If you’re nodding in agreement - fear not - you are definitely not alone.
According to a research done by University of Scranton in 2014, amongst the many Americans who have set New Year resolutions, a mere 8% felt they’ve succeeded by the end of the year. Knowing this statistic alone may lead you to believe that setting resolutions is just a way of paving a pathway to an inevitable disappointment.
With the odds stacked against you, it’s crucial to have strategies and tools in place to ensure that you stay the course even when the going gets tough. Here are 5 useful tips that can help you to achieve your goals in the new year and beyond:
1. Make Yourself a Priority
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Are you looking to kick a bad habit to the curb once and for all? Whether you’ve vowed to quit smoking or to stop procrastinating, remember that “Old habits die hard”. Anyone who has tried kicking bad habits and/or developing new ones take an immense amount of discipline and willpower. Hence it’s crucial that you decide that you are 100% willing and committed to the change.
In order to do so, you must make sure that you are making this life change for no one else but yourself. Make yourself a priority and honor your goals – don’t let them be pushed to the backburner. Truly commit the time and effort you require to leave the bad habits behind – you deserve it!
2. Set No More Than 5 Goals at a Time
Unless your goals interrelate to each other such as becoming healthier, losing weight and getting fitter, it’s crucial to set yourself a maximum of 5 resolutions to accomplish for the year. Following through with one goal is difficult enough, so if you set yourself many goals at once, you will likely to instantly feel overwhelmed and find yourself throwing your hands up in the air in defeat before you even begin!
It’s also important to make your goals as specific as possible. Also, be sure to create a plan as to how you would be able to measure your progress throughout the year. If your goal is to lose 25 lbs within a year, set yourself a workout and dietary plan you can follow on a daily basis. More importantly, you need to track your progress. So, jot down where you’re at on a monthly basis. If you’re not on track, evaluate and alter your efforts accordingly.
That said, remember that though discipline is crucial when cultivating a new and healthier lifestyle, allow yourself room for flexibility. By doing so, you won’t feel as if you are being deprived and end up having your efforts backfire and increasing your chance of giving up on your goal.
3. Visualize Yourself Achieving Your Goals
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In order to truly believe that you have what it takes to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, you must be able to have a clear and specific picture of what success looks and feels like for you.
Envision yourself having achieved your goals by the end of the year and make sure to do that on a regular basis. Make the vision as detailed as possible – visualize as to how you and your life would improve as a result of achieving your goals. For example, if you’re looking to becoming a professional martial artist in 12 months time, imagine yourself winning competitions and achieving all the qualifications needed to get there. By having a vivid and clear vision of how achieving the goals will positively impact your life, you are more likely to feel excited and enthusiastic about doing whatever it takes to make that vision a reality!
4. Break Down Your Goals to Smaller Steps
Most people fail to achieve their resolutions because after facing a few hurdles, they conclude that their goals as too big, too complicated and too difficult to accomplish. As a result, we end up convincing ourselves that the effort needed to achieve them is simply not worth it.
To increase your likelihood of achieving what seemingly to be an impossible goal, chunk it down to actionable steps and take it one day at a time. Remind yourself that the small efforts that you put in every day will ultimately lead you to your end goal.
Todd Herman, the founder of The Peak Athlete, a peak performance coaching and research company that caters to some of the world’s best athletes and leading executives, refers to these small steps as trigger goals which are essentially the actions that we need to take in order to accomplish the ultimate goals. Say you’d like to start a new exercise regimen of hitting the gym 4 times a week, an example of a trigger goal could be making a promise to change into your workout gear 4 times a week. Once you have your workout clothes on, you’ll find that you are much more likely to follow through with your ‘larger’ goal of hitting the gym.
5. Get an Accountability Buddy
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Research shows that the third Monday of January (Blue Monday), most people has already given up their resolutions. Getting an accountability partner may just stop this from happening to you. Additionally, having someone who is working on similar resolution(s), to cheer you on as you’re working on your goals, not only make working towards your goal easier but also much more fun!
That said, it’s important to select a partner that you can trust and be open with because you may need him or her to be a shoulder to lean on whenever you feel defeated. Your accountability buddy should also be someone you can celebrate your “little wins” with. Whether it’s celebrating small milestones towards your ultimate goal or succeeding in getting yourself back on the bandwagon after a setback, giving yourself props for your hard work and efforts is key to get yourself to the finish line successfully.
Keep in mind that in your efforts to attain your goals, you’ll inevitably stumble and fall from time to time. Cut yourself some slack and know that you always have the choice of dusting yourself off and getting back on track. Keep believing that you have what it takes within you to overcome any obstacle that comes your way – because you do! Here’s to a better and a more awesome you in 2017!
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