As we gladly leave 2020 behind and leap into the fresh start of 2021 let’s set ourselves up for success! New Year resolutions can get a bad rap and be met with a high failure rate. But, when they are created appropriately, we can use the extra excitement and energy of the New Year launch us towards our goals.
I have found these seven steps to be instrumental in achieving my goals.
1. Think about the bigger picture. I ask myself, “What do I want to add to my life? Is there something I am working to accomplish?” I find it helpful to write a bunch of things down without pausing. I get as crazy as I want. It doesn’t matter if I think it is possible here. I just keep writing. After a few minutes I stop and read back over what I wrote. I cross lines out, add words, make tweaks as needed, and pick no more than three priorities/goals. Any more than that and they can’t be priorities. If my goal(s) scares me a little and excite(s) me a lot, I know I’ve found the winner(s)! It pushes me outside my comfort zone and challenges me to grow as a person.
2. Know your WHY! When we know why our goal is important to us it becomes so much easier to achieve. It almost feels like we are being pulled towards it. When we think about why our longer term goal is important to us, we have to dig in and keep asking why. It may take seven whys before we really find the driving force of our goal. It can be helpful to think about what will happen when we achieve that long term goal, how we will feel, what will be added to our life, and what will happen if we don’t make any changes?
3. Figure out the small steps. The big goal may be a little scary or overwhelming, but when we break it down to small manageable habits it becomes so much easier. Choose one habit to work on at a time and build on it. Maybe it’s eating a veggie with dinner. It could be to drink more water. Or, maybe it’s walking for 5 minutes a day. Start with small doable actions. A great first step is setting our environment up for success. Does the kitchen need to be cleaned or organized? Does food need to be purchased? Do we need to lay our workout clothes out the night before? Make completing the habit as easy as possible,
4. Review goals daily. Have the bigger picture goal and current habit in a planner, on the bathroom mirror, and/or some place it will be seen on a regular basis. Too often we set a goal and forget about it. We have the intention to work towards it, but life happens and things come up. It can be easy to let our goal take the back burner. By revisiting it daily it will stay at the forefront of the mind and allow for a quick check in.
5. Tell a friend, grab an accountability partner, or join a like-minded community. We are more likely to succeed when we surround ourselves with people who already do (or have done) what we are trying to do. If a community can’t be joined, find a friend with the same goal and support one another.
6. Don’t expect perfection. There will be bumps in the road. It’s important to give ourselves grace and know that our next choice can get us back on track. It may be helpful to create a plan to get back on track now to use when we do have those bumps in the road.
7. Celebrate small wins! When we acknowledge and give ourselves credit for all our small accomplishments it helps to keep the momentum and motivation going! It’s not just about the destination. It’s important to enjoy the journey!
Cheers to a happy, healthy, and successful 2021!