Every year we set resolutions to achieve, and most of us are already done with them by the second week of January. Below, I have given you six tips to breakthrough your struggles and make your New Year’s Resolutions, or any goals you set, stick. These tips have worked for me personally, and will help you continue to set attainable goals in the future.
1) Write them down by hand first, put a pen or pencil to paper. Writing goals down by hand helps you to clarify thoughts, makes you spend more time crafting your objectives, and offers your mind a more physical and tactile process. Typing can become mindless and discourage the creativity that physical writing can provide.
2) Make them specific. General goals such as “I want to lose weight” offer no definite goal, but a precise amount by a particular date can help you plan accordingly to meet your objective. “Exercise more” sounds wonderful, but “exercising three days a week for 30 minutes per session with a combination of cardio and stretch” is far more doable, and gives you a true goal to reach for, not just a vague aspiration.
3) Make them realistic. Losing 50 pounds in two months isn’t going to happen unless you are on “My 600 lb Life” and being treated by a doctor while adhering to a seriously strenuous diet. Setting a goal of losing five pounds per month could definitely happen, and simple dietary changes along with exercise could see that number go beyond your monthly target. Getting a job in one month is most likely unrealistic, but looking at changing or obtaining a job in the next six months gives you purpose and pragmatism in a job search.
Likewise, don’t set too many goals that will overwhelm you and cause you to give up. Try setting one goal in each area of concern. For instance, set one goal for health, one for finances, one for relationships, and one for the workplace. Four goals are more than enough to pursue concurrently, but not so many they can’t be accomplished. Remember, once you have completed a goal, you can replace it with a new one.
4) Get an accountability partner. Don’t do it alone. Tell people about your objectives who will support you and encourage you to meet your goals. Let your supporters know your specific intentions to keep you accountable. Even better, find a buddy who has a similar goal and use the opportunity to collaborate and compete.
5) Keep the goals in front of you and track progress regularly. Putting them on paper and perhaps on computer is great, but then rarely or never looking at them and not tracking your progress will eliminate all chances of success. Post them on the refrigerator, next to your home computer, put them on your smartphone, but wherever you place them, make them constantly visible with definable results you can track.
6) Reward yourself for hitting a goal. Rewards don’t have to be costly. From an outing at a new museum or garden in the area (with free admission) that you have been meaning to visit, to a dinner at a new or special restaurant with a significant other or friend, or a new out outfit to celebrate a weight loss success, having a reward can make your goals more tangible. When you know there is an incentive on the other side of an objective, something you truly want, it can spur you on to achieve it to “win the prize.”
Whatever you do, don’t give up. Just because you didn’t fully accomplish a particular goal doesn’t make it a failure. If instead of losing 30 pounds over the next six months, you only lost 20, is that really a catastrophe? 20 pounds is still a great feat, and your health will benefit. Now set a new goal to lose the last 10 pounds. It is the constant chipping away at a goal that gets you to the finish line, not a sprint, but a marathon. Taking each goal in bite-sized chunks that can be realized, instead of viewing the end goal in its entirety, will ultimately mean victory.
Karen Silins is a multi-certified, award winning resume writer, career, business and personal branding coach working with individuals and small businesses. After graduating with degrees in education and vocal performance, she made her own career transition into the Human Resources realm. Karen left Human Resources to become an entrepreneur and help jobseekers and fellow entrepreneurs achieve their goals. She keeps current regarding trends in the resume writing, coaching, HR, small business and marketing industries by working daily with individual clients on resume development and career coaching, consulting for small businesses in business plan development, marketing, blogging, hiring and overall HR processes, and providing 30-70+ seminars and workshops annually to a variety of organizations in the greater Kansas City area. She can be reached via her website at www.careerandresume.com.