This piece originally appeared in The Productivityist Weekly newsletter. My weekly email is now called ATTN: and I’d love to send it your way. Just click here to make that happen now or sign up using the form at the end of this piece. Thanks!
Those of you who have been following my work for a while know that I’m not a fan of starting the new year in January. There are several reasons behind this, but the primary reason is that I think trying to get something stellar started when you’re at one of the lowest points of energy in the year is very unwise.
That said, I know many of you make New Year’s resolutions. And that’s cool. But at this point I’m betting that many of you have let them fall by the wayside already, and we’re only three weeks into the calendar year. Let me be clear: there are many of you have kept up with your resolutions, and that’s great. But I know there are more that haven’t. And that’s also cool because I’m about to offer some ways to get back on track with the time left in January.
1. Get real
The reason you’ve fallen off the wagon isn’t because you’ve made one bad resolution. It’s because you’ve probably made unrealistic expectations regarding your resolution. You’ve either picked too many resolutions and fell down on the one that matters most to you or you picked a resolution that simply wasn’t something realistic at the time. Either way, you’ve got a problem. The problem: You didn’t get real with yourself when you chose your resolution.
To get back on track, you need to look back at why this happened. What led to you choosing this resolution — and what led to you breaking it. You need to figure what will work and what won’t. And you need to be honest with yourself on both fronts. Whether that means you were over your head when choosing that resolution or whether you didn’t give it your full effort, you need to get real and get honest. Then you need to decide whether you’re going to go forward with it. Then you need to do the next thing.
2. Get psyched
We’re three weeks into the new year. Now that the holidays are over, your energy levels are rising so you can take on bigger projects. For some of us, energy levels may have already increased a week or so ago. Regardless, we’re ready to give the resolutions that didn’t stick a second chance…a fighting chance.
Getting psyched does that. This is a great time to reevaluate any wayward resolutions. Once you take time to reassess the situation, decide what you are going to do. You can continue to grind through or you can give up. Maybe it is time to create a new resolution altogether. But that initial boost isn’t enough. We need to give our resolutions shelter over the long term. When you take that step, you commit to keeping them.
3. Get committed
Resolutions need a stable environment to survive. One that has a solid foundation built on the individual, and not a tradition like the beginning of the month tends to offer. Committing to keeping the resolution is key to making it stick because without taking a pledge to actively maintain the resolution, it will have a greater chance of failure as opposed to success.
The best way to commit to a resolution is to make sure that you have as few as possible to commit to while they still in their infancy. Over time, you can commit to more of them. But during this time of year, be sure to pick the most critical resolution and commit to it over all others. That will give you a better shot at making sure it sticks over the long haul.
I’d much rather build resolutions over the whole calendar year instead of picking several to start it off. This practice allows me to deal with things in moderation rather than extremes, which works far better in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
So if you’ve fallen off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, give the aforementioned tactics a try. This could be the last time you worry about getting back on track at this point in the month of January because you’ll be more aware of what you can – and should try to – accomplish the next time a new calendar year arrives.