You may have noticed that the majority of people lose steam with their resolutions for the New Year. About 80% of Americans fail in these goals by the second week of February. There’s no bottled motivation to buy but here are some ideas that can bolster you in making the changes you want to make really stick.
1. Set specific smaller goals toward the bigger goal. If your goal is to save money for a vacation, break that down. How much do you want to save a week? A month? What is the final deadline you are giving yourself to save the total amount? By focusing on the smaller goals, you give yourself accomplishments to achieve along the way, and that increases confidence in your abilities.
2. As far as building habits, you’re more likely to be successful if you tie it to a habit you’ve already created. Adding in a couple of stretches while your coffee brews or the shower heats up means you’re more likely to remember to stretch. You’re also more likely to be successful if you start small. A few minutes of stretching is much harder to talk yourself out of then going to a 90 minute yoga class.
3. Consider your timing. Science has shown us that humans have more willpower and motivation earlier in the day. So incorporating goals first thing in the morning gives you an advantage you won’t have at the end of the day when you’re running out of energy and motivation. A closely related issue, schedule in your goal just as you would schedule anything else in your calendar. If you already have time set aside, then you don’t need to carve that out anymore.
4. Give yourself a little wiggle room. Life throws us curveballs and our goals need to be flexible enough to accommodate that so we don’t give up too quickly. For example, let’s take a classic New Year’s resolution of getting into a workout routine. If the goal is to exercise 5 days a week but for some reason, you can only fit in 4 one week, remind yourself that you are still much closer to achieving that goal than not achieving it. A person who maintains a 4 or 5 day a week exercise program is ultimately better off than someone who exercises every day in January but then misses a day in February and stops exercising altogether for several weeks.
5. Consider themes for the year. Would you like to focus on family? Peace? Adventure? What do you want more of? What would you like to let go of? This way of approaching goal setting can help you create meaningful goals and the more invested you are, the more likely you are to stick with them when it gets difficult.
6. Rather than goals framed around changing yourself, consider framing it as a bucket list for the coming year. Is there a certain concert you’ve always wanted to see? Some hike you’ve always wanted to do? Take a long weekend for self-care once a month? Go for a drive to see the fall colors? Create a list and hang it up somewhere you’ll see it. As you reach them, cross them off and any that are left at the end of 2022 can be put on your list for next year!