Jan. 1 is a day that comes and goes with each passing year. Along with it, people make New Year’s resolutions that change as quickly as the date.
Sticking to a goal for 365 days can be a struggle when life constantly throws “more important” tasks in the way, but “falling off the horse” never means you can’t get back on.
Here are a few tips to help stay on track and continue in the race toward your goals.
- Always plan ahead
By this point, you have probably started working towards your goal, even if it was only on Jan. 2. You have also probably figured out what distracts you and what methods don’t work for you. By planning ahead you can eliminate some of the guess work in your journey; you will know exactly where you are headed and what you are doing each day from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. If you plan ahead, you can also make room in your schedule for whatever your goal may be; if it is to exercise more, you can schedule in time to go to the gym. If it is to eat healthier, you can schedule time to eat smaller meals throughout the day. If it is to read more, you can schedule periods of time to read.
2. Talk about it
Talking about your goals with someone else makes them more concrete than just thinking about them. If you talk to a friend, significant other or parent about what your goals are, you are confirming your goals to yourself while also creating an accountability system. These people can help remind you when you forget your goals and help you discuss what is realistic for you and what isn’t.
3. Create a reward system
In history, rewards have frequently been used to promote “good” behavior, or in this case to promote the behavior you want to see in yourself. Like child potty training or showing good behavior in school, you can give yourself rewards after reaching certain mini goals to help motivate yourself to continue. This doesn’t mean contradict your success by eating a box of chocolate if your goal is to eat healthier. This means finding small rewards that are outside of your New Year’s resolution, such as buying a new outfit or watching an extra episode on Netflix.
4. Recommit yourself for 24 hours at a time
If you are struggling to stick with your goal and neither planning nor your support system are helping, try telling yourself, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this today and see what happens tomorrow.’ If you can essentially restart each day, those days will start to build on each other until eventually, they become normal. Sometimes looking at the long-term can seem daunting and overwhelming, so breaking a goal down day by day, can make it seem more achievable.
5. Start out small
If your goal is to eat healthier, you are probably not going to eliminate all unwanted food groups on the first day. If you want to start going to the gym more often, you are probably not going to spend 24 hours in a gym lifting weights and working out when you first start. If you want to read more, you are probably not going to sit down and read an entire book in a night. So start out small. Eat a salad for lunch and drink extra water, walk outside around the building during your lunch break or read one or two news articles on your phone or computer. By starting out simple, you have plenty of room to grow and plenty of room to reward yourself. You can work your way up to meal planning every Sunday, spending two hours at the gym each day and reading 100 pages of a novel every day.