It's a new year, and so much is possible. You can be a whole different person by the end of this year, and it's all up to you. But, as we all know, setting New Year's goals is the easy part. It's actually following through that's the challenge.
Here are some tips on setting a goal that you'll actually keep!
Big dreams are the most inspiring. What motivates people is almost always big dreams, like building a bikini body, buying your first house, or going for a degree. These dreams can also present a big challenge, but this is okay! What will get you up in the morning is that transformation you’re looking for, and the more drastic, the more rewarding it will be once you achieve it!
Then think small.
The crucial next step is to translate your dream into achievable, tangible steps, and the smaller the better. The biggest mistake people make when crafting resolutions is making their steps too big. Small steps make your big dream feel achievable. People have changed the world in small baby steps, and without making your own steps, you will be stuck with a big dream but no plan to get there.
Think about who you’re doing it for.
Who are you exercising for, getting your degree for, quitting smoking for? Your spouse? Your children? Your parents? Yourself? Thinking about your inspiration for setting this goal is important, as you will need to go back to it when you’re most challenged.
Look yourself in the mirror and say out loud to yourself that you will do the work to reach this goal. Write a promise down to yourself and sign your name. Specify who the goal is for. Tape it to your mirror so that you are constantly reminded how much you want it.
Document your journey.
Your success rate increases substantially when you write your dream and small steps down. This way, you can see it clearly planned out and you can check off the steps as you go. Writing things down is also a great way to motivate yourself. You can write in your journal or diary about how you felt about each step and how accomplished you felt afterward.
Learn the art of reward.
Here’s a secret: if you don’t reward yourself for the little steps you make and only reward yourself once you reach the big dream, you’re going to give up very early. If you’re training for a marathon, you must reward yourself for the 20 minutes you spent walking on your first day. If you’re applying to jobs, set a daily time slot for applying and cold calling, and then reward yourself. How you reward yourself doesn’t matter, as long as it’s healthy and doesn’t impede your goal. If you’re trying to lose weight, for instance, maybe eating an ice cream sundae after every workout is counterproductive. But if you push yourself extra hard one day and perform better than you ever have in your workout, maybe a sundae is what you need.
Have compassion for yourself.
The first few steps you make to your goal may feel embarrassing, foolish, or insurmountable. Adding negative self-talk will only make it harder for you. And, you don’t deserve it! Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake or don’t follow the plan like you’d hoped. This doesn’t mean your dream isn’t meant to be. And think about how great your success will feel when it’s all over!
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