After ringing in a new year, our thoughts become occupied with how we can seize the opportunities that the year ahead may hold for us. Many people make resolutions, while others are skeptical of the tradition and how realistic it is to keep them. When I got to thinking about my own goals for the new year, I found that there were common threads that tied together all the resolutions I had ever actually kept.
1. Make realistic goals
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’ve never run a mile in your life, don’t vow to join the marathon a few months into 2014. Start small with a 5k and up the stakes from there if you feel inspired.
Also, I purposely use the word goals with myself because I feel “resolution” is such a daunting one. Resolutions sound like changes that require a complete overhaul in lifestyle, when for the most part people’s resolutions can really be categorised as goals.
2. Be accountable
My sister in law and her friends use a clever little technique for their goals which is to make them then document and share them within the circle of friends. Every few months the group checks in with each other to see how everyone is progressing. With this technique, you not only gain support but also feel a little bit more pressed to actually follow through.
3. Actually care about the goal
Don’t make resolutions for anyone except yourself. If your partner has been hounding you to lose weight, her intentions are most likely good, but if your heart isn’t in the battle it will take to shed those pounds then there is no way you’re actually going to put in the work. Choose goals that mean something to you and that you would actually want to invest time and effort for.
4. Schedule milestones
Most of us scramble to reach our goals somewhere in the tail end of the year, because this pesky little thing called “Life” got in the way. To keep on track with your goals, schedule milestones throughout the year and hold yourself to them. If you want to learn to play guitar, make sure you’ve hired a teacher by February, learned a full song by April, and maybe even played in front of people by June!
5. Have fun!
The reason I backed out of a lot of my year goals is because they felt like chores. While goals like quitting smoking don’t seem like much fun, there is always a way to spice things up and enjoy the process. Celebrate your first month of no cigarettes with an indulgent purchase, your 6 month mark with a fancy dinner, and by the end of a year you can throw a big bash to reward yourself for the amazing effort!
What are your goals for 2014 and how are you planning to stay on track? Share your thoughts with us!