Maybe we’re still mesmerized by the magic of the holiday season. Maybe we’re still in that notorious Christmas sugar coma. But for some reason, many of us mistakenly see January 1st as a magical switch we can simply flip on to leave behind all of our flaws and bad habits and become everything we want to be in a day. While goal-setting can definitely be a healthy and helpful practice, most of us go about it all wrong. Here are some tips to help you make your resolutions realistic and reachable.
1. Keep it real (istic). It’s tempting to make a lofty goal, but you may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, break your goal up into smaller milestones. For example, aim to lose five pounds instead of 20. Once you’ve gotten there, you can reassess and make another goal to lose more. You’re much more likely to stick to your goal if it’s attainable. Even if you do fail, don’t use that as an excuse to give up. Make modifications to your goal as needed and start again.
2. Find your why. If you’re just making a goal because it sounds good or seems like something you should do, it probably won’t stick. Writing down the personal reason you want to attain your goal and keeping that in mind as you work towards it is crucial to your success.
3. Make a plan. Once you’ve written down your goals and your whys, outline a plan for how you are going to get there. What daily habits will bring you closer to your goal? What roadblocks might stop you from reaching your goal, and how are you going to get around them? What is your timeline?
4. Be accountable. Share your goals with a friend, family member, or even on social media. Knowing others are counting on you to stick to your word can help you stick to it to.
5. Remember, remember. Half the battle in sticking to your goals is remembering them day-to-day. Print out your goals or write them on a sticky note and place them somewhere (or in multiple places) where you’ll see them often. You may even add words of encouragement to yourself and place them throughout your house. Add reminders in your phone. Check in with yourself at the end of every week to track your progress, preferably with an accountability partner.
6. Don’t wait! I always try to start my resolutions before New Year’s Day. Procrastinating and tying all those good intentions to one date somehow makes me feel more committed. It also stops me from thinking I need to binge on all of the stuff I’m trying to cut back on (like food and technology, for example), which can be a huge detriment to goal success.
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