Originally published 1/29/2020 on LinkedIn.
Resolutions, Intentions, New Habits and Goals, Oh My!
The talk about how to make the most of the new year has settled down. We are getting closer to the second month of 2020, which means that by the middle of February about 80% (or so I have read!) of us are going to have given up on all those great intentions we had when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. I had also noticed that for some, this year’s resolutions were much bigger than usual…after all, we were starting a new decade. And honestly, I think the whole “new decade” lingo absolutely feels a little…well, HUGE! When you start to think that big, it’s easy to get a little carried away by what you need to accomplish in this fresh new decade.
Let’s start with the fact that resolutions have a really bad rap. Going into this we were already predisposed to the fact that resolutions do not work. Starting off with that kind of negativity is really not getting us anywhere. I am of the belief that resolutions can work, but only if we put in the work.
Have You Gone Overboard?
If you are that person with the list of resolutions as big as a Colorado Fourteener, maybe you need to take another look at that list. If you have decided that in 365 days you are going to lose weight, exercise five times a week, start a new business, sign ten new clients, read a hundred books, volunteer more at school, eat better, get a raise, save $10,000, and on, and on, and on. Then no wonder you’re wavering already. I’m tired just thinking about all that.
Maybe you’re that person who has already given up. You fell off the wagon and decided you have already failed. You set a goal to feel good in a swimsuit this summer but you ate seven pounds of chocolate last week (I may or may not have actually done this). You tell yourself that the chocolate has won and you’re done!
If it seems like your resolutions are done, and you’ll just start again in 2021, you need to step back and realize that you can do this. Look at your list of resolutions and decide which goals are really the most important to you. Then break it down. Think about where you see yourself at the end of the year and reverse engineer it. Once you have done that, take a deep breath and figure out what on your list will make you feel the most accomplished at the end of the year. After you have figured that out, really visualize that goal and make it as specific as possible.
Set Some Milestones
You have your goal. You have visualized it and made it specific. Plot your end goal, your starting point, and then fill everything else in between. Think about the steps along the way that will make you feel accomplished. This will help to keep you motivated. For example, your goal is to start a new business. Make a list of the steps you need to complete to make this a reality, and then set those milestones. Think about what you can do this month, then what can you do next month, and so on.
Write it Down, Look at It Often and Track Your Progress
We are more likely to achieve our resolutions and goals if we write them down. But don’t just write them down and forget them…look at them, track how you are doing. Decide where, and how you are going to track your progress. The method is totally up to you whether you are an old school journaler, have a favorite tool you use for your everyday productivity (like Trello, Workflowy, or Todoist), or prefer to use an app specific to goal setting and tracking. Click here for a list of apps featured on Lifehack.
Talk About Your Goal, Get an Accountability Partner
Just like writing down our goals, there is a certain power in sharing your goals with others. Talking about our resolutions and goals makes them feel more real, and it gives others a chance to root for our success, or pick us up when we are not feeling so successful. Take it one step further by enlisting a friend or colleague to help keep you accountable. Set up a weekly time to discuss, message each other encouragement, but most of all, push each other in a positive way towards your respective goals.
What Happens When You Fall Off Track?
Reality check…we are not perfect. We are going to have setbacks along the way, and that is really okay. The most important thing to remember is to keep going. The New Year is not the only time to resolve to do something. There is always tomorrow. Or if you need an official starting point I can give you a bunch…the beginning of the next month, the beginning of summer, the beginning of the school year, the beginning of the holiday season, the beginning of next week.
Just remember to reframe your way of thinking about whether or not you CAN achieve your resolutions…tell yourself you WILL!
What are some of the tactics you use for goal setting and accountability?And if you are really brave, share one of your goals for 2020 so we can help keep you accountable.