Another year is upon us and if you’re like many people, you’ve probably thought about some goals you’d like to accomplish in 2022. But, while many people often take the time to create resolutions, the majority of people end up dropping their goals, often before the month of January is even over.
So, how do you make a resolution stick? Whether you’re trying to lose weight, training for a marathon, or taking charge of your health, here are 8 ways you can set yourself up to succeed.
IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS – AND BE SPECIFIC.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not setting clear and specific goals for themselves. Unless you’ve defined exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, you won’t even know where to begin. Say your goal is to lose weight. That’s a good start, but how much do you want to lose? In what time period? Being more specific in your goals helps to frame them in a way that leaves no ambiguity with what you are trying to do. And it makes planning for them a lot easier since you have a clear end goal in sight.
It’s also important to make sure your goals are realistic. It’s great to shoot for the moon, but if you make a goal that is far out of your reach, you may be setting yourself up for failure and discouragement, which could cause you to forgo your goal altogether.
LEARN FROM WHAT HASN’T WORKED (AND DOUBLE DOWN ON WHAT HAS).
Before you start to plan for how you will achieve your goal, take a moment to think about methods you’ve tried in the past that haven’t worked, and the ones that have. For instance, if you’ve tried every diet in the book and nothing has worked to help you lose weight, it might not be the best idea to try that new fad diet everyone is raving about. If you know that group classes are more motivating for you than trying to wing it at home, it’s probably a good idea to join a gym or a workout program. Be realistic with yourself and really think about the things that you’ve done that have failed (for whatever reason) and avoid making them a part of your plan.
Many people also often see success by piggybacking on a habit that they already have. For instance, maybe you always walk your dog for 30 minutes in the morning, and your goal is to get into running. Since you’re already out walking your dog, and it’s a well-formed habit, why not try to incorporate your goal here. Add 5 minutes of running every week until you’re able to run the entire 30 minutes. Piling goals onto things you already have in place gives you a bit of a head start and makes it the goal easier to accomplish.
CREATE A PLAN.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Without a plan, goals are just wishes that you’ll never achieve. Think about your specific goal, and break it apart into mini-goals to help you develop a step-by-step plan for getting there.
Let’s look at our weight loss example above. Maybe your goal is to lose 20 pounds by June 1. You can break that down to 4 pounds per month, or a pound per week. How do you plan to get there? You may plan to exercise more, eat healthier foods, or even join a program like Weight Watchers. Perhaps you’ll plan to track your calorie intake to make sure you’re burning off more than you’re eating.
If nothing else from this list sticks, planning should be one of the most important things you do if you want to achieve your goals.
SET UP WAYS TO MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS.
You won’t know how well you’re doing if you don’t track your progress. Again, this goes back to setting specific goals – you want to make sure the goals you set are measurable so that you can see how you’re doing along the way. In our example above, perhaps you’ll plan to weigh yourself at a specific time each week. Maybe you’ll use a smartwatch to track your activity, or a food log or diary to make sure you know everything you’re consuming. Find ways to measure your progress over time.
FIND A CONFIDANT.
There’s nothing like telling someone that you’re going to do something to really make you do it. If nothing else, telling someone else about your goal makes it real. And if the person you tell is a really good friend, they’ll also hold you accountable and check in on you from time to time to see how you’re progressing. A confidant can also be a great person to vent to when challenges occur, or someone to share in your success when you reach your milestones.
MAKE IT EASIER ON YOURSELF.
There’s nothing like saying you’re going on a diet and then having your house filled with chocolate cake and cookies. Make it easier to accomplish your goal by making small changes in your environment. Planning to work out every morning when you wake up? Put your bedclothes on the dresser next to you. Want to avoid snacking on unhealthy items? Do some food prep for the week so you always have healthy snacks at the ready. By planning ahead for your future self, you can make it easy to follow the roadmap you’ve laid out for yourself and avoid the pitfalls.
BE PATIENT, AND PERSISTENT.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s the same with goals. We often see people who have achieved something great but don’t realize that the daily steps and decisions it took to get there are often tedious, difficult, or even boring at times. Reaching a goal takes patience and persistence, every day. There will be times when you get discouraged. Times when you feel like maybe it’s not worth it to continue with your goal, but keep going. If you can push yourself past these road bumps, your success will be that much sweeter in the end.
CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES.
Be sure to work some rewards into your planning. Celebrating your small victories is a great motivator and can help you keep going. Maybe you’ll promise yourself that if you lay off the sweets all week you’ll reward yourself with a new lipstick. Or, if you get to the gym at least 4 times during the week you’ll go out for dinner at the weekend. Even small rewards can do the trick. Many people find that wearable fitness trackers are great motivators. Not only can you see your progress, but you can often set mini-goals for yourself and the tracker will notify you when you reach them.
So, what goals will you be setting in 2022? Share them with us in the comments below!