With a heart full of gratitude and a head full of inspiration, everyone sets New Year’s goals, but very few people stick to them. Many of us often stumble over the first few steps of change and then quietly retreat to our old, unhealthy habits. It can be an overwhelming way to put pressure on yourself going into the new year, sometimes making you feel like a failure. Luckily, there are ways to set realistic New Year’s resolutions that can be stuck to for the entire year and more. Keep reading to get the best goal setting tips for the new year.
Make Resolutions Smaller
Creating resolutions that are too big sets you up for failure from the get-go. It’s key to zero in on one goal, not a bunch, then it’s easier to do a reality check. You should look at the level of commitment it will require you to achieve this goal and consider if you’ll be able to reach it. For instance, you need to think if reading one book a week will be doable if you work full time; if it’s already hard to get one book in a month, you may want to change the frequency of the number of books you would like to read. Instead of 1 a month, try to push for 2 a month.
Write Your Goals Down
People who write their goals down feel a greater sense of accountability and have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them. Put your goals on the fridge, write them on a dry-erase marker on your bathroom mirror, or write them down in a journal. Journaling can also help you reflect on your progress; having an honest reflection with yourself may help you see how you may be sabotaging yourself or recognise certain behavioural patterns.
Get Help From Technology
There are several mental health apps out there that can help guide you through goal setting and forming new habits. Mental health apps like MindShift and BetterMe teach you therapy skills to tackle negative thought patterns, and also have tools for setting goals and forming better habits. There are also journaling apps that you can get instead of using a physical paper journal if that works better for you.
If the goal is related to mental health, or starting a meditation or self-care routine, search the topic you’re looking for on YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of videos to get you on track.
Stack Your Habits
Adding another goal to the end of an activity that you do every day is called habit stacking, a tactic to make habits easier to stick to. For example, if you want to meditate more, think of adding a nightly routine right after brushing your teeth or finishing the cooking. Habit stacking basically means having a constant cue, whether that’s a preceding activity or a specific setting associated with one of your behaviours. Whatever that cue is should make it easier for you to make a behaviour a habit.
Check In With Yourself Regularly
Reassess your goal throughout the weeks and months that follow. You’ll find that it will take a while for you to get there, which is why checking in with yourself is essential, to hold yourself accountable. If you realise that your original goal was unrealistic, feel free to alter it as much as required.
Look at your lifestyle and revise your goals to make sure that they fit into it. If you feel that you need someone to check in on you, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable and make sure you’re sticking to the plan.
Celebrate All Successes
Your main focus shouldn’t solely be on the end goal because you might find that it’s easy to feel discouraged after a couple of weeks. That’s why it’s very important to recognise and reward yourself for the smaller successes along the way. For instance, if you’re exercising for a marathon, you don’t have to withhold rewards for the marathon finish line. Instead, after each long run, reward yourself with a good book, new music, or a fancy latte from any coffee shop you like. It’s also important to track milestones to help you stay motivated along the way, and to one day look back on with immense pride.
It’s Okay To Make A Few Mistakes
If you have slipped up, know that you’re not the only one. Having a lapse is incredibly common, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. What matters is how you handle that. You can either spend days feeling guilty about the misstep, or you can see the setback as a way to get back on track and figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
Don’t Rely On Others Too Much
It’s okay to ask others for help, but to make your resolution stick, it’s best to learn how to cheer yourself on. Relying too heavily on a friend or family member for your own goal may just decrease your motivation to work on it and get it done. Remind yourself of your goals by writing little notes and posting them around your home where you’ll see them regularly, like your fridge or mirrors.
Believe In Yourself
People often make resolutions without fully believing they can achieve them. If you know that you can make a change in your life, then you should believe in it wholeheartedly. If not, you may want to rethink how you have phrased or created it so that it can be changed to something more realistic.
Once you reach your goal, make sure you celebrate it, but also figure out how you can maintain the practice if it will benefit you in the long run. Whether it’s planning a budget, healthy eating, or starting a regular fitness routine, there are plenty of positive and smart lifestyle changes that are worth sticking to for longer than a year. To fuel your daily habits for happiness, keep a sense of accomplishment in your back pocket to feel good and proud of your progress for years to come.
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