Four tips to help you stick to your New Year’s goals
People have been making New Year promises for around 4,000 years. There doesn’t seem to be a record of how successfully people kept their New Year promises through ancient times, but it appears their promises were focused on paying their debts and being kind to people. Not really the same as New Year promises here in the west where there’s so much focus on losing weight, better health, quitting smoking, etc. Maybe the kind of promises they made helped the tradition continue.
Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Most people who make them don’t stick them out. Often that’s because they were made without a plan. Be good to yourself and do the work to set yourself up for success.
First, clearly define your goals. Just like in a work environment, successfully reaching goals happens when the goals are defined and understood. Think about whether your goals are realistic and attainable within your environment or situation. Create some milestones to measure your success – not necessarily time-oriented milestones but ones based on mini-goals. For instance, in a broader goal of better health, you might make a milestone to reduce your consumption of junk food to only once per week. That milestone is achievable and gives you a sense of progress.
Track your progress. Don’t just let it slide away. Recording your milestones, and when you reach them, helps give you sense of momentum and acts as a reminder that you’ve had successes when those moments of discouragement rear their heads.
Be patient with yourself. Change of any kind is contrary to our human comfortable level. We prefer the familiar and are creatures of habit. If you struggle to stick with your plan, be kind to yourself and start again without judgement.
Finally, get away from any “all or nothing” thinking. It’s better to do something than nothing; every little step, every little change, every little milestone attained makes a difference.