When the New Year rolls around, it can sometimes seem like making resolutions has usurped baseball’s throne as the national pastime. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with this; the changing of the calendar can be a great mental reset, as well as the perfect opportunity to better yourself in a positive way. Unfortunately, most people go about this the wrong way: by forming resolutions instead of setting goals.
The problem with creating a list of New Year’s resolutions is that they are often a lofty, unreachable wish list of ways we only dream we could improve. An actionable goal, however, has feet. It can actually go places!
We’ve compiled several techniques that, when used in concert, can keep you from setting the same “resolutions” at the beginning of each year only to reset and reuse them again when next January rolls around. These practical implementation techniques are executable by anybody and can make sticking to your guns all year long completely doable.
First, create a list of all your big goal ideas. Choose a single concept to focus on instead of coming up with multiple complex ideas that compete for your attention. Make it count! Once you choose your goal, write it down, in concise detail, with an overall positive theme and tone. Keep it in a prominent place, such as taped to your bathroom mirror or stuck to your computer monitor at work, so that you’ll constantly be reviewing it and keeping it refreshed in your mind.
Unpack this written goal and form it into smaller, easily digested steps. Focus on the processes required to realize these phases, and you’ll soon discover that your goal is being accomplished. This is perhaps the most important step and may be the most difficult. Without breaking your goal down, you remain outcome-oriented, which doesn’t translate well to daily habits. Perfect the process!
You shouldn’t do this alone, either. In fact, recruiting a friend can do wonders for your accountability throughout the year, and you can help them succeed as well. Schedule regular check-in days, several times a month, to report your progress to each other. Even if it’s just a quick text or social media message, your encouragement to one another can make a huge difference when it comes to staying the course.
As you accomplish the individual steps to realizing your goal, don’t forget to reward yourself during the process, especially once you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. You’ll know best what motivates you, whether it’s a new pair of shoes or an extra fancy dinner with friends.
In the end, it’s important to realize that January 1st isn’t a magical day on a fresh calendar, destined to provide you with success in all areas of your life you deem deficient. Yes, it can provide an excellent opportunity to begin the year anew with admirable strivings toward betterment of oneself and the community. But real change only comes from proper mindset, consistent goal setting and habitual implementation. And those changes can start on any day of the year.