Your New Year’s resolution: Finding a cheerleader

Words from Christine…

We’ve been talking about five ways to make New Year’s resolutions stick:

  1. Be convinced it will make your life better.
  2. Break it into very small goals, and clearly state each goal.
  3. Be accountable to yourself and at least one other person.
  4. Be your own cheerleader, and have at least one other cheerleader.
  5. Be able to adjust your expectations when necessary.

Our previous posts talked about point 1 and point 2. In this post, I’d like to explore the third and fourth points: (3) Be accountable to yourself and at least one other person. (4) Be your own cheerleader, and have at least one other cheerleader.

And let’s stick with the example used in the prior posts, which is, a New Year’s resolution to “start actively dating”.

There can be lots of uncertainty, pressure, and anxiety with dating, so it’s definitely not a time to “go solo”. Tell someone – family or friend or coach or minister – about your goal so it feels like a real promise.

Then, once you have a target date to complete your first task, let your confidant know. When resistance comes up, share it with them.

When it feels too difficult to do the next thing on your list (you aren’t in the mood or had a bad day at work), call your confidant for an extra boost. The odds of them having a bad day on the same day is slim, so they’ll probably be able to give the encouragement you need.  The more successes you experience, the fewer bad days you’ll have.

Be your own cheerleader. Reward yourself for each accomplishment. Prepare ahead of time a list of 5-10 things that feel like rewards to you. For example – watching a favorite TV show, walking, playing with your pet, getting a manicure/pedicure – you get the idea. Then you’ll have your reward at the ready when you finish a task (or need encouragement to finish).

Pressure and anxiety may come as you create lists and pick your activities. To ease this, remember that making one decision at a time feels much less difficult than making many at once. Some helpful ways to think are:

  • I’m deciding to do this one thing because it will bring me happiness when I’m  doing it.
  • I’m going to try one new thing at a time.
  • Even if I end up not liking it, it’s only a couple hours out of my life and I‘ll still be learning something.
  • This activity is bringing me closer to my goal of doing things I like with someone I enjoy doing it with.

If you skimp on this part, it’s harder to reach your goal because you start to feel overwhelmed (which can cause you to stop everything). Completing each step one-at-a-time builds a firm foundation for the next step.

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