Every year New Year’s Day acts like a timestamp. It is a chance to think about past behaviours and adopt new ones. The new year, a new month and a birthday can push the need for change and self-improvement.
The challenge? Making that change permanent. Most people find it difficult to stick to a resolution – and then blame themselves if it doesn’t work out.
Making (or breaking) habits
Resolutions don’t happen on a linear scale. You can miss a day at the gym, choose take-out over salad one night or forget to write in your daily gratitude journal – without it having to derail your resolution completely.
Resolutions are just attempts to create new habbits (or break old ones). Habits form from repeated action. It doesn’t have to be every day or every time. But if you keep at, after a while a behaviour can become automatic. Every day, an average person performs hundreds of automatic behaviours: walking, checking their phone, putting on a seatbelt and more.
When looking to shed an old habit, what you are really doing is forming a new habit to abstain from the old behaviour.
If your resolutions have unstuck, don’t give up. Here are four things you can do to recommit to your resolutions.
1. Set realistic and specific goals
One of the most common pitfalls with resolutions is being vague or overly ambitious. Instead of aiming to “get fit” or “save money”, break down your objectives into specific, achievable tasks. For example, set a goal to exercise for 30 minutes three times a week. Or save a specific amount of money each month. Realistic and measurable goals make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated.
Instead of aspiring to “broaden your skill set”, pinpoint the exact skills you want to acquire. Short courses are perfect for this. They offer targeted content that allows you to focus on specific areas of interest or professional development.
Integrating learning plans with resolutions can also help. Create a comprehensive plan that integrates your learning goals with your resolutions. If your aim is to boost your career, identify business short courses that align with your professional aspirations. Or if your goal is to eat healthier, enrol in a cooking class to become a confident home cook.
This synergy between your resolutions and learning plans ensures that you’re actively working towards your goals on multiple fronts.
2. Track progress over time
Once you’ve established your goals, develop a clear plan of action. Outline the steps you need to take to achieve each objective and create a realistic timeline. Whether it’s creating a weekly meal plan or setting aside time each week to work on a creative project, having a well-thought-out and realistic plan can help you stay organised and focused on your resolutions.
If your journey of self-improvement involves both resolutions and short courses, keep a dual progress tracker. Record your achievements, no matter how small. This could be a journal, a mobile app, or even a simple checklist to monitor milestones in your resolutions alongside your achievements in the courses you’re taking. Regularly reviewing your progress helps reinforce your commitment to personal growth and showcases the tangible results of your efforts.
Celebrate milestones along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you encounter setbacks. Learn from them and use them as opportunities for growth.
3. Build a support system
Share your resolutions with friends and family and consider finding an accountability partner. Having a support system can provide encouragement, motivation and a sense of responsibility. When others are aware of your goals, they can offer both emotional and practical support.
Joining a short course can instantly connect you with like-minded individuals who can also be your support network. Having a supportive learning network not only keeps you motivated but also provides opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange. Celebrate your successes together and lean on each other during challenging times.
Communicate your learning goals with your teachers to get insights and advice on how to get the most from your short course and continue your learning beyond class.
4. Be flexible and make adjustments
Life is unpredictable. Circumstances change. Be willing to adapt your goals as needed without abandoning them altogether. If you encounter obstacles, consider alternative approaches rather than giving up. Flexibility and resilience are key to maintaining your momentum and overcoming challenges on the path to success.
Short courses offer the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. If your initial plan needs adjustment, explore alternative courses or learning paths that still contribute to your overall growth.
Let’s crush those goals!
Remember, turning resolutions into habits takes time and consistent effort. By setting realistic goals, tracking your progress, building a support system and embracing flexibility, you’ll be well on your way to making 2024 the year you not only set resolutions but crush them.