We’re just about halfway through January which means now is a great time to assess the progress you’re making with your New Year’s Resolutions. While some people might be crushing their goals and thriving on the momentum that creates, others may be struggling to stay focused and motivated.
In this post we’ll review five tips and tricks to keep yourself on the road toward meeting your goals.
1. Set Reasonable Expectations
It’s important to dispel the myth that habits take 21 days to form (or break). This old adage is one that nearly everyone has heard, and often leaves people discouraged when they realize that after three weeks, they haven’t completely changed their lifestyle. Sure, three weeks – or 21 days – is a great bench mark to set and check in with your progress on breaking or forming new habits, but nothing becomes automatic in less than a month – especially if you’re trying to transform habits you’ve been doing for years. According to Psychology Today, bad habits can form really quickly (in as little as a couple of days) but forming good habits or breaking old ones can take about 66 days before it becomes your new norm. That’s over two months!
So, if you’re feeling as if you’ve fallen off track – fear not! You can always start again. Resolutions can start any time of the year and it’s more helpful to consider them a work in progress.
- Write Down Your Goals
Whether you’re sailing easily toward your goal or struggling a bit, writing your goal down and using some sort of tracking system will help hold you accountable (check out our 90-Day Goal Planner if you’re looking for a great tool!). If you’re doing awesome, your written tally will help you to continue to stay motivated, and if you’re finding things a bit difficult your written progress might give you the boost you need to keep going – especially if you feel as if you missed the mark.
- Make One Stride Every Day – Even If It’s Small
Of course, we aren’t just talking about goals like quitting smoking or hitting the gym every day (but those are very admirable and worthy goals) – we’re also referring to goals such as growing your business. If your goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year, finish your novel or gain 10 new clients, none of it will happen overnight.
Though you may feel like jumping right in, be careful not to set the bar too high such as expecting to run several miles on day one, be able to write a chapter every single day, or send out 50 proposals per month. It’s better to set smaller goals and build from there. That way you protect yourself from burnt out and build confidence and enthusiasm from hitting smaller markers that propel you toward your big goal. Do as much as you can, when you can – even if it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. The most important thing is consistency!
- Keep A Positive Attitude
This brings us to our fourth point – keep a positive attitude. It is so easy to set a goal, feel like it’s going too slowly, get discouraged, and give up. But remember – any sort of action taken toward your goal is progress. The only thing that isn’t progress is doing absolutely nothing. Hoping to sign new clients but didn’t get any bites on proposals last week? That’s okay! Send a follow-up email. Not hitting your goal of writing one chapter per day? That’s fine (and really, really normal – otherwise everyone would be a novelist!). Sit down with your computer or notebook and jot down some notes, even if it’s just for five minutes. Get some of the character thoughts out of your head and into the “real world” by running a plot point by a friend. Voila – progress!
- Get Rid of Vampires
Finally, one of the best things you can do to stay focused on your goals is to get rid of the vampires in your life. Obviously, we aren’t talking about real vampires (but…if you have any of those hanging around you should definitely get away!) – we’re talking about energy vampires. These are the people in your life who suck the energy and excitement out of you – they come in all forms. Sometimes it’s a well-meaning family member who is constantly asking probing questions about “when will you be doing this” or comparing you to your cousin who has already done XYZ. Maybe it’s a friend who’s always using you as a sounding board for the drama in their life and is becoming too much of a burden. Or, it could even be a friend who is kicking butt and though they’re positive, it’s always all about them, leaving no room for real dialog and support.
It may not be possible (or even something you really want) to cut someone out of your life entirely but setting boundaries and expectations around these people can help you avoid emotional drainage. In addition, be careful not to compare yourself to others – especially what you see on their social media accounts. Your journey and their journey are different – and while it’s okay to be inspired by someone else, just don’t lose focus on your own unique path.
Have any tips for success to share with others? Share in the comments below.