There are some of us who are very motivated at the beginning of the new year to set, and try to achieve, some inspiring resolutions…and then there are those of us who don’t even remember what their resolution was last year. Regardless of the camp that you are in, there is a high likelihood that you have not always been successful at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. This isn’t something to feel bad about, as statistics show that about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and only about 8% are actually successful in achieving those resolutions. That being said, if you are really intent on being successful with your resolution this year, these are some of the things to keep in mind in order to effectively plan and stick to your goals.
Use the SMART system
When setting any goals, it’s important to make sure that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). When your goals are too vague, there is no way to really measure if you have achieved these goals or to monitor any progress. Making sure that your goals adhere to the above system will help you fine-tune these goals into something that you can actually achieve.
Creating lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. Especially when it comes to long-term goals like losing weight, improving your health, or getting ahead in your career; you won’t always see results right away, or will come to a point when you plateau or stagnate. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up. Accept that this is part of the natural course of things and stay motivated to keep moving forward. Persistence is one of the biggest keys to succeeding at any life goal.
Have a social support network
Sharing your goals with others to keep you accountable can help keep you motivated and on track. This can be an exercise buddy, a friend who is merely supposed to check in on your progress, or an entire online support network on social media or in the blogosphere. In fact, as journalist Jane Merrick mentions in a recent article for the Independent, writing words down in public is one of the best motivators to stick to it. Of course, we can’t all post our New Year’s resolutions in a newspaper like Merrick, but we can post them on social media accounts or, with the right tools and services, can even start a blog to keep people updated on our progress. As people read these stories we are aware that we have an audience that is watching to see if we will fail or succeed; that gives an added motivational push to keep going because our failure won’t go unnoticed. Moreover, this social network can often be supportive and keep us motivated through shared encouragement, such as positive responses on blog posts or enthusiastic likes on Facebook.
Make time and stick to a schedule
We often have the excuse that we simply can’t “find the time” to do something, but no one actually finds time, you make time. We all have the exact same 24 hours in a day, and what we do with that time is indeed a choice. It all comes down to discipline and priorities. If you are able to actually schedule your goal into your calendar, specifically setting aside time for it, you are more likely to achieve it.
Get up, don’t give up
Many of us tend to slip when it comes to forming new habits. That’s called being human. But slipping up doesn’t mean giving up. A small set-back is nothing earth-shattering. When you do slip, you simply need to re-focus, re-prioritize and get back up. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again.