The new year brings many failed goals each year. Nobody wants to be part of the majority of people who don’t reach their resolutions, but nevertheless, most people drop off at some point during the year.
To be one of the few people who achieve their goals, you need to start small. Rather than overhauling your life overnight, think of the smallest change that you could reasonably make. The key is that you need to stick to this change consistently over the course of a year, so don’t make any rash decisions.
For example, someone who loves dessert shouldn’t give up sugar overnight. It’s true that sugar isn’t the healthiest thing for you, but going cold turkey probably isn’t the best solution. Your cravings can easily overpower you. If they do, you’ll essentially fail your goal and likely feel bad about yourself.
Rather than setting a lofty goal and failing, start small and build confidence by achieving attainable goals. If you want to be a professional tennis player, you wouldn’t begin by stepping on the court at the US Open. Of course, you’d be defeated overwhelmingly. Instead, you’d start by learning basic skills and competing against people at your level.
Changing your diet or workout routine isn’t very different. You need to figure out goals that are helpful for you, without worrying about what a fitness influencer or publication is telling you.
When you think about what you want to accomplish in the following year, start by imagining that you have to do it for a long time. Giving up sugar? Are you fine not eating dessert for a year? Working out 6 days per week? Are you sure your body can handle that?
Starting out too strong can derail your progress quickly. If you’re a visual learner, sit down with a piece of paper and pen and write the word “smart” at the top of the paper.
Under the “s,” write the specific goal you want to achieve. Under the “m,” write a number that represents your goal (weight on the scale, number of miles run, etc.). Under the “a,” write down whether or not you feel the goal is achievable. Under the “r,” think about and describe how realistic and sustainable the goal is. Under the “t,” write down the timeframe you have to achieve your goal and any mini-goals you want to set along the way.
Step back and read through your goal. Take a few days to edit it and make sure everything is honest and up to your standards. Now, you’re on a concrete path to achieving your goals.