We’ve made it into the first week of January, and everyone is starting to settle back into their normal routines again. But as we all know, the hustle and bustle of everyday life can sometimes wreak havoc on the New Year’s goals we so carefully set only a couple days ago. That exercise plan? It looked great on paper, but you may be starting to care less how good it looks on you. The healthy diet? Out the window. Spending less? But… those post-Christmas clearance sales are just so good!
You may be struggling to find the time, motivation, or both to keep plugging away at your goals. But here’s the thing: all of us struggle with that. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, only 8% of New Year’s Goals are ever achieved. Part of the reason for that common failure is just not setting good goals in the first place. But even if you set fireproof resolutions that followed every principle of good goal-setting in the book, life still happens. And before you know it, you may find your goals falling by the wayside.
So what can you do to achieve your resolutions? We’ll talk about some ways you can boost your success.
This is especially important if one or more of your goals aren’t ones you can check off your daily to-do list, but instead, require getting something done by the end of the year (or perhaps another deadline you’ve set). A great example of this is trying to read a large book, series, or sacred text. In the early days – or even months – of the New Year it can be easy to think “I’ve still got plenty of time and am really busy today, so I’ll start that goal tomorrow.” But time tends to get away from us. Before we know it, it’s mid-June and we still haven’t gotten more than a chapter or two in. And there’s not much that’s more demotivating than realizing that you probably don’t have enough time left to complete your goal. So start early!
According to the American Psychological Association, perhaps nothing is more important than accountability when it comes to reaching our goals. And being accountable is especially effective when you’re answering to another person who you love, respect, and look up to. Share your goals with friends and family. If you’re a social media lover, post goals that you are comfortable sharing with that many people. Get an exercise buddy. Share with your spouse or significant other so you can lovingly keep each other on track. Talk to your friends over lunch about your successes and your struggles. Go over your goals with your counselor or therapist.
While it’s great to share our goals with others, don’t forget how powerful being accountable to yourself can be as well. Writing your resolutions down in a safe place where you will often see them (such as a journal, a sticky note on your mirror, etc.) will help you keep them in mind and avoid excuses.
Be Patient With Yourself
So you had a rough day at work and ended up sassing that co-worker that bugs you, which you’d decided not to do this year. Or Aunt Jan baked your absolute favorite pie in the whole wide world and you ate two big slices of it because it just tasted so good. Once the moment has passed, you’ll probably end up feeling somewhat shameful, which can put a serious damper on your goal-achieving enthusiasm. But remember: you’re only human. No one is perfect, and there’s not a single New Year’s Resolution (even one that gets confidently checked off the list at the end of the year) that’s accomplished without hiccups. You will make mistakes, and it will be okay – as long as you don’t let your shortcomings get you down!
It can be hard to match our expectations to reality, and it’s easy to be disappointed when we don’t see the improvement we would have liked to see. But if you make even the smallest gain by the end of the year, then that’s something to celebrate. Setting and achieving New Year’s Resolutions – and all goals – isn’t about perfection; it’s about progress! If you keep trying, persevering, and don’t give up in the face of mistakes and failure, you will see your character, self-esteem, and strength grow in 2018. And that alone will be worth toasting to!