Another year has come and gone and 2016 has finally arrived. This is the start of a new year; a blank slate, an empty book ready for you to begin writing your story. Like so many others, I too make resolutions & goals for myself for the upcoming year. However, statistics show that most people who make goals for the new year end up breaking them within a couple months. Have you ever noticed there are hundreds of people at the gym in January and only a handful come March? There are a couple things though that you can do that will help guarantee you keep those goals in 2016.
CREATE MONTHLY OR QUARTERLY GOALS
- One easy way to help with sticking to your goals is by breaking them down into monthly or even quarterly goals. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to create goals for an entire year and even easier to toss in the towel a couple months in if things haven’t been going as planned. By creating goals for each month instead of the whole year, this lets you focus on a few specefic goals at a time. Each month create new goals that you want to accomplish. At the end of the month you can look at your list and reevaluate. This lets you see what you are truly passionate about and what ones you may be able to leave off the list for the next month or go about in a different way. You can also choose each month to focus on one specefic area of your life you want to work on. For instance, in January you could devote the entire month to eating healthier, in February you could devote your time to learning a new skill, such as cooking or painting. Use each month to work on one area of your life. This helps to keep things more detail oriented and not as vague. Most people do better with short term goals opposed to long term and by breaking them up into monthly or even quarterly segments your chances of sticking with them and achieving them increase.
- Too many times when we write down goals we don’t go into specifics. The most common goals every year are: lose weight, get healthy, work out, work on finances, etc. These are all great goals but they aren’t very specific. You need to ask yourself questions about each thing you have in mind and get specific. Write down a detailed plan. Wanting to lose weight is great but you need to go into details. Why do you want to lose weight? How much weight do you need to lose? How are you going to achieve this? By writing out specific information and coming up with a plan you are much more likely to achieve your goal. Plus, it gives you an end. If you just say you want to lose weight but don’t have a number in mind of how much you want to lose or what weight you want to get down to then how will you know if you achieved that goal or not?
- Once you have your goals in mind it is easy to put them aside and not look at them again. This is a sure fire way to lose motivation and fall off track. You need to look at your goals at least every month and see where you are at. Re-evaluate if needed. If you made a goal to read 4 new books a month and you are finding it to be difficult it is OK to re-evaluate. Perhaps 2 books a month is easier than 4. Maybe your goal was just a bit bigger than you could handle. It is always great to dream big but it is important to remember you are only human and sometimes we think we can do more than we actually can. Or maybe a goal you had at the beginning of the year, ends up not being as important to you 8 months in. Maybe you wanted to learn to fish and you went out once or twice and realized that fishing just really isn’t your thing. That is OK. It happens. You don’t have to continue with a goal if it no longer interests you and you are now passionate about something else. Goals can change as we evolve and learn more about ourselves as the year goes on.
DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL JUST YET
- We all start out with big plans for the new year. We all say, this year is going to be the best year yet or this year will be different. While we might have good intentions and we start out strong, sure enough a few months into the year, many of us will be slacking on our goals or even tossed in the towel completely. Don’t do it! There is no rule that says if you stop working towards your goals or things haven’t been going as planned that you can’t start up again. Who cares if you wanted to work out 3x a week and you gave up after 3 months. There is still time. What is stopping you from starting again, right now? There is no rule that once you stop working towards a goal that means you throw in the towel and give up. Look at your goals again…if something is still important to you but you just haven’t made the time for it or you lost motivation, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Start working towards that goal once again. There is no set rule that you have to start in January. It is possible to start in March or June or October even. There is no better time to start than now. Starting now is better than never starting at all. What do you have to lose?
FIND OTHERS WITH SIMILAR GOALS
- One reason many of us end up giving up on our goals is because we lack motivation. It is easy to start the new year with high expectations and promises to ourselves that this year will be better. It is easy to start off the year strong and feel that passion in us to complete everything on our list. But what happens halfway through the year when the motivation isn’t as strong? What happens when we are tired at the end of the day and just want to relax at home instead of going to the gym? How do you fight through it and continue to go after your dreams? A huge thing you can do to help is find others who have similar goals. This can be a friend, a family member, a co-worker or even someone on the internet. Join a book club if your goal is to read more, find a friend to hit the gym with, go with a co-worker to a cooking class. Find someone else who is interested in the same things you are and find others who have similar goals. It is harder to give up on your goals when you have someone else working with you. It is harder to stay home instead of working out if you know your friend is waiting for you at the gym. You can’t reach for the remote instead of your book if you know you have book club later that week. Having someone with similar goals can help fuel the fire beneath you and get you going again when you feel like giving up. Having an accountability partner can provide great motivation as well as encouragement.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE
I want to leave you with this…you are not a failure. Even if your goals do not go as planned this year and you only accomplish 2 things out of our list of 20 know that you are not a failure. Anytime you work towards a goal and anytime you work on yourself and want to make improvements to your life, regardless of the outcome, means you are not a failure. You chose to be a better person. You chose to have a goal. You are not a failure. You can only fail at something if you choose not to try. You chose to try. Remember that!