New Year, New Goals: Breaking the Cycle of Failed Resolutions
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setting goals

New Year celebrations are filled with excitement and anticipation. For most people, it is also about making resolutions or setting new goals for the year. Some people succeed while others fail at following through with the promises they make at the beginning of the year. Making resolutions stick to the very end may seem like a daunting project once enthusiasm wanes. But there are ways to get them done. Here are some ideas on how to stay on track with whatever goal for a brand new year.

Mind your pace

“Slow and steady wins the race”

Everything seems possible and doable at once at the height of excitement. But there may be days when enthusiasm is at its low. One of the timeless and simple approaches to working on your goals is to take small steps instead of making huge leaps that you cannot sustain. The trouble with starting with big goals is that it can put needless pressure that may lead to a lot of stress. The last thing you want is to stress yourself out in pursuit of your goals. Start slow and focus on making steady progress by taking the small steps that support your end-goal.

Make a plan that works for you

“The devil is in the detail”

Making New Year resolutions is the easy part. The real challenge is on how you can stay on track once the initial enthusiasm fades. Use goal setting principles like SMART to set clear, measurable, and time-bound goals. Make a plan around your objectives for the year that works for you. Incorporate mini-goals into your daily activities to help you take small and sustained steps that bring you closer to the end-results you have in mind.

Take time to evaluate

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.”

Keep track of your progress. Start a journal where you can write down anything related to your goals. Reviewing your notes can help you reflect on what works and what you may need to adjust to accomplish what you set out to do. It’s also important to make period self-assessments using your journal as guide. Make sure that you remain realistic with your expectations. It’s easy to get caught up with the desire to succeed that you may inadvertently start pushing yourself harder. Avoid overwhelming yourself by setting unrealistic expectations on your mini-goals hoping that it would speed up your success.

Believe and focus on the goal

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Visualize the outcomes and the steps needed to make them happen. You have to create clear mental images of the results you’re aiming for. But more importantly, you have to strongly believe that you can make it happen so much so that you could actually experience the feelings of already having succeeded with your goals.

How to Build Habits that You Can Stick To
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habitsIf you feel like you are trapped in a cycle of thoughts and behaviors that hold you back from living the life you want, it may be time for some positive changes. Breaking habits take time. It may involve unhooking yourself from beliefs and practices that no longer serve you. There is no shortcut habit-building. But here are some ideas on how to create ones that you can stick to.

Scale it down – Big goals are challenging and exciting when motivation is at all time high. There is nothing wrong in aiming high. But you have to be realistic about the journey and the process. Big aspirations often call for long-term and sustained actions. If you want to build habits that will help you achieve what you set out to do, you have to start small. Create mini-goals that you can focus on one step at a time.

Keep a strategic mindset – Setting goals is easy. It is the follow-through part that becomes tricky. Create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals if you want to be more strategic in accomplishing the things you want to do.

Prepare to let go – Make space for new things in your life – physically and mentally. Positive transformations only happen if you make room for the unfamiliar. Clinging to old habits is instinctive, especially when faced with the unknown. But the more you hold on to physical or mental clutter, the more you prolong the process of ushering meaningful change in your life.

Declare your intentions – Make a commitment that will leave you no room to wiggle out. You can share it to as many people as you want if you are comfortable about going public with your goals. Or you can choose to declare your intentions to a tight circle of family and closest friends.

Tap into your support group – Building positive habits comes with its share of challenges. But going through all the ups and downs of the process is easier with supportive people around you. Make sure that you have a group of people like family and friends who can provide you with the encouragement, inspiration, and help you need at various points in your path towards hacking the habits you are aiming for.

Follow through with daily small steps – Small steps may not look like much. But following through with the little things every single day is one of the surest ways to creating the habits you want. Keep going regardless of how slow or small the effort may be. Great things are often accomplished by people who commit to the positive little things every day.