Positive reinforcement goes a long way in maintaining your stamina, explains psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. “After each step, you have achieved on the path to reach your resolution, it is very uplifting to recognize your efforts by rewarding yourself in a healthy way,” she explains. “It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive, but something that makes you feel good and proud of your progress."
In addition to paying tributes to milestones, it’s also essential to try and enjoy yourself along the way. As career expert Olga Etkina says, while being goal-oriented is great, often, we forget that to get from point A to Z, you have to go through B, C, D, E, and so on. “When you only focus on Z, you conveniently forget all the hard work to get there, and subsequently, you risk getting overwhelmed when you realize the true journey to change,” she says. “Make sure that you don’t glamorize the process of growth, truly outline and understand the change you need to make to achieve your goals.”
Some say hope is not a strategy, but it is an essential part of the strategy if you ask life coach Kimberly DuBrul. What does she mean? To make a resolution in the first place, you need a driving desire or belief within you that pushes you to change. That flicker of hope will keep you going, but you have to recognize it’s within you. “There may be little proof or no clear road map (very normal!), yet they can operate on blind faith. If you know of anyone who has achieved what you want to achieve, it is no longer blind faith; it’s just faith in yourself and the possibility,” she says. “Creating a mental picture of the end result stokes hope.”
When you are brainstorming your resolutions, shy away from short-term aspirations. As an example, many people will say, ‘I want to lose 30 pounds by March’, and then they get discouraged when they don’t meet that timeframe. This is because you’re setting yourself up for failure, says Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley. “Think of your resolutions as longer-term life goals. Set a goal that is so big that it almost sounds unattainable, but it’s a lifestyle,” he continues. “If you’ve always struggled with your weight, and you want to become a bodybuilder, there is a good chance you will achieve that goal by setting deliberate intent to move in that direction.” So, instead of saying ‘lose 30 pounds or have a six-pack by this date’, use creative visualization on what an avid reader or a bodybuilder would do daily, and allow yourself to move towards that goal each day at your own speed, inhabiting that lifestyle.
It’s essential to acknowledge that we’re always inherently ambivalent about any significant health or behavior change, says Jennifer Hettema, Ph.D., the senior clinical director at LifeStance Health. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a feeling we should ignore. “Spending time deliberately thinking or talking about these things can boost motivation and help us to sustain change, even when we encounter challenges,” she adds.
When setting a resolution feels overwhelming or unattainable, break it down as small as you can into one word. Yep: one single word. Then with every choice, situation, struggle or experience you go through, you can turn to your word to guide you, says Jacqueline E. Oselen, a holistic life coach. “Use the word as your compass for setting priorities, making choices, and attracting opportunities that bolster your intention,” she says. Words can be anything like grace, hope, expansion, growth, happiness, yes, and so on.