The first half of 2018 is over and by now, January 1 might seem like an eternity ago — as do the goals and resolutions you may have set back then. The truth is, there’s nothing magical about January 1. Sure, it’s the day tens of millions of people collectively decide to make themselves better, but as you may know from your experience, such decisions rarely last. My guess is that by now your pledge to lose weight, get in shape, and cut out junk food are now merely things you attempted and your goals have truly faltered.
No worries. If you haven’t successfully kept your resolutions, see it not as failure but rather as a learning experience and an opportunity to hit the reset button, tweak your approach, and start fresh.
Set the resolution for yourself and not for someone else. Internal motivation is far more powerful and lasting than externally driven motives. For example, it doesn’t make sense to strive for a size 2 just because it’s the style du jour. Your resolution should meet your needs, not those of others.
Make resolutions out of inspiration. Strive toward something positive, such as a growing your business and investing in smart strategies towards that end rather than out of desperation (such as waiting until you can’t pay your bills to take action). And if you want to succeed, be realistic and be detailed.
Frame your resolution in a positive way. The more you focus on not doing something, the more your brain will want it — remember the magical attraction of a “confidential” label on a letter? Rather than saying, “I’m not going to eat junk again,” say: “I’m going to improve my diet by adding healthy foods such as whole-grain cereal and replacing soda with water.”
Find a lifestyle you can stick with long term. A common mistake — and a reason for resolutions not being maintained much beyond winter — is that they are set too high and too rigidly. A lofty goal may be unobtainable and lead to frustration if you don’t achieve what you want. Holding yourself to rigid and extreme standards such as “I have to lose 50 pounds this year” doesn’t allow you many options between losing 50 or none. This thinking promotes perfectionism and may lead to a sabotage of all efforts.
Realize the power of your mind. Without the right mindset, you’ll remain stuck. Every elite and amateur athlete who does well, every performer who gets a rousing standing ovation, and with every successful negotiation made, the person believed in him or herself and approached any challenge fearlessly. You can do the same.
So as you head into the second half of the year, look forward with optimism and don’t let the first half of the year determine your fate. Every day from here forward presents an opportunity that you can seize in your pursuit of success.
Originally published at www.inc.com