2016 is gone, and with a new year comes a sense of promise, a sense of “starting fresh” and for most setting resolutions that we hope will improve our quality of life.
But let’s be real, how many times have you heard someone say “On January first, I’m going to do X or stop doing Y” and then come January 15th, they’re back to their old habits again. Or perhaps, you’ve personally fallen victim to crappy resolutions. See, the problem with resolutions is, THEY DON’T WORK!
Okay, now you’re sitting there reading this like, “Wow, Caryn, why are you being such a pessimist?!” I’m not, I’m a realist, and this is why I don’t make resolutions. Instead, I set goals!
Let’s clear some things up here. The definition of “resolution” is simply: A decision to do or not do something. And that’s it! There’s no check-in, there’s no accountability, there’s no progress monitoring or deadline, and THAT is why resolutions fail. Goal setting: is the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measurable goals and timeframes. This is why goal setting does work! With goal setting, were not just throwing out some random statement that we are going to do or not do something and just winging it, hoping it will happen. Setting goals gives you clarity of your long-term vision and improves your short-term motivation. It helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can actively plan to achieve said goals.
Here are some tips for setting goals that work!
- Write them down and hang them somewhere you can see them every day: visuals are so incredibly powerful and just seeing them written down in front of you every day can increase your motivation go out there and make it happen!
- Set short-term goals with deadlines: Set short-term deadlines that will ultimately bring you to your long-term goal. This will make the long-term goal seem less daunting and scary! For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds in 3 months, break that down into shorter goals with deadlines. “ I will lose 3 pounds by the end of the first month.” “I will lose 6 pounds by the end of the second month.” I will lose 10 pounds by the end of the third month.”
- Now set a plan of action for each short-term goal! “To lose 3 pounds in the first month, this is what I will do: X,Y,Z” Start each day by making a list of the things you need to do in that given day in order to achieve this goal and check in with yourself at the end of each day to see how you’re doing! Cross things off as you accomplish each task on your to-do list! There’s no better feeling than taking that pen to paper and slaying your to-do list!
- Make them measurable: This gives you a way to track your progress. And track it visually! Make a chart or a graph that you can hang right next to those goals you wrote down. Seeing your progress visually will add so much fuel to your fire and motivation to keep going!
- State each goal with a positive mindset: Instead of phrasing your goals with a negative connotation like, “Don’t spend money on stupid things”, phrase it in a more positive light, such as, “I will make smart decisions with how I spend my money.” Or “I will spend my money on things that I need and that add to my well-being and quality of life.” I’m a firm believer that a positive mind produces positive action!
- Expect setbacks: No course toward achieving any goal is clear and perfect. There are always going to be inevitable road bumps and setbacks. But remember, goal setting is about progress, not perfection! Don’t expect yourself to be perfect, but do expect yourself to work hard. When you encounter the inevitable setbacks, do not allow yourself to get down or discouraged. These kinds of thoughts do not move you forward. Be aware that setbacks happen, and instead, make a plan of attack to overcome and just keep moving forward!
- Celebrate your small successes along the way: Remember, anything worth having takes time. As much as we all wish for instant gratification, you can’t expect yourself to achieve your long-term goals right away. But also, do not let your small successes go unnoticed and uncelebrated. Be proud of yourself each time you tackle one thing on your to-do list, each time you make strides toward the short-term goal, and each time you achieve each of your sort –term goals that will ultimately add up to the big ones!
I hope that you found these tips helpful! Remember, the first step toward achieving your dreams is: #1 believe in yourself (cheesy, I know, BUT IT’S TRUE!) and #2 set goals for how you will make those dreams come true! Now let’s shift our mindsets from making resolutions to setting goals and make 2017 your best year yet!