It’s the start of a new year again, and with that comes the excitement of a fresh start, a clean slate, and new beginnings. One thing that many people do is make resolutions for themselves for the new year. The only trouble is that resolutions are often put on the back burner when the hustle and bustle of daily life returns and the optimism of a fresh start begins to fade. We all know that New Year’s Resolutions lose their luster about two weeks into the year when life gets back to the daily grind. Grand plans with no clear way to implement them is a recipe for failure. With that in mind, I’m going to share how I have dumped New Year’s Resolutions for goal-setting.
Why I Dumped Resolutions
Every year I had a grand plan to create some resolutions to better myself and my family in the new year. I was always optimistic and excited about the prospect of being a better version of myself by the end of the year.
The problem is that it never happened.
About two weeks into the new year, I would find that I’d slipped back into the comfortable routine that was tried and true. It would happen gradually and without any conscious effort. Maintaining the status quo is much easier than creating new habits and routines, right?
After disappointing myself year after year and never sticking to my resolutions, I decided that it was high time to dump resolutions for something more practical: goals.
Why I Set Goals Instead
After years of failing to keep my resolutions, I thought about and evaluated what was going wrong. There were two key problems with making resolutions:
- I needed to stay motivated.
- I needed a way to keep myself accountable.
Resolutions are pretty general statements, and I needed to find something a little more concrete to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. I started to write goals, and that’s when I started to see actual progress.
How to Set Goals that You Can Achieve
First, figure out your large-scale goals for the year. Do you want to eat healthier? Exercise more? Get organized? Make new friends? Once you identify what your large goals are, then we can get to work on achieving them!
- Write down your large goals
- Break down your large goals into smaller bite-sized goals.
After you identify your large-scale goals, the real work begins. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! That’s exactly what we’re going to do next. Take your elephant (large goal) and break it down into bites (smaller, measurable goals). Your bite-sized goals might be daily or weekly, but by breaking down the large goal into smaller goals, you’re already on the path to success. Each mini-goal is an accomplishment to celebrate. By achieving a series of smaller, easier to reach goals, you will stay motivated.
Here’s An Example
Your goal may be to eat healthier. That’s pretty vague and there’s no real way to measure if you’ve been successful. A smarter goal (check out SMART goals here for a little more information) would be: Cut down on eating fast food to once per week. This is a goal that you can jot down in your planner or on your fridge and hold yourself accountable to each week. Add as many mini-goals as you need to make your big goal feel possible! Daily, weekly, and monthly will give you small victories and the encouragement you need to keep working at making this year your best year yet.
Break up with writing New Year’s Resolutions; write goals instead. Cut your elephant into bites, and you’ll be able to achieve whatever goal you set.