New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation as being about as permanent as dandelion petals in the wind. Still, there is something completely inviting and alluring about the ability to “start fresh” each year, and for that reason, I see nothing wrong with setting personal goals at the beginning of the year. With that in mind, here are a few tips on ways to better organize your goals and keep them in an attainable range:
1. Categorize and specify your goals. What is it that you’d like to see happen in your life this year: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, professionally, and so on? Make your goals specific in various areas. Instead of, “I’d like to be a better person,” list out specific ways you’d like to improve, such as: “I’d like to become a better mom by spending more time doing creative things with my kids.” You’ll find your goals are more achievable when they have a specific and definitive appearance.
2. Break your goals down into steps. It may not be immediately achievable for you to lose 50 pounds or write a full novel, and you may find yourself becoming discouraged if you don’t see those goals getting any closer than when you first started. The solution? Break them down. Instead of, “I want to lose 50 pounds this year,” try, “I want to lose 10 pounds by March.” Instead of “I want to write a novel this year,” try, “I want to write 5 chapters by summer.” Reaching smaller goals will encourage you, because they are easier to achieve, and you will find that the larger, overall goal is closer than you thought.
3. Don’t give up when you hit a roadblock. You’re going to mess up, slip up, and want to give up. Don’t. If you anticipate, plan for, and even expect set backs, you won’t be as disheartened when you encounter them. Instead, you’ll take them for what they are – temporary set backs that are a totally normal part of reaching any goal – and move on from there. Don’t let your set backs get you off the path you have set out for. They’re simply detours that you can and will overcome.
Now, go do it! Start on your goals and continue on. When you reach one, pause, celebrate, and then make a new goal. Today is the first day of the beginning of a new you, and all it takes is that first step to start. Step out! You can do it!