With the New Year around the corner, millions of people scramble to set New Year’s resolutions. Some dream of changing themselves, while others want to change their partners, friends, and careers. Regardless of what goals are set when the clock strikes 12, chances are more than half of them will be abandoned by February. Does this sound familiar?
According to US News, that number is actually closer to 80% which means we really suck at commitment. I’m here to help you change that forecast, at least for yourself. It shouldn’t be so hard to follow through with the goals we set for ourselves. We dream of positive results, but what do we expect to gain if no action is taken?
Step One: Set Reasonable Goals
Let’s be honest, you may not become a millionaire by the end of the month, and it’s highly improbable that you’ll ever ride a pegasus. However, it is possible to take vitamins every morning to improve your health. Don’t be the person who can’t commit to swallowing a pill or two at breakfast. (Guilty as charged.) Before you start choosing goals that seem reasonable, think about your everyday life. How probable is it that you will have the time, the energy, and the memory to follow through with your new goal? A reasonable goal is any action you can take on a regular basis without jeopardizing your other commitments. For instance, if you are a stay-at-home mom who wants to get more exercise, find a way to incorporate workouts in your daily routine. If you don’t have time for the gym now, chances are you won’t have time to go in the new year. Even so, you can always find another way to achieve your dreams.
Step Two: Get Out of Your Head
Thoughts alone will not solve your problems. To make progress, you have to do more and think less. If anything, overthinking becomes an excuse for avoiding the change you have promised to make. Instead of letting those thoughts cycle, write your goals on a piece of paper. Add them to the short list (not the endless google keep note that rarely gets a second glance) Writing your goals down allows you to constantly see them, which again reminds you to get them done.
Step Three: Form a Game Plan
How do you accomplish an overwhelming task? You break it down. The same approach works for goal achievement. Break your goals down into actionable items or steps. To use the fitness example, stay-at-home mom has to figure out what her end game is for this goal.
She needs to ask herself important resolution questions like:
- How much weight do I want to lose?
- Am I also changing my diet, or do I want to focus on working out?
- What can I do to see results by the end of the year?
After you ask yourself questions about the results you want to see, you will have a better idea of what needs to get done. You’ll also have a rough time frame for accomplishing these things. This is how goals are achieved.
Step Four: Make it Timeless
Okay you’ve set a goal, put your thoughts into action, and formed a game plan. What’s next? Even though these steps improve your chances of achieving your goal, they are not always enough. There’s so much noise in life that distracts us from prioritizing the things we really desire. Though it seems crazy that we can so easily lose sight of our dreams, especially since New Year’s resolutions aren’t typically chosen on a whim, it makes sense the more you think about it. The excitement of the holiday season pushes us to believe we can achieve all the goals we didn’t that year. So we set our sights on the new year, and use these goals to propel ourselves into a fresh start where we feel better than we did before. At first. Then life continues as usual, and it gets harder for us to keep the promise we made ourselves when hope and happiness were on high. For some reason society has allocated this time of year as THE time to revive its hopes and dreams. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Right? Well, to make your goal timeless, you have to ground it with reality. Don’t bank it all on the back of Christmas Spirit and New Year’s Cheer. Create a real goal that will produce real results for your real life. Instead of fixing your goals to any one period of time, make them a habit. Initiate a life change that will last longer than 1/12 of a year. There’s one last step that will help you follow through with this one.
Step Five: Remind Yourself Why This Matters
To me, this is the most important step of them all. Why? Because if your dreams don't matter, then you won't care enough to achieve them. If you really want to actualize these goals, then make them matter. Take your plan, and institute it in your life:
- Set reminders on your phone to take those vitamins at breakfast.
- Print out an exercise plan and stick it to the fridge.
- Keep a journal of your progress, and make the first page a testament of your commitment to achieving this goal.
Anything can be possible if you want it enough, and if you work hard enough to make it your reality. Go ahead now! Make those New Year’s Resolutions Timeless. If you can achieve these goals, you’ll know you have the drive to follow through with every dream you make a commitment.