Skip resolutions, focus on life goals
What if resolutions actually worked? What if they didn’t fade after a couple of months? Now that we are into February, perhaps those resolutions you were excited about last month have lost some momentum? It’s not too late to re-energize them, and it’s well worth taking a fresh approach. Can you imagine the things you could do and the change that could happen in your world and the world at large? We believe resolutions can have more lasting power if you reframe them as life goals. Let’s look at five ways to make those resolutions last well into 2017, if not a couple calendar year turns.
Write down your (detailed) plan
Use your imagination! Start by envisioning what it will be like when you’ve accomplished this goal. How will you feel? How will your life change? Be as specific as possible. Imagine what your day is like, what you’re wearing, the conversations you have with family and friends now that you’ve succeeded. Keeping a vision of what your success looks like will get you excited about getting there and making that success a reality.
Channel your inner third grader and pull out your calendar, pens, pencils and highlighters (we actually just love office supplies – one pen is probably fine.) Give yourself a due date and start sketching out a rough timeline to make it happen. Just by writing your goals down, you are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Finally, keep that big vision in mind so the everyday tasks don’t get overwhelming. Reading over your big goal every morning and each night before you go to sleep will help. Try writing your dream on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker or keep it in your wallet. It’s a great way to wake up and a fun surprise to see when you’re paying for lunch!
Your AP is your new BFF
According to a study done by the The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), having an accountability partner can actually increase your success rate by 85%.
Look for an accountability partner who has a similar interest or goal. You can keep each other on the path toward success and problem solve together when you hit a roadblock.
Scheduling a weekly check-in with your partner is like having a 5 a.m. running buddy — you are both motivated to get up and slide into those running shoes because the other person is counting on you. Sometimes all it takes to get moving on a goal is knowing that someone else is going to ask you about it. Find a partner who will help you stick to your new habit, get them on your speed dial, and start getting sh*t done!
Reflect on past success
Remember a time in your past when you accomplished something great — maybe a big work or school project. Pehaps you completed your first marathon or started journaling again. What motivated you? How did you overcome obstacles? What kept you going? How did you feel after accomplishing this project?
Write down these reflections and think about what you’ll need to put in to place to recreate that success. Tactics like blocking out a specific time to work on your goal each day, or rewarding yourself with a treat after accomplishing a couple of to-do’s are a good start. Whatever structure you need, put it into place for yourself.
Find your community
Finding community around your goal is a major motivator and will give you built-in encouragement all year long. If walking into a room full of people you don’t know makes you want to run all the way back to 2016, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to find community in small groups. Ask a couple of like-minded friends out for lunch and talk about what goals they have for the new year.
Consider stepping out into the wide open air and join a community circle or sign up for a class on a topic that you’ve been thinking about or want to try. Facebook groups, Slack channels and online forums like Reddit are other places to find community around specific topics and interests (or just really funny memes, which are good too). If you don’t see a group out there you want, create your own!
Take (any) step
Truth talk: if you are making a list of reasons NOT to get started in your head right now, it’s likely that your goal isn’t actually that important to you. Check in with yourself. What is important to you? Even if it feels silly, or makes you scared, don’t let that stop you. Get out of your head and take the first step! It’s kind of like taking that leap out of the plane at 10,000 ft with a person and a parachute strapped to you and trusting that something great is going to happen. It will! Seriously, don’t be afraid to start right now.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind
All that said, after you’ve taken steps toward your goal, don’t be afraid to change your mind. You don’t have to stick to the exact plan — things change! Sometimes they change so fast you have to close your eyes and hope for the best. It’s OK if your goals need to be refined and shift as the year goes on. We can’t know what will happen in August from where we sit today. Grab some white out and change as needed.
If you are down to play the resolution game and really make a go of it this year, try putting some of these strategies into place. It’s way more fun to stick with your goal and have some results to look back on. By this time next year you’ll have some serious progress under your belt, new accountability and community friends to celebrate with, and the momentum to keep it going.