It’s hard not to jump on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, so why not use it to your advantage? You’re motivated to make changes or to make a deeper commitment changes you’ve already made in your life. That’s a good thing. But we all know that for most people, those resolutions are already broken before February. So before you commit to overhauling your life, make sure you give yourself the best chance of successfully keeping your resolutions. Try these guidelines when setting up your goals for 2012. Keep it simple, doable, and measurable and you’ll be well on your way to success.
1. Keep it Simple. Vowing to learn 3 different languages before the winter’s end is tad unrealistic unless you’re already an accomplished linguist. (And in that case, consider me impressed!). We’re creatures that like gratification. So pick goals that make you reach out of your comfort zone…but not too far. Easy wins are perfectly acceptable, especially if you’re starting on a particularly challenging endeavor. So if getting more exercise is your goal. Start with the goal of getting in 20 minutes, at least once a week and commit to that for a few weeks. The sense of accomplishment from your first easy win, will give you the motivation for the next round of goal setting, where you can stretch just a little bit more out of your comfort zone. (Getting in 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, etc.) Soon you’ll be running off of the cycle of accomplishment and even bigger goal setting…all from that first easy win.
2. Doable. Many of us fall into the mistake of making too many goals at once. If your goal is to learn how to knit, get a run in everyday, and commit to a six day a week yoga practice all within January from a current state of couch surfing, chances are you’ll quit before you’ve begun. It’s too much to keep track of. It takes many weeks to create a new habit, so give yourself time to really integrate one new habit into your life before moving on to the next goal. Otherwise you’ll sabotage your chances of success and simply get overwhelmed in the process.
3. Measureable. Make it precise enough to be able to tell if you reached your goal.
For example. Resolving to be healthier while commendable is too big and vague of a goal. Either you’ll get overwhelmed or you’ll miss the daily choices that you’ll have to make to reach that goal. Instead resolve to drink 8 glasses of water a day or add 3 green smoothies per week to your breakfast rotation. Simple to do and an easy starting point that will make you feel successful to tackle on more. Not to mention, it will definitely make you healthier.
Whether it’s new years, a significant birthday or just that time, starting on a mission of self improvement can be very empowering and in the end hopefully improves on the current status of your life. Giving yourself realistic goals that gives you the highest chances of accomplishment puts you into a cycle of success for the new year and beyond.