Most people who set New Year’s resolutions don’t reach their goals.
Many people give up on their resolutions because the goals they set are either unrealistic or vague, or they set too many to be able to focus on one.
Losing 20 pounds in a month is unhealthy, going from no exercise to exercising for three days every week or immediately sticking to a budget perfectly aren’t the goals that will get you in shape or out of debt.
Before creating a plan and telling people, though, the most important step is picking a goal that you really want to accomplish and that you are ready to make. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for failure.
Pick one thing, set smaller goals along the way
If your goal is to lose 50 pounds in a year, set a goal to lose a pound or two a week. From there, make small changes to your diet and exercise routines. Changes that you know you can do.
Make those steps doable, and celebrate your accomplishments, however small they may seem. It also helps to write your plan down once you’ve made it.
Writing goals down is a good way to measure your progress and will require you to articulate more clearly what you actually want to accomplish.
Having that clearly articulated goal will make feeling successful that much easier.
Don’t worry about slipping up
If you’ve gone all week without a cigarette and then light up after a stressful day at work, don’t give up on your resolution. It takes time to learn to break the habit of smoking, binge-eating or staying up too late, just as it takes time to create a habit of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising every day or studying for a class.
Enlist other people
Find a workout buddy, somebody else who wants to have an early morning walk instead of an early morning smoke, an online group with whom you can exchange healthy recipes, a friend who also wants to save money or someone else who can go on the journey with you and encourage you, both when you’re doing well and when you slip up.
Even if you don’t have someone making the same resolution, let the people around you know about your goals so they can help hold you accountable, give you feedback and congratulate you.