The end of every year, and beginning of the New Year is a time to reflect on the year that has past, and look forward with enthusiasm to a new year. The New Year is a fresh start, a new beginning, and for many, a time to set new goals, break bad habits, try new things, and make life a little bit better than it was the year before.
We all make New Years Resolutions at some point or another. Perhaps, we make them every year and succeed, or maybe we have stopped making them because they just don’t turn out.
The thought of making New Years Resolutions is great in theory. I will “__________” on January 1st, 2014. But is it really that easy? Make a decision and stick it out on a date of your choosing. Um, if you are like most people, New Years Resolutions are easier said than done.
Yet on the flip side of that coin, we all know people that have done it. They set goals and achieve them exactly when they set out to do it. What is their secret? Are they just annoyingly perfect? Super-human?
Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, we can all agree that change is a part of life, and an important one at that, so why not keep striving to make life even just the tiniest bit better in 2014?
We have put together a list of 11 tips that can help you achieve your goals. Whether you believe in New Years Resolutions or not, whether you choose to start achieving your goals today, tomorrow, or on January 1st. Use these tips to get started on creating the life you want. You deserve it.
- Set goals that you genuinely want to achieve. Setting goals is about you, and what you want for yourself. Avoid setting goals, or making resolutions, that you “should” want, or what other people want you to do. You are going to be doing the work, your goals should be about you and what you really want. This will increase your chance to obtaining your goal, and give you the motivation to keep going when things get rough.
- Be specific and realistic about the goals you want to achieve. We all want world peace, but is it something you can achieve on your own, in one year? As they say, Rome was not built in a day. It took centuries to build. Start with small goals that will get you to larger ones. Being specific and realistic about the goals you want to achieve will allow you to measure success one step at a time, rather than creating unrealistic goals that are extremely difficult, if not impossible to achieve. The more unrealistic the goal, the less likely you are to achieve it, which will cause disappointment.
- Avoid choosing a goal or resolution that you have been unsuccessful at achieving year-after-year, unless you change the way you approach achieving the goal. Choosing a goal that you have not been able to achieve endlessly will produce the same results, setting you up for failure and disappointment. Commit to taking smaller steps to achieve your goal, rather than jumping right in the same way you have tried numerous times before.
- Limit your list of goals to a number that you can actually achieve in a year. Making a list of ten items you want to achieve will take your focus away from goals you can achieve immediately. Focusing on one to three goals that are achievable will produce attainable results.
- Break large goals down into little piece, and accomplish them step-by-step. Rather than focusing on a goal that seems intimidating or overwhelming, break it down into manageable pieces. Set several smaller goals throughout the year, that will get you to the end goal. Then even if you aren’t able to reach your final goal, you will have many smaller, but still significant, achievements along the way.
- Make an action plan. You have a goal that you want to achieve, spend time mapping out how you are going to get there, step-by-step.
- Be prepared to change your habits. One reason that resolutions fail is that people don’t change the habits that prevent them from achieving their goal. Swap “bad” habits with “good” habits, that are incompatible with the one you want to change. Each time you stop “bad” behavior, you will gain confidence in your ability to change.
- Write down your goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they keep your mind set on the end goal. Writing your goal down and putting it in a place you can see it, will remind you of what you are achieving, and why it is important to you.
- Share your goal with friends and family that can support you. Having people to share information with, hold you accountable, and motivate you to keep going will give you the strength to keep going when things get difficult. It will also give you a group of people who can help you celebrate when you achieve your goal.
- Measure your success and celebrate milestones. Record and celebrate as you achieve steps toward your goal. Celebrating is a way of congratulating yourself. It will motivate you to keep going.
- Forgive yourself when you slip up, and do better next time. Slipping up is part of the process. It is more important to start over immediately, when you slip up, than feel guilty about making a mistake, which may lead you to quit achieving your goal altogether.