5 tips to help achieve your New Year’s resolutions

It’s been over a week now. Maybe you resolved to lose weight this year, or stop smoking, or learn a new style of fighting, or conquer your pessimism. And it was going great at first, but already just almost halfway through the first month you’re starting to make excuses. Maybe you’re still on track, but you can hear the voices in your head. If I skip the gym today, I’ll go an extra day next week. Or, You know what, I can have a couple of cigarettes this week, because it’ll even out.

I used to think New Year’s resolutions were lame. And they are, in a way — change happens over long stretches of time, or sometimes quickly in flash moments of clarity or self-loathing — everybody on earth ascribing change to a particular random calendar date is insanely arbitrary.

But you know what? Who cares. If you’re serious about your goals you know that this isn’t about what’s cool or what’s logical or what everyone else is doing. You just know you want and deserve something different for yourself. And if you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you are serious about it. So what can you do to make sure this is the year you realize your goals? Continue reading below.

1) Don’t talk about it — write it down

Talking about your goals tends to be vague. Instead, put your intents for the year down on paper so you can edit, expand and clarify. That way, “I want to get into the best shape of my life” becomes “I want to take at least two Kombat classes a week and be able to do a CN Tower climb by the fall.” Much clearer and more doable.

From there, don’t just file your goals away into the sock drawer. Keep a daily log. This allows you to see progression and notice weaknesses.

For example, when Kru Joey wanted to gain eight pounds last year he started a personal blog. He logged his workouts, celebrated his successes but also chided himself when he noticed he was falling behind. He kept himself motivated by posting inspirational videos and recording his thoughts, and in the end he was successful.

By turning your goals into a story that unfolds over the year you’re more likely to find yourself with a happy ending.

2) No seriously, stop talking about it

Research has shown that people who talk about their goals are less likely to meet them than people who keep to themselves. Why? Talking about your goals gives you a false sense of accomplishment, making it less likely that you’ll follow up with the work required.

Watch this great TED talk from Derek Sivers for more info:

[ted id=947]

3) Split the year into quarters

It’s almost unfair that we make New Year’s resolutions in January. The cold winter months means we have lowered energy levels and personal drive; it’s no wonder gym attendances typically balloon in January but are back to normal by March.

Don’t let slumps like this erase your resolutions. Revisit and re-commit to your goals at the start of each season. Read over your log, or, if you find you haven’t moved an inch at all, throw it out and start fresh. The point of a New Year’s resolution is to teach us that there’s no better time to start something than the present. Keep that lesson in mind throughout the year and correct your course if you’ve fallen to the wayside — there’s no reason to wait until next year to try again.

4) Don’t beat yourself up

Remember to have fun with this. You’re going to slip up and fail once in a while — just laugh it off and get back to work. If you’re trying to lose weight, stop looking at the scale so much; the fluctuating numbers will drive you crazy. Likewise, if you’re trying to quit smoking but you slip up and bum a cig on the weekend, make a note of it and carry on. Just because you had a moment of weakness doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a new pack all for yourself.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their New Year’s resolutions is having an all-or-nothing mentality. They want to completely change their lives in January and if it isn’t sticking by February, they give up and retreat to the comfort of their old habits. You have the entire year to be somebody different by next January. Have fun with the process instead of obsessing about the goal, and by next year you’ll be surprised by the progress you’ve made.

5) Surround yourself with the right team

Although I don’t advocate talking about your goals (at least not with anyone who can’t help you achieve them), it’s nonetheless important to surround yourself with the right kind of people. It’s amazing how quickly negative people can suck the energy out of you. These are the people who react to your goals by telling you that resolutions are dumb, or that you’re setting yourself up for failure. (All the more reason to keep your goals to yourself!) They’re the people who constantly complain but never do anything to better a situation. It’s possible you were one of these people — the point is, not anymore, not this year. Don’t let this attitude or these people become a part of your identity.

Thankfully, positive people can rub off on you as well, so seek them out. That doesn’t mean people with phony smiles and manic levels of energy who always speak in quotes and platitudes. It just means people who believe that individuals can change for the better and strive to achieve that change for themselves; people who can laugh at problems while also solving them, instead of always griping but never doing anything to better a situation. The good news is, if you’ve signed up to Kombat Arts as part of your New Year’s resolution, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction. Welcome to the team.

(photo via Flickr)