It’s January — a great time to make New Year’s resolutions.
But if you’re like most of us, January is also a great time to break New Year’s resolutions.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you want to make resolutions that stick, the #1 rule to help you achieve your goals:
Leave the perfectionism at the door. I’m going to achieve my goals.
Perfectionism is that all or none thinking that only understands the letter of the law, not the spirit.
It’s the voice in our heads that says: “you missed a day at the gym, I knew you would, get real, give it up!”
But the fact is, what’s real when we set any goal is that:
- Habits take time to establish
- Progress is not linear and sometimes can be one step forward and two steps backward
- Getting positive support from other people really helps
So, set some goals, but to stay in the game and on your feet, don’t let perfectionism be your referee.
You call the shots!
Aim for sustainable change, not perfection. Lasting change takes time, and you are worth the investment. Your goals and aspirations are worth your persistence.
Perfectionism doesn’t understand this, but you can.
Fives Ideas to Give your Resolutions More Staying Power
1. Make achievable resolutions that stick
Many people set overly optimistic targets such as lose 100 pounds, stop eating out, exercise seven days a week.
If you stop going to social outings because you are on a diet you will be miserable. Think small – lose 10 pounds, exercise three times a week, eat something before the party.
Always thinking you have to hit the bulls-eye creates more anxiety.
2. Make resolutions you can control
Whether you fall in love or find a job is out of your control. Some of life is luck and chance.
However, you can make actionable steps that you can accomplish towards these goals.
Say, “I am going to join Match.com or eHarmony” or “I am going to volunteer to make connections.”
3. Be specific
One of the top resolutions from last year was spend more time with family.
What does that mean for you?
Perhaps it’s spending “x” number of hours a week with your spouse or children. This could also take the form of eating a family dinner once a week.
You decide the criteria for the goal but be specific and measurable so that you know when you have accomplished your goal.
4. Allow for slip ups
Just because you had dessert doesn’t mean you are a diet failure.
It’s just what happened at that one meal. Don’t over-interpret the slips.
It’s an isolated event not a trend. You can get back on track.
This goes back to the perfectionism – you don’t have to be perfect.
5. Enlist a friend as a resolution buddy
Ask a friend, relative or co-worker to hold you accountable.
It’s a supportive way of keeping tabs on yourself.
Dr. Chansky is the founder and director of the Children’s and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety in suburban Philadelphia and author of four books including “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want.”
Photo by lululemon athletica