I know, I know…some of you will tell me that you don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. There are usually 2 reasons that people give for not making NY resolutions. Either you don’t see the point of waiting until the new year to start on good habits OR because you never manage to keep them.
If you’re in the first group, kudos to you for being able to work on yourself throughout the year; that’s what we all should aspire to. This is exactly why I suggest everyone start thinking about your goals now.
Here are 4 tips that I find extremely helpful when setting and working towards my goals:
1. Be specific. Don’t just say that you want to learn a new language. Your goal should include as many specifics as possible. What language do you want to learn? Is the goal to learn to speak, to read, to write or all of the above? And how long do you have to complete your goal. By setting a specific goal that is tied to a particular time, you make it easier to hold yourself accountable and to know when you’re veering off track.
2. Set small steps to help you achieve a larger goal. Any large goal can be broken down into easier to handle parts that will increase your chances of following through. Many of us set goals to lose weight. But you need to go even further and decide how you are going to do that. You might choose to change your eating habits, to exercise more or to do both. Not only should you know how much weight you want to lose, and by when, but you should have daily goals for your nutrition and your exercise, and weekly or monthly weight loss goals. By breaking a big goal into small pieces it makes it less scary and also allows you to celebrate the smaller accomplishments as you work towards the final goal.
3. Prioritize. Pick two or three important things to work on. You don’t have to (and probably can’t) change everything in your life all at once. If you set a long list of goals you risk becoming too overwhelmed to follow through on any of them. Instead, make a list of all of the things that you would like to work on and then rank them in the order of importance. Pick the most important ones to take on this year, and put the list somewhere safe. Once you've accomplished the first few goals, you can always go back to your list!
4. Keep going. Just because the year is over doesn't mean you have to give up on the 2012 goals that you haven’t quite completed. Even if you didn't actually start on one, if it’s important to you and you've been wanting it for (at least) one year, it’s worth trying again. Use the other 3 tips and you can be sure to accomplish it, along with any other goals that you make for 2013.
Have you accomplished your 2012 goals yet? Will you set any for next year? If so, please share them in the comments. I’d love to see what your goals are as I work on my own!