Be honest. Have all of your wonderful New Year’s resolutions already flown out the window? If you have fallen off the wagon, please don’t give up. A few bad days – or weeks – should not deter you from working toward your goals this year. Everyone slips up from time to time, and that is perfectly normal. Before you throw in the towel on your big plans for the year, try a few of the following tips to help get you back on the right track.
Where do you keep your goals? If the answer is “in my head”, then we have a problem. Studies show that people who write down their goals are far more likely to actually accomplish them. Many people write their goals down once per year, and that’s good. What’s better is writing your goals once per week. This will keep your target right at the front of your mind. Most people can’t remember what they ate for breakfast last week, so why would they remember a goal they thought up 6 months ago? Even better, keep your goals on your smartphone and set an alarm to look at them every day. Keep the ideas fresh in your mind so you are constantly reminded of what you’re working towards.
One problem many people face is setting too many resolutions. Someone with fifty items on their goals list is probably not going to accomplish any of them. Ambition is great, but specificity is key. You should have 8-10 measurable goals at any given time. “I want to lose weight” is an idea, not a resolution. “I will lose 20 lbs. by my birthday in September” is a goal. If you can’t think of at least eight things that you want for yourself this year, think bigger! If you want to have a great year, you actually have to do things! When choosing your goals for the year, keep in mind that you need to have balance in your life. Making all ten of your goals career-related is admirable, but would achieving those things really be worth it if it meant sacrificing an improved social life, relationships, spirituality, or fitness? Your list should have variety, but be manageable enough that you know you can actually complete it.
Now that you’ve chosen your goals and have a clear idea of what you want out of the next year, it’s time to take action. This is the part where so many people fall down. What you want to do is start deconstructing the goals. Create a separate brainstorming list for each goal and write down every single thing you will need to do to make this resolution happen. Keep breaking down the goal into smaller and smaller pieces until you can’t think of anything else to put on the list. When you’re done, you have your plan. You are going to do a few of these things every day to get you closer to achieving your goal. Don’t do this process for all of the goals at once, or else you may get overwhelmed. Choose two of the biggest, scariest goals first and tackle them. Once you’ve started building momentum, you can start working on the others as well. Imagine the amazing feeling of accomplishment you’ll have when you’ve crossed the final goal off of your list!
Vision, clarity, and action are the ingredients of goal on its way to being fulfilled. If you follow these steps, you’ll never dread setting a New Year’s resolution ever again.