The new year is upon us. As 2019 draws near, champagne will be sipped, resolutions will be made, and new leaves will be turned over. “New year, new me,” we will tell ourselves.
We will resolve to eat healthier; we will promise to save more money; we will pledge to travel more; we will vow to remove all sources of toxicity from our lives. We will seek to change what we put into our bodies, the places that we will go, and with whom we surround ourselves, but will we seek to change ourselves?
We can change everything about our surroundings, but without actually developing ourselves, those changes are meaningless.
Humans are meant to evolve. Ask Darwin! Here are a few tips for how to embrace change:
Talk to yourself.
Sounds…strange, I know. Call it what you like: reflection, self-awareness, whatever. But introspection can help us figure out what our fundamental values are. Once we discover what kinds of things we value in life, we can identify the discrepancies between our choices and our goals.
The whole point of setting a resolution is so that you are actually able to accomplish something in the new year. If your resolution isn’t feasible, then you are doomed to failure. Setting unrealistic goals can become discouraging because when they inevitably don’t work out, it gets easy to believe that change is impossible for you. Change is possible, but you just have to be realistic about what things you are able to change.
“I resolve to save more money, starting… next month!”
Does that sound like you? If you are serious about accomplishing something for yourself, then don’t wait to start working towards your goal(s). The more we put things off, the less likely we are to do it. So make like Nike and #JustDoIt!
We often have such a clear-cut vision of our futures that it becomes difficult for us to embrace the reality of the present. Your ultimate goal may be to buy a house, but if your savings account isn’t where it needs to be that might not work out just as planned. Goals need to be realistic, and sometimes there are multiple things that need to happen before getting to your goals. In order to keep your goals realistic, you have to adjust them based on new information and circumstances. That’s ok. If you can’t be flexible with your goals, they will break under the pressure of new realities. Be open to bending and adapting.
Don’t quit. (hard, we know)
Being flexible doesn’t mean that you should change your resolution to nothingness. You should always have a goal and a plan, even if you realize along the way that it needs to change. Changing your plans doesn’t mean that you have to throw your goals in the trash. Flexibility is all about adapting to current circumstances so that your ultimate end goal can still be achieved. So don’t quit!
Any kind of change can seem daunting. But just like with a project at work and school, it is helpful to break it down into small pieces. This can turn a goal that seems like a mountain into a realistically surmountable molehill. For example, if your resolution is to lose 20 pounds, then set small benchmark goals to join a gym by a certain date, to drink only water every day for two weeks, and so on.
We literally live in the future. Cars drive themselves. Drones deliver packages. Humanoid robots can talk and exhibit emotions. So yes, you can set an alert on your smartphone. What’s the point of setting goals and benchmarks if you’re going to forget about them? Structure your benchmarks into your life– add events to your personal calendar, set reminders on your phone, use technology to help you achieve your goals!
Change is difficult. Each time you meet one of your benchmarks, reward yourself. Of course, you should be smart about the magnitude of the reward you give yourself. If your resolution is to save an extra $5000 this year and so far you’ve saved $500, don’t buy yourself a $300 pair of shoes as a reward. Rewards should be reasonable. It can be as simple as rewarding yourself with a movie night at home or inviting your friends over for dinner. Doing this can make meeting your benchmarks more exciting. Setting goals should be challenging and fun. So don’t forget to treat yourself along the way.
Keep these tips in mind and get to planning! Make sure your New Year’s Resolutions are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Let us know what your resolutions are! Post them on social media using the hashtag #NewYearNewMe and tag us in the post @TheKBEP. Have a wonderful new year!