“New Year, New You!” I’ve seen that phrase so many times already, and it makes me cringe every time. I don’t think it is inherently bad to use the new year as a jumping off point for self improvement, it’s just that it rarely seems to stick. And what’s worse is that people, myself included, will wait for months to start something new on January 1st, but then when they fall off the wagon in three months, they think they need to wait another 9 months before trying again.
I’m a huge fan of goals though. Without goals, there is rarely any progress. But really going after your goals takes more than just picking some arbitrary end point and deciding, hey, that’s going to be my goal. If you really want to succeed with your goal, it requires hard work, and lots of planning. It’s usually the un-fun stuff that is the most effective. Here are some tips to start you off on the right path to pursuing your big goals this year.
- Make them SPECIFIC
- How will you ever know that you’ve achieved your goal if you aren’t specific? Instead of saying, I want to lose weight, say I want to lose 30 lbs by June 1st.
- Celebrate the wins
- When you set a specific goal, you can measure your progress. Never underestimate the power of momentum. When you celebrate your progress, it helps you to really see your momentum and encourages you to keep going.
- Break them down
- Especially when you are setting BIG goals, it helps to break them down into bite sized pieces. This can also help you build momentum, and keep your from feeling like you are failing 3 months in. For example, I want to read 25 books this year. That may not seem like much to an avid reader, but for me, that is HUGE. But instead of getting to June and realizing I still have 22 books to read, I am setting smaller goals to read 2 books per month. Then I’ll only need to sneak in one extra book this year and I’ll make my goal.
- Put it out into the world
- Encouragement goes a long way, so make sure you share your goals with others. This can also help because sometimes others can give you an outside perspective, or new suggestions for how you can reach your goal.
- Be realistic
- Don’t underestimate yourself, but don’t overestimate either. I was inspired by Jon Acuff’s goal in 2017 to read 100 books. But I know full well that I could NEVER read 100 books, unless I was counting my son’s picture books. I also have different standards for the types of books I am reading though. There are certain books that I wouldn’t want to read just to check off another book read. Everyone is different, and I don’t feel the need to choose 100 books just because he did. I want books that are going to benefit me personally, so I set my sights on a number that is much more reasonable for me.
- Believe in yourself
- If you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t. Simple as that.
I’m so excited to see what this new year has in store for us, and I hope you are too. Don’t forget to share your personal goals in the comments below! I’d love to encourage you!