It’s that time of the year again where we get together and celebrate the ending of another year and when we share our hope that the next year will be brighter and better than the last. Every year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions in an effort to motivate us to create a change in our lives. Sometimes these resolutions are about starting something (e.g., going to the gym, keeping a journal, making art). Sometimes they are about stopping something (e.g.,quitting smoking, cutting out meat from our meals, spending less time on the internet). And sometimes they are about us speaking our hopes aloud (e.g., take a trip, get that job, move to a new place). Whatever your New Year’s resolution is for 2018, we all know that at times it can be difficult to maintain the motivation necessary to keep up with the resolutions we made.
In order to set our community members up to have success with their New Year’s resolutions, we have created a list of 5 things to keep in mind for your New Year’s resolution.
- Choose a resolution that matters to you
The first step to keeping any New Year’s resolution is to come up with something you TRULY want to accomplish. I know this may sound obvious to some people; however, often times we choose resolutions that we have had little motivation or desire to do in the past or we choose something that we feel we should want to change based off other people. Choosing a resolution that you feel passionate about will help you work towards your goal and will help you stay motivated longer.
- Keep going
It happens to all of us at some point: no matter how much we want to achieve a goal or reach a milestone, at times it can be hard to motivate ourselves to stay on track in an effort to achieve that goal. Whether that goal is to go to the gym, quit smoking, cook more dinners at home, or any other resolution, the motivation to keep up the pattern can be difficult to find. In these instances it’s important for us to remember why we chose that resolution in the first place. Moreover, New Year’s resolutions are not always fun to accomplish. Sometimes when we are not seeing the results or changes in our lives that we desire it can become disheartening to us. But at these times we should remember that change happens slowly and that making a new habit or ending an old habit takes time and work. Don’t be too hard on yourself for slips and misses. Allow yourself the ability to adjust to new changes!
- Set small goals
Instead of saying “I’m going to stop eating meat in 2018” when you have never gone vegetarian or vegan before, start slowly. A nice way to set up an achievable goal is to work in small increments. As opposed to stopping or starting something all the way, which can be a jarring change in your life with little time to adjust, create a realistic timeline of small achievable milestones that will allow you to slowly reach your goal (e.g., try eating meat-free meals 5 nights out of the week). Allow yourself to feel excited (e.g., reflect back on how many weeks you’ve eaten 5 meat-free dinners). Celebrate when you reach your milestones (e.g., reward yourself with a burger on the weekends). Perhaps eventually you realize that you feel satisfaction eating meat-free 7 nights a week or more. By building upon smaller goals to reach a larger goal you can create a strong foundation that can, over time lead to a more permanent result.
- Be honest with yourself
Set up realistic goals and expectations by evaluating where you are (e.g., I currently smoke 2 packs per day) and where you would like to be (e.g., I’d like to smoke less than a pack per day). Don’t be afraid to restructure your goals. Only you know where you might have difficulty with your resolution. By being honest with ourselves and acknowledging where we feel we might struggle and where we feel we might flourish, we can find strategies and practices that can support our journey. Also, keep in mind that a New Year’s resolution doesn’t have to be something you achieve in the first month and maintain for the rest of the year. For some of us a New Year’s resolution is a goal we would like to reach by the end of the year or one that we would like to achieve at some point in the year.
- Find Support
Support can come in many forms. Sometimes it is our friends or family. Other times it can be an app or website. Support is whatever you need it to be. Having that support can help you keep motivated during difficult stretches. Support can help you see progress that isn’t always easy to see in ourselves. Find what works for you!
New Year’s resolutions are different for everyone. However, by thinking through and planning we can set ourselves up for success in the future. What about you? Are there any ways that you are planning to set yourself up for future success?
Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution this year? Would you like to help allgo to continue to provide Health & Wellness services for queer & trans people of color? Do you like riding bikes or being around people who ride bikes? Consider joining allgo’s Hill Country Ride for AIDS Team. This is a great opportunity to set a goal and work towards it. If you can’t or don’t want to ride a bike you can still be involved. The HCRA relies just as much on community support as it does riders. From cheering and encouraging riders, providing water, or just being there to welcome friends and community members to pit stops or at the finish line has a huge and powerful impact. To find out more or to join the allgo team click here.
For more content like this, or to hear about our upcoming events follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.