It’s that time of year where getting a fresh start, the excitement and possibilities of a brand new year, and the idea of a “new year, new me!” are at the top of everyone’s minds.
New Year’s resolutions are a popular topic this time of year, as many see the start of a new year as the perfect time to start fresh and tackle goals again.
Unfortunately, they’ve turned into somewhat of a joke. Resolutions went from a positive way to start a new year to an annoyance to deal with for a few months until people quit and go back to their old ways.
As catchy and exciting as they may sound, resolutions and the “New Year, New Me!” concept miss the mark in a few ways:
- You don’t need to change or reinvent yourself every year.
- There’s no extra benefit to waiting for January to start something new.
- You don’t need new goals every year.
If you’re the type to make resolutions, don’t fret. Let’s take advantage of that energy and put it to good use!
Since the start of the new year is all about change, I think it is time for a big change in how we think about goals and resolutions!
I’m changing “New Year, New Me” to “Same me, Different Approach.”
Here are four ways to change your approach for successful 2019 and beyond!
Don’t give up because it didn’t work out the first time you tried.
For almost 10 years I had the same goal: to have my own training facility so I could train and teach people in a nonsense-free environment. I wrote it down for the first time in 2008 and finally got the chance in 2017.
It took about nine years, a billion mistakes, three “almost had it” situations, multiple attempts at partnerships, and exhausting every possible option for the right opportunity to present itself.
Setbacks and failures are not fun, but they happen. It is the price you pay for stepping out of your comfort zone to do something great. The point here is that it takes more than one try to get it right. Learn from every attempt and use that to do better in the future.
It is tempting to quit when things get tough, but don’t give up! Take a break to collect your thoughts, recover, and adjust your approach. There’s no time limit and your goals don’t expire, so take as much time as you need and keep trying until you have the success you want!
If it’s important today, start today!
Whether it’s a new month, new year, or the “beginning” of a new week, they are just dates on the calendar. There’s no benefit Monday has that Wednesday or Friday don’t.
If a goal is important to you, today is as good a time to start as any other day. Start taking steps toward your new goal as soon as you can. You may not be able to give 100% right now, but you’ll have the idea in your head and be able to give more effort when the time is right.
Take going back to the gym, for example. Let’s say you wanted to drop a pants size and build a little muscle in your lower body. Instead of trying to do everything at once:
- Getting to the gym 3-4 times a week
- Adjusting to a new training program
- Changing your eating habits
- Learning new exercises
- Getting past the soreness
- Getting more sleep
- Not dropping the ball in other areas of your life
Start with one or two things that you can easily add to your routine. You could join the gym before the new year and get a feel for the place before it gets crowded. This way you’ll know your way around and have a “Plan B” for when it gets busy.
Or you might start training and get a feel for the new program before going all out. These are examples, but the point here is to start sooner rather than later and add to your list as you go.
I guarantee you’ll have a much easier time approaching your new year’s goals this way.
Fill in the gaps.
Even though it sounds cliche, there’s some truth in the “New Year, New Me” mantra.
It’s all about the word NEW!
You’re going to have to learn and try new things to reach your destination.
There is no way you’ll know everything you need to when you first start. The good thing is that you only need to know what you want to achieve. Learn the rest as you go.
Instead of trying to create a new version of yourself, build on the great person you already are! Enhance your good qualities and abilities. If you’re not getting the results you want from a training routine or anything else, figure out what’s missing or what’s holding you back, learn about it, and figure out how it fits with what you’re doing.
No fitness program, training routine, or diet in the world fits “as is.”
The “figure out how it fits” part requires you to experiment until you find what works and how it works for you. This is important, because this is where most people get it wrong.
Filling in the gaps is part knowledge and part experience
Don’t throw last year away. Learn from it.
It is tempting to start a new year by forgetting the previous one, especially if it was difficult or stressful.
Don’t throw it away before you take a look back.
What are the good things that happened? What are the bad things? What would you rather forget happened, and how can you put yourself in a position to head in a better direction?
Holding on to the past isn’t always a good thing, but learning from it is! Learn from your past experiences to set yourself up for a successful future. This ties back to filling in the gaps and learning as you go.
Instead of forgetting about that awful workout where you got nauseous, figure out why it happened so you can prevent it in the future.
Were you on a good streak with eating but got excited and cut your carbs too low, causing you to crash and binge for a few days? You can certainly learn from that too.
Whether you’re the type to make resolutions, or you’re someone that gets after a goal immediately, the most important thing to remember is to find a way to keep going.
The greatest resolutions, the best plan, and the most ambitious goals are only words and ideas until you do something about them. Start working when you can, adjust as you go, learn more along the way, and measure your progress against something.
It sounds really simple, and it is! It won’t always be easy, but this approach will take you very far if you stick to it.