The New Year is finally upon us! By now you’ve probably come across the countless blog posts, Instagrams, and tweets of those who are furiously making resolutions for 2014. We’ve all been there, making solemn vows to run five miles every day, give up all desserts, or never drink a drop of soda ever again. When the clock strikes the magical hour of midnight on New Years Eve, we believe with all our hearts that we will be the mighty conquerors of our lofty lists.
I swore off soda one New Year’s Eve, and just three hours later I found myself with Styrofoam cup of Dr. Pepper in hand, guiltily sipping my resolution away.
Let’s face it: we have the tendency to come up with some outrageous goals and projects to accomplish at the start of a new year, but how many of us lose all willpower to follow through before January has even passed? This kind of failure can leave us feeling defeated, lazy, and altogether too discouraged to even think about making new goals. With this mindset we ultimately rob ourselves of the will and freedom to dream big and become our best.
Trying to make huge changes all at once is a recipe for disappointment. Whether it’s a New Years Resolution or just a project you’ve been trying to get started on for far too long, I’d like to offer a few suggestions that will hopefully keep you on track with your goals long past January 1st.
- Grab a partner! I have found this to be the most helpful component to reaching goals. Having someone to keep you accountable provides a much stronger motivation than trying to push forward on your own.
- Break down a big goal into a few mini goals. Working on writing a thesis for grad school? Break up your writing into small, manageable assignments that can be easily completed in a week or so. Wanting to take on a marathon? Find a training plan (like this one) that does the work for you by breaking down each week leading up to the race.
- Decide on a regular goal-making date to meet and assess. Whether you are making weekly or monthly goals, decide exactly where and when you will meet your partner to go over each other’s progress and make new goals to reach before your next meeting.
- Post your goals somewhere you will see them every day. Ours are on the fridge!
- Assign consequences for un-met goals. My husband is my goal-making partner and, for him, not accomplishing a goal might mean doing the dishes every single night for the next week. For me it means vacuuming – a job he usually takes care of because I dislike it so much. Knowing that there will be unpleasant consequences for any laziness helps to keep us on track.
So go ahead and set those high goals for yourself! New Year’s resolutions don’t have to end in disappointment. Take the time to plan your approach and this year can be different. This year, the resolutions can stick.
Image via A Well Traveled Woman