This is Part 1 of 5 in a series on new year’s resolutions.

We are told that the new year is a time for resolutions. But many of us struggle with this tradition. Very often, we find that we can only stick to our resolutions for a few weeks, if at all. Why is that?

Well perhaps it starts with great intentions, and maybe some over-ambitions expectations of ourselves. For example, perhaps we want to get in better shape, but have never had a regular workout routine. We make a resolution to go to the gym every day and WHIP ourselves into shape! Big goals often become overwhelming, we don’t see immediate results, and instead of whipping ourselves into shape our inner critic jumps up and you start hearing “This is not working, what the hell is the point of any of this, this is just too hard…” This often leads to the resolution being dropped. I too have created those lofty goals, making excuses, and beating myself up about it along the way.

So, what do you do about this? Do you just not make resolutions? I am not saying that. In fact, I am saying there is a way to make progress that helps sooth both the part of you that wants to have the results and part of you that is worried about letting yourself down.

There is magic in knowing what you want to create in your life overall. One thing I have found to work is to set goals for how you want to feel in the different aspects of your life and then putting small achievable and actionable steps in place that you can tackle now. For the example above perhaps you set and overall goal in your Health aspect of your life of- Living life feeling full of energy and vitality.

Instead of setting your eyes on getting to the finish line, see what baby step you can take right now that will get you moving towards that goal. Let’s take the previous example: let’s say you don’t have a regular exercise program, and you want to make some progress towards feeling full of energy and vitality. What do you think you will be more likely to accomplish in the short term: running a marathon, or taking a daily walk around the block?

Perhaps you can make a realistic resolution to start with a 5-minute daily walk. The trick is to start small and with something that it is doable. Holding true to your small steps combined with giving yourself a pat on the back, or other simple reward, when you complete them provides a sense of inner satisfaction. This will empower you to do more. Baby steps and small wins can stack up! You will start to feel great from accomplishing your goals, no matter how small. And from there, maybe you can increase your daily walks to 10 minutes, and on and on. Heck with enough time, patience, and persistence small steps like this can help you accomplish even major goals like running a marathon, or perhaps to simply leading a more healthy and happy overall life!

So when you think of your new year’s resolutions, keep that in mind. Start now. Start small.

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