We all know what the new year means, right? It is that time when we make inspirational resolutions to achieve a few goals, improve our health, recover from the holidays, and turn over a new leaf. The new year is full of promise, and we want to achieve all of our dreams at once.
Then by the second week in February, 80% of us will have failed.
Somewhere along the line, we forget about those goals, we feel overwhelmed by them, or we put them on pause. Our hearts are in the right place, but we tend to bite off more than we can chew. On some level, it makes sense to try and do it all in one go. The new year seems like a fresh start, and a good time to take on all of your goals at once. Unfortunately, we are not wired to make several changes at the same time. To be honest, we are not wired for change at all. Humans are creatures of habit, and those habits die hard.
So How Do You Achieve Your Goals For the Year?
Tackle them one at a time
It may seem painful and time-consuming to have to stretch all of those goals out, but your chance of achieving each of them increases when you do just that. That increase is not small, either. Your odds of achieving one goal at a time are drastically higher than your odds of sticking with many goals at once.
Whenever you take on many projects, it becomes incredibly easy to get weighed down by those goals. Motivation is a great thing, but it is easy to let it get out of hand to the point where you have too much going on. Focus all of that motivation one thing, and you will be surprised by how much more attainable your resolution feels.
Too much motivation might sound like one of those good problems, but having too much enthusiasm often leads to starting on many goals, yet never finishing any of them. Taking this enthusiastic approach splits your focus, reduces the importance of each goal in your mind, expends more energy, and may leave you struggling to continue with any of your objectives. Then when you have to quit, you are far more likely to quit all of your resolutions, rather than just pruning a few.
You do not have to abandon healthy eating or stay disorganized. Nobody is going to complain if you cut back on a few bad habits. Least of all your future self. Just don’t make all of your resolutions an immediate priority. Perhaps most importantly, remember that having an off day does not make you a bad person. You just have to try again tomorrow.
Your resolutions should inspire you, not fill you with dread.
Set SMART Goals
What is it that you want to achieve? Can you boil it down to something concrete and attainable? Many websites will teach you how to set SMART goals, but what it amounts to is making them: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific: Make your goal clear. If you have a general idea of what you want to achieve, boil it down to what you need to do to get you there. For instance, instead of, “Lose 50 pounds,” choose a goal like, “Eat less than 1800 Calories per day until I get to my target weight.”
Measurable: Make sure that you have a way to track your progress! Tracking your progress motivates you, and makes your resolution easier to achieve.
Attainable: Keep your goals realistic; otherwise you may find yourself on a treadmill, never moving closer to your goal.
Relevant: Is this resolution worthwhile? Does it matter to you? The more important a goal is, the more motivated you will be to see it through, and the more satisfied you will be when you accomplished it.
Time-bound: Set a deadline! Again, make sure the deadline is attainable and set it in place. Having a target date keeps you focused, prevents the feeling that you will never achieve your goal, and it pushes all of those other resolutions down the road. When you do not have to worry about them immediately, the stress of wanting to achieve them melts away.
Just Like That
Instead of a list of resolutions weighing you down, you now have just one on which to focus. Your resolution is specific, relevant to you, and attainable. You have a plan to get where you want to be, a deadline to keep you on track, and measurable mini-goals to keep you motivated. You are ready to start the new year confident that you can accomplish all of your resolutions, and not have to make the same list next year.