A new year brings excitement and a feeling of starting over, the perfect conditions to set big goals. If you're like many people, New Year's resolutions are exciting in January but forgotten by April. By changing your approach, you can choose powerful resolutions and take the right steps to achieve them.
Choose Manageable and Motivating Goals
The most important step in keeping your New Year's resolutions is to choose motivating goals that you can actually accomplish. Make a resolution that's specific, doable, and limited to a particular timeframe. If you're a new graduate making $25,000 per year, it's probably unreasonable to resolve to make $100,000 in 12 months. Instead, make goals that move you in the right direction. Resolve to apply for two higher-paying jobs each month, take on one new task each week at work to boost your chances of a promotion, or attend one mastermind meeting a month to help you start a business.
It's also helpful to attach a strong emotional focus and genuine desire to your New Year's resolutions; instead of simply making extra money, for example, you might resolve to increase your salary to save for a down payment, take a dream vacation or retire early. When your goals are both exciting and within the realm of possibility, you're less likely to abandon them before February.
Make a Plan
A plan is a crucial part of achieving big goals. After all, even the most exciting and motivating New Year's resolutions can quickly fall by the wayside if you don't know how to approach them. Invest some time up front to create a detailed plan of action with milestones for each month and mini-goals for each week. Put each step into your calendar so you can't miss it, and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing off each item as it comes. This process has several benefits: it forces you to think through each small step, prevents feelings of being overwhelmed and helps you take action immediately. Losing 25 pounds might feel impossible, but picking a gym, doing a 20-minute YouTube workout or buying new exercise shoes are all things you can do right away.
Keep your New Year's resolutions in perspective by reassessing them regularly. On the first of each month, review your progress. What worked? What didn't work? What did you learn? Use that information to adjust the upcoming month's goals. Don't be afraid to scale back. If exercising five days a week put a strain on your personal life, aim for three or four days. If the plan you made in January isn't realistic, change it so it fits into your life and practical constraints. In doing so, you can ease mental stress, which can result in you quitting a too-ambitious resolution, and continue to make progress toward a goal.
Achieving New Year's resolutions is no small task. With a measured, realistic approach, you can overcome mental and practical hurdles and find success by December.
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