It’s that time of year when people all over the world send Christmas and New Year cards, celebrate the holidays with family, and stuff themselves silly with yummy foods and desserts. But it’s also a time to reflect back on the past 12 months and all that’s happened. Some of these people will decide it’s time for a change, and use the New Year as motivation for creating new habits – in other words, they make New Year’s resolutions. But we all know that the success rate of change can be low. Maybe you’ve tried in the past to keep a resolution and it just never stuck, but you weren’t sure why. Try following these five steps for achieving your New Year’s resolution or any goal.
- Be specific. If you aren’t specific with your goal, how will you know when you’ve reached it? For example, say you want to lose weight. That’s a great goal – but how much weight? If you lose a half pound, technically you’ve lost weight. But if you really want to lose 25 pounds, well, that takes a lot more effort!
- Plan your steps. Now that you know exactly what you want to achieve, you need to make plans on how you’ll go about doing it. It’s not enough to say you’ll eat healthy. What does “eating healthy” mean? What about exercising? To say you’ll “exercise more” doesn’t give you a very strong roadmap to success. However, saying you will exercise three days a week for 30 minutes a day is more specific and helps you formulate a plan for attacking your goal with fervor. It gives you direction and helps you stay on track.
- Make small changes. It’s much more difficult to go from not exercising at all to exercising six days a week – so start with small, manageable changes. For example, try making your initial goal to exercise twice a week for 30 minutes each. If that’s too much, that’s okay. Do less time. The point is to set a goal you know you can achieve. Then, once you’ve conquered that goal consistently for several weeks, you can add on to that goal. If your initial goal is too difficult, it’s likely you will become overwhelmed and give up altogether.
- Stay accountable to someone. If you have a friend with similar goals, work on them together. Commit to calling each other once a week (or daily, if necessary) to check in on your progress. Choose someone you know will not have a problem calling you out if you don’t meet your goals that week. Knowing someone else is going to check in with you can be motivation in itself for not cheating. You can also state your goals publicly on a blog or social media. Telling others makes your goals – and your commitment to them – more real.
- Keep a visual reminder nearby. Many of us are at desks all day long, or at least for some part of the day. Why not get creative and place glass prints with photos and/or inspirational sayings on your desk? If you’re not at a desk, put up a reminder wherever you frequently find yourself. Having the tangible reminder in front of you all day long will cement your goal in your mind and strengthen your determination to achieve it.
When you remember and put into practice these five steps, it’s much easier to achieve your New Year’s resolution and stick with it for longer than a few months. So get ready, get set, and go onward toward your goal! You can do it!
Author Bio: Heather Hewitt is a seasoned writer and guest author who enjoys connecting people with thoughtful products, services and ideas as they relate to crafting, photography, gift giving and personal expression.