Let’s face it: You’re kind of high on life between Christmas and New Year’s, right? It’s a flurry of family, friends, and Frosty the Snowman on blast wherever you go. It’s a great environment to set goals, write resolutions, and anticipate the best new year of your life.
But then January—a.k.a. real life— up and smacks you in the face. It’s way harder to keep those promises you made while sipping cider on your comfy couch once you’re back to a brutal daily commute and a never-ending list of to-dos.
Does that mean that your intention-setting was a waste of time? A dream? A “nice try”? Heck no. Here’s how to keep those commitments to yourself even when you’re tired, stressed out, and frankly, a little depressed:
1. Ask for help.
Say this is the year you start your long-awaited side hustle, but weeks into the new year, well… nothing’s happened. Who can you turn to? Having support from family and friends who believe in you is truly transformative when you allow yourself to ask for help. Is there someone who can help you ideate? Someone who can make a meaningful connection for you? Someone who can listen to you as you brainstorm your next steps? Smart people ask for help all the time. Don’t wait!
2. Create a schedule.
Sticking to anything is easier when there is structure. When I joined ClassPass a few months ago, the 10 classes per month gave me structure. If I complete them, that’s enough. If I don’t, I try and tick ’em off the next month.
How can you add structure to your week or month? Grocery shop every Sunday morning? Automate 20 percent of your paycheck into a savings account on payday? When we remove the decision fatigue of constantly making choices about what to do in the moment, sticking to our goals becomes way easier.
My friend ditched the Seamless web app for a month and is already saving cash (and calories)! What can you create (or remove) that will keep you on track with your goals?
3. Lose the pressure.
Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” So maybe you stumbled. You smoked a ciggie. You pigged out on cheesecake. You texted your ex or flaked out on your running buddy (it’s cold out there!) … So what? That’s OK! We all slip sometimes! The fact you did doesn’t matter. The opportunity to get back up does. So long as you remain headed in the right direction for you, a little pause never hurt anybody for long. Forgive yourself and dust it off.
4. Be flexible.
Life is fluid and always changing, so we must be fluid too. Be open to changing your mind, being inspired, and ditching rigid thinking. Say you committed to run a marathon, but in the interim, you decided you love yoga and want to commit your time and money to do a teacher training instead. Great!
Perhaps your goal was a promotion, but after meeting a new, worldly friend, you got some wanderlust going and want to take a break over the summer and head to Colombia. Brilliant! Can you be OK with changing your mind? The one constant in life is change, and like nature’s constant transitions, we gotta go with the flow of our evolving desires.
The most important thing is to be easy on yourself. When you’re too tough, nothing positive happens (for long anyway). It’s in the space of ease and calm where the good stuff happens. Ideas hit us. We feel happy. We receive inspiration.
And when you relax a little and accept the ups and downs of your daily experiences, you’re more powerful. You stand in a place of clarity. And you can let the space between where you are and where you want to be inspire you.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!