Yet another year is coming to an end, which means people all over the world are setting New Year’s Resolutions that will, most likely, be abandoned by the time February rolls around. However, setting your resolutions and goals doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and set yourself up for success.
Of course, you want to set lofty goals for yourself, who doesn’t? But it’s much more effective to break your main goal into smaller segments that are easily attainable and work up from there (as if you were climbing a ladder) rather than heading right to the top. The reason for this is that each time you achieve a goal it makes it easier to keep up your momentum and enthusiasm.
Plan Ahead and Equip Yourself
When you’re setting your goals, do what you can to plan ahead. Are you determined to stop giving in to your sweet tooth after dinner? Get rid of the junk food and fill your pantry with healthy snacks? If you’re planning to set a goal that has to do with becoming more organized or dedicating more time to specific tasks, set yourself up with a time management system and/or planner that will help you keep track of your to-do list. If your goal is to hit the gym more often, go for a run three times a week, or meditate every day before bed take the extra step of actually blocking that time out in your calendar so every day you’ll see it there right in front of you and becomes part of your normal routine.
We get it—sometimes you’re on a roll and then you have a rough day and reach for the cookies, or you skip your weekly yoga class, or you just don’t feel like tackling that to-do list and would rather spend the day binge-watching the latest and greatest on Netflix. That’s fine! We all deserve a break and we all have our moments. The key is that you’ve got to recognize what happened, recognize why you made the decision you did, accept it, and resolve to keep moving forward the next day. We’ve all said it time and time again “oh, I didn’t go to the gym today, guess I need to start again on Monday.” No you don’t! Start again tomorrow. Start again in an hour. Don’t put it off —keep moving ahead.
By writing your goals down in your planner, you’ll have a visual reminder of what your plan is every day—the act of checking them off (oh, isn’t it the most gratifying feeling?) will keep you accountable for actually completing your tasks, and if you don’t complete them you can reflect on what got in your way and make adjustments accordingly.
Finally, when you’re trying to reach goals and achieve results the most important thing is to reward yourself. As we mentioned above, all too often people get down on themselves for missing a day or becoming a little lax, and their reaction is to just stop. Instead, accept that you had an off day and celebrate all the good you’ve already done. So what if you didn’t hit the gym 6 days this week— you went five times! Celebrate your little victories. Turn your slip-ups or your missteps into teaching moments or – better yet—little rewards themselves.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to do when setting goals and New Year’s Resolutions is to set reasonable expectations, allow yourself some flexibility and be kind to yourself. If you need assistance in planning out your goals in attainable steps, take a look at the InnerGuide Yearly Planner or, for a more intensive goal-setting and achieving accountability program, check out our 90 Day Goals planner.