As we approach the end of 2019 and a new year beckons, it is a good opportunity to take time to reflect and think about the things we want to achieve in the coming year.

We all have things we want to change, whether 'bad' behaviour, an unhealthy habit, or goals we want to achieve personally or professionally. Yet, despite our best intentions, we often slip back into our old ways, leaving us questioning why we bothered in the first place.

How can we make 2020 the year we set resolutions and actually keep them? We asked long-term YogaWest student and Life Coach Louise Fairleigh to share some top tips to help you turn your new year’s resolutions into results and make 2020 the year you achieve lasting transformation.

In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice historically celebrates new beginnings. Nowadays, we celebrate the new year a similar way, reflecting on the year that has passed and imagining the possibilities a new year might bring.

Yet whilst the turn of the year can bring with it a sense of hope, and the opportunity for change and renewal, it can also bring pressure as we set overly ambitious, and often unrealistic intentions, and make resolutions we will struggle to keep.

In turn, this can leave us with a sense of failure, and with that, a belief that we can’t change, leaving us feeling hopeless rather than hopeful. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. By following some of the key principles below you can, and will, achieve your goals.

1) Be true to yourself

We all have the power within ourselves to change but if you know in your heart you are not motivated to do so then you’re unlikely to succeed. Be honest with yourself about what you can, and, most importantly, want to achieve.

Change must be meaningful and something which you feel will be of value. If you are doing something just because you feel you “should” or that “it’s the right thing to do” you will find it more difficult to stick with it. Let your heart rule over your head.

2) Set clear goals

With any goal, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve and have an endpoint that you can visualise. If your goals are vague, you won’t know whether you are on track or if you’ve succeeded.

For example, if someone says, ‘I want to exercise more’ this is not specific. Decide what you will do, when you will do it, and how long you will do it for. In this instance, a smarter goal would be ‘I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week’.

3) Focus on the journey as much as the destination

When you first set a goal, the endpoint can appear daunting and far-reaching. By breaking it down into smaller more manageable milestones, this can make it feel more attainable.

For example, if your ambition is to get a new job, think about the individual steps you need to take to achieve this and set yourself a timeframe to work towards.

If you reach an important milestone in your journey, reward yourself. Setting targets and hitting them is a great way to boost self-esteem and encourage you to keep taking the steps necessary to achieve your goal.

4) Overcome doubt

When you set yourself a goal or try something new, your subconscious mind can often bring up feelings of fear, doubt or worry. These feelings are completely normal but can easily derail you if not contained.

To help you power through doubt when such negative thoughts creep in, consider the following:

  • Writing down a list of positive affirmations
  • Putting an inspirational quote/image on the screen saver of your phone
  • Adding goal reminders on your desk at work or around your home

5) Embrace setbacks

When you make changes and take steps towards achieving your goals, you will make mistakes and suffer setbacks – and that’s OK.
Instead of thinking negatively when this happens, reframe it. Say to yourself: “I didn’t reach my goal today, but I’ll work towards it again tomorrow”. If your goal was, for example, to go running twice a week, then run a little further next time if you miss a session. Not only will this stop you from panicking or giving up if something doesn’t go to plan, but it will also motivate you to keep your goals in the first place.

6) Seek support

When you set a goal, sticking to it is often easier when others know about your plan. “Buddying up” with a friend or family member, or with a coach, is a great way to help you to achieve your goals whilst also feeling supported. It can also provide you with someone to celebrate your achievements with along the way.

Above all else, choose a resolution or goal that will make you truly happy. After that, everything will seem easy to achieve!

This blog post was written by Louise Fairleigh, a long-time Yoga West member. Louise is currently training to become an accredited Life Coach and is offering a limited number of free coaching sessions to fellow YogaWest members whilst she builds up her practice hours. If you are interested in being coached or would like more information on Life Coaching, please contact Louise at yogilifecoach@outlook.com or 07973660992.