With fall quickly approaching, I have started to think about my goals for the end of the year and what I have already accomplished. At the beginning of each year many of us create a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Our lists usually include things we want to accomplish, or bad habits we hope to break. How many of us, however, will actually follow through with our resolutions? It’s common for people to start a new year out strong, doing something everyday that will push them closer and closer towards their goals. For many of us, however, a few months into the year our efforts slowly start to fall apart and we are left not too far from where we were when we made our resolutions.
With more than half the year behind us, I like to take some time and look back on my New Year’s resolutions. It occured to me how much time we can spend dwelling on things we hope to accomplish, yet never putting those hopes and dreams into action. And so, at the start of each school year, I get motivated to think of ways to fulfil my resolutions and to make the upcoming year my most successful. I start by reflecting on what I have accomplished and what new habits and routines I’ve stuck with. Then, I think about what I still hope to accomplish.
There is no better time to recommit to your New Year’s Resolutions than the start of fall. If you want to learn some simple ways to stick with those resolutions you made 7 months ago, then keep reading!
1. Ask yourself why you made the resolution. Did you do if for yourself or for someone else?
We are much more likely to follow through with a task if it’s something we want want to do, and more importantly, something that inspires us personally. Thus, it’s important to keep in mind that the goals you are aiming to achieve are what you want to do and bring you happiness, or that you gain satisfaction of bringing happiness to someone else’s life. You should only be making a change to your life if it’s something you feel strongly about and will make you happy. If not, then the simple answer is don’t do it! By doing more things that make you happy and tackling things that will benefit you, you will not only enjoy the process, but are more likely to succeed.
2. Revise Your Goals to Be More Realistic
One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve their resolutions is because they are not realistic for their lifestyle. For instance, if your goal is to publish 200 blog posts a year, you should begin by mapping out how many posts you need to write per week in order to maintain a mangable schedule. By breaking your goals down into manageable tasks you will see how realistic they are. The minute you start making your resolutions manageable, the easier and more enjoyable the process will be and the greater likelihood you will achieve success.
3. Start Small
Setting grand and lofty goals may seem exciting, but in reality lofty goals can become overwhelming making it less likely you will follow through with your resolution. To avoid getting overwhelmed, divide the process into smaller increments and organize them into periods of one to three months each. By doing so, you'll be able to stay focused, accomplish more, and increase your chance of success!
4. Be Specific
If your goals are too general you won’t have a clear idea how to use your time and what you’re working towards. Eventually you’ll get frustrated from lack of success and fall off track. A good example of a goal that is too general and unfocused might be, “I want to be more healthy!” What does it mean to be healthy, and more importantly, what does being healthy mean to you? Is your aim to workout five days a week? Include more greens into your diet? Go to bed two hours earlier? Or practice meditation? The possibilities are endless. It’s important to be specific about what you want to achieve, otherwise you won’t use your energy effectively and you’ll end up wasting a lot of time.
5. Make a Plan and Assign Daily Action
In order to create a plan and roll it into motion you have to consider all the steps involved. A good way to do this is to get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper. If everything is stored in your head, you’ll likely forget a vital part of the plan. Also, it can be helpful to remember what originally inspired you. (I’m often most inspired when I see people doing amazing things.) Next, write down the list of goals you created. Coinciding with those goals, write the steps you will use to achieve them. Now you’re ready to develop strategies and organize them into a weekly action plan. That plan should include daily tasks that will help you move towards you end goal. When you prioritize your thinking and schedule the time to focus on your goals, you will achieve them with ease and confidence.
6. Connect Your Goals to Existing Habits
There is no better way to make your resolutions stick then by making them part of an existing routine. For example, if your resolution is to begin taking vitamins daily, place the pill bottle next to your kettle or cups in the kitchen. Thus, when you go to make tea or pour a glass of water you’ll be reminded to take your pills. We often don’t continue our resolutions because they are outside of our daily routine. By incorporating your desired habit into an already existing routine, there will be less chance you’ll forget the task.
7. Tell People About Your Goals
By letting others in on the changes you are making to your life you will have people to support and remind you of your resolutions. We all know that working out with friends is a great way to stay motivated and maintain a consistent routine. So why not apply the same technique to the goals you want to set in place? By letting your parents and friends know about your resolutions they can remind you to keep up with cooking at home or ask you how the book you’ve been writing is coming along. And maybe, you’ll be able to help them stay on track with their resolutions too.
8. Stop Calling it a “New Year’s” Resolution
Although we set these goals at the beginning of each year, we should stop treating them as if they are “New Year’s” resolutions but rather as “life” resolutions. The changes we set in place and the goals we aim to achieve aren’t just for the New Year, they are for life, and so, there is not better time to reaffirm our resolutions than now.