When the bustle of the holidays is over and the dust settles, will you sit back, relax and reflect? Or will you jump right into January with New Year’s resolutions, determined to accomplish your goals no matter what? From my personal experience as a military spouse, it’s easy to be hard on myself when it comes to setting goals. I think it comes from the military mindset – we get things done! Setting resolutions and accomplishing goals can be empowering; the key is to set yourself up for success by making your resolutions this year R.E.A.L.
- R – Reasons! What are the reasons behind your resolutions? To be successful, you need to know your “why.” Why do you want to go down a size or two? Why do you want to make your bed every morning? Exploring your “why” will bring deeper meaning to your goals. For example, if your goal is volunteering, is it simply because you have time or is it because you want to show gratitude for all the help you’ve gotten from your military family and friends over the years? Get yourself a pen and a nice new journal and start writing down the reasons for your resolutions – this will give you something inspiring to turn to when you fall off the wagon or things don’t go as planned.
- E – Engage help and support. You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village…” and it is true, especially when you are resolving to achieve a goal or build a new habit. Your support plan should include telling people about your goals and why you’re doing it, finding people who share your common goal and seeking out professional help if applicable. Continuing with volunteering as an example, after you’ve identified your reasons for volunteering, tell your friends and family. They might be able to help you choose a cause or share some ideas for who to call to get started. Surround yourself with people who will inspire and support you along the way.
- A – Assess as you go. Your resolution is exactly that – YOURS! You can change it at any time. Check in with yourself along the way and be real about your progress. Maybe things aren’t going as planned and you’ve realized that the schedule you set for yourself is too aggressive – adjust accordingly so you can stick to the long-term goal instead of quitting all together. Changing your mind or re-working a plan is not a failure. Assessments will help you look at your situation objectively and make smart decisions to stay the course you’ve set for yourself.
- L – Love. From initial planning to accomplishing your goal, practice love for yourself and your cause. You will likely cultivate love along the way…for the new people you meet, the resilience your journey teaches you, for the successes and the setbacks.
If you do fall off track, don’t beat yourself up. Take a breath. Get your journal and remind yourself of your reasons for your resolutions. Engage your support network and let them help you. Assess your progress and adjust as necessary. Love yourself – you are doing your best and you can do anything you put your mind to. What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Share them and your “why” with us! You might just inspire someone else to set their own goals.