How are your annual resolutions working out for you? Have you stuck to them or completely given up? Statistically, most people abandon their New Year’s resolution within the first few months of making them. Evidently good intentions aren’t enough to make the annual goal setting ritual stick.
So what can you do to make them stick, you ask?
How to Set Goals (and Stick to Them):
#1: Start NOW! — Don’t wait for a New Year, a new term or even a new month to get started. The best time to make a change is NOW! Start right this minute, today at noon, Wednesday of next week or whenever you decide to take that step and make a change for the better.
#2: Be Ready — Only make resolutions that you are ready to commit to. Often the reason people abandon their resolutions is that they are doing what they feel pressured to do, not what they actually want for themselves.
#3: Repeat and Renew! — Make change a daily habit by taking time each and every day to renew your resolution! Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of your goal — post notes on your bathroom mirror, book time in your calendar, create a chart to track your progress!
#4: Replace Bad With the Good — Instead of focusing on what you aren’t going to do, try replacing whatever bad habit you are trying to kick with a good one. So, for example, if you are trying to junk the junk food habit, make it your goal to eat lots of healthy foods so you aren’t obsessing about what you are giving up.
#5: Focus on the Process, Not the Result — Shift your focus from results (i.e. losing weight or writing your first book) to the process (exercising daily or writing for 60 minutes a day). It sounds like the same thing, but the important difference is that whether or not you get results that day or that week, by focusing on the activity, you are establishing the habits that will lead to the result.
#6: Forgive and Move On! — If you mess up, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t turn failure into a reason to abandon change until next year. That said, don’t give yourself too much leeway to cheat because that’s not the purpose of making a change.
#7: Make Change a Habit — Think of change as a continuum, not a destination. That way, the one small change you start with today is the key to unlocking bigger change tomorrow. It helps me those pesky resolutions seem less daunting because you can focus on a series of small changes instead of a giant shift.