene up for the best outcome. And that means thinking it all through, using the right language and asking ourselves some good questions.
What is my Why? Why do I want to do this? What is motivating me? Why am I working towards this goal? Is the want coming from inside of me or from outside factors?
What is my What? It’s all in the details. What exactly do I want to achieve? What is my endgame? When is my deadline and is it flexible? Are there milestones I can establish to make the process less daunting, such as monthly smaller goals that build throughout the year? Is my goal S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, in a reasonable time frame)?
Do I know Myself? How will I feel when I achieve my goal? Can I visualize myself doing it? Do I have the capacity for potential failure or a need for a reset partway through? Do I believe in myself and my ability to make this change? Do I genuinely want it or do I think I’m supposed to want it?
How do I Self-Talk? Do I say ‘I will’ and not ‘I’ll try’. Am I giving myself any outs or excuses or asking for forgiveness in advance? Am I being reasonable and kind to myself during this time of growth?
Let’s see goal setting in action
Let’s begin the goal-setting process to see how the steps work. Since we’re all about getting your best night’s sleep, we’ve got the perfect goal for you!
Goal: Over the next 6 months I will work towards getting 7-8 hours sleep each night. I will accomplish this with 6 individual goals – one each month – that will bring me to this point. I will outline those goals in my sleep journal.
- What is my Why? I want to feel more rested and more able to tackle my workday and enjoy my family. I feel tired much of the time and I know it’s because I’m not getting enough sleep.
- What is my What? I will chunk this goal into small steps each month to improve my sleep hygiene and move me towards 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I will keep a sleep journal to outline my monthly plan and chronicle my successes and challenges.
- Do I know Myself? I want to sleep more because I know I don’t feel my best without enough sleep. I will feel more rested when I achieve my goal. I will feel proud and satisfied that I did something so important for myself and that I prioritize self-care.
- How do I Self-talk? I understand that I may encounter roadblocks along the way to change and I will be patient and flexible during this process. I will feel accomplished that I set out to do something that will help me live a healthier, happy life.
Now that you’ve got a roadmap, are you ready to set some goals and make 2022 your year? There’s no time like the present to get started.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- The high cost of sleep deprivation
- Are your social media habits preventing you from sleeping?
- 5 plants to help you sleep better – and 2 to leave at the store