Chances are, you’ll start 2015 with a few ideas about goals you’d like to accomplish, skills you’d like to learn, or bucket-list items you’d finally like to check off. Sadly, however, research suggests that not many of us will stick to our resolutions. How few exactly? Fewer than you think. Fewer than few. (A dismal 8 percent, to be exact.)
To help you learn, grow and experience everything this new year has to offer, we’ve enlisted international life coach Shannon Kaiser, bestselling author of Find Your Happy, to give a rundown on how to obtain your goals with ways to learn something new in 2015!
Keep dreaming and break routine.
Why don’t we ever do what we truly want to do? One word: routine. “Responsibilities take hold and we forget to dream,” Kaiser explains. “This takes its toll on people because we feel like something is always missing.”
If you’re going through the motions of “wake up, go to work, take the kids to soccer practice, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat” you can get sucked into the “vortex” of doing the same things over and over. If you feel this way, it’s time to stop, drop everything, reevaluate and learn something new.
Get real about your goals.
If you’re continually making and failing at resolutions, perhaps you’re making the wrong ones. “When we get real honest with ourselves, we always have enough time, money and energy for what’s really important to us,” Kaiser says.
For instance, if you constantly set a goal with your pals to lose that last 10 pounds, and never do, maybe that’s not as essential to your happiness as you think. Say, ‘Hey, it’s OK!’ and move on to other things.
“Instead of mentally beating yourself up, try to adopt a more compassionate approach to your goals, and be okay with where you are in the moment,” Kaiser says.
Get in touch with your values and put them on the calendar.
Maybe you need to make “the big leap” to finally set off on your adventure-of-a-lifetime or to finally take that language class. Ask yourself: what would you do if you could do anything? Help others with volunteer work? Sing onstage at Madison Square Garden? Start a career as an artist?
“When my clients get in touch with their values, their goals become crystal-clear and they are enthusiastic about making them a reality,” Kaiser says. “If you value nature, freedom or travel then find ways to add more of what you love into your daily life. This will help you create solid goals, such as taking a trip to Paris, or writing your first book.”
So, don’t start the year with a to-do list, but with a what-I-love list until those goals manifest themselves. All you have to do is make one major step in the right direction to cement your success. You don’t need to hop on a plane tomorrow, but you do need to inch toward making your dream a reality.
Remove the pressure.
Oftentimes, we fail at New Year’s resolutions because we’re striving so hard to succeed. “We put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves to change, be better, and be different, which makes us feel wrong — like we have made mistakes, or we are bad for not doing as well the previous year,” Kaiser says.
Instead of exerting all your energy into staying the course, just encourage yourself to do better than you did the day before, Kaiser says. This holds true for losing weight, eating better, learning a new language, playing an instrument — whatever your goal may be.
When in doubt, stick to this four-step plan.
Time to bust out some pen and paper. Here’s how to take action now, according to Kaiser:
“First, focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want. Second, do three things every day that your future self will hug you for, which means working toward your goal each day.”
That can be everything from saving a little money for the trip, to breaking for a half hour to write the story, to taking a piano lesson, to walking around the block so you’re in a better mental place to tackle your to-do list (and then your dream).
“Third, visualize your success,” says Kaiser, keeping what the end (happy) result will look like in mind. “And then, lastly, enjoy the journey on the way to the destination.”