With the New Year comes new hopes, new plans, and new resolutions. These vague goals of self-improvement often look like: get fit, eat healthy, make more money, be a boss! But, how long do the resolutions last? Before the month is even over, you’ve probably abandoned all hope of trying to achieve these ambiguous goals that are supposed to make you better.
So let’s start there: better. First and foremost, stop trying to change yourself. It’s cliché, but you need to hear it again, you are perfect the way you are. Stop treating your goals as a way to cut away who you are. Instead, think of what you want and see your goal as a step towards that. If anything, it’s letting go of things that don’t contribute to your best self in order to make room for the things that make you happy, peaceful, and or excited. Change your mindset. Goal setting should be about expanding, not deleting who you are.
Think of what you want and be specific. Goals need to be tangible and measurable, that is how you track progress and how you hold yourself accountable. Instead of “get fit,” consider setting a goal for how many times you’re going to work out during a week and how much time you’ll work out each session. By doing this, you’ll inevitably realize that you can’t workout 4 hours a day everyday. Set a realistic goal that is compatible with your lifestyle. If you want six pack abs fine, but that means you won’t be eating carbs anytime soon. Now, is that something you really want?
Once you have a tangible goal, break it down. How do you get from point A to point Z? If your goal is read more, great, but what does that look like? Plan it out. Do you like to read in the mornings or evenings? Are you a fast or slow reader? When do you have the time and when would you benefit from having a moment to yourself to read? When you consider these things, you can set a schedule for yourself. For example: every morning, read 2 chapters. In order to do that, what time must you wake up? It may seem a little anal, but when you break things down like this and plan them out, your goals become achievable. The fact is everything in life takes time. You simply cannot do everything. No one can! So when you break things down you’re able to create a schedule which functions as a road map that allows you to accomplish your goals.
Next, calendar it! Seriously, do it! When you write something down, you are 42% more likely to do it. It’s extremely helpful to have visual reminders. Think about it: you’re creating a tangible goal and giving yourself a tangible reminder. You’re making your goal concrete. Goal setting is about establishing new habits; you need to be reminded to do it! Then you can check in and see how you are doing and track your progress. This is how you grow and learn, which is the very point of setting resolutions. With a breakdown, you can check off as you go, instead of a lengthy abstract list that sits in the back recesses of your mind collecting metaphorical dust. Those –intangible- lists are what make you feel disappointment and even self-loathing. You have all these things to do and yet you’ve done nothing. But think about it, some lengthy abstract list of goals with no road map would be like trying to put together a bunch of Ikea furniture with no instructions. It’s not going to happen! Give yourself the roadmap so that you may be successful!
Practice makes perfect, right? Which also means you’re not always going to be perfect. There are going to be times when you slip up, forget to do something, run out of time, sleep in too late. Something will happen that prevents you from accomplishing your goal for the day. Forgive yourself and get back to it. Don’t resent yourself; otherwise, you’ll probably end up throwing the task away all together.
Most important: celebrate your victories! Okay remember that time when you told yourself you were going to eat healthy and then you had that really stressful day of work so at the end of the day you ordered junk food, ate a hearty amount and then followed it up with a massive serving of dessert and then hated yourself for it? Stop being mean to yourself. You are your own worst critic. In the past you’ve put yourself down for your transgressions time and time again. Time to rewire your brain. Harness that same energy which you used to punish yourself with and flip it to a positive note. You’ve successfully meal prepped for a whole week. You went for a run every other morning. You finished a book this month. You put together outfits for the whole week even though you never left the house! Whatever it is, take a moment to congratulate yourself and recognize, hell yes, you did it!
This is how you accomplish your goals. This is how you establish new habits. You have the capability to accomplish your goals; you just need to create a guide to do it. So even if you’ve already faltered on your goals for 2021, grab yourself a calendar, and try again. You’ve got this! Let 2021 be the happiest and most fulfilled you yet!