Maybe you plan to start 2021 on the right foot by creating a resolution and sticking to it. Some of the most common resolutions each year include quitting smoking, losing weight, paying down debt, saving more, or maybe it is just to be happier. We know it is all too uncommon for people to have the best of intentions but not stick to their goals. If you go to any gym early in the year, you see the number of people there is huge (maybe not this year) and those numbers quickly dwindle as the new year rolls into February and March. So how can you ensure that your resolution makes it past the first 90 days?
You must create new habits by being intentional in your actions and having a plan. If you are consistent with your plan over time you will find the process becomes easier and more enjoyable, especially as you begin to see the results of your hard work. Making it past the first 30, 60, and 90 days is the hardest but gaining motivation from positive results along the way makes the process easier. Here are some tips to make it past the hump:
1. Identify the End Goal. Dream. Dream Big! Having a huge, audacious goal provides clarity and motivation. Identify that big goal that can be measurable like losing 30 pounds, writing a book, starting a business, or learning a new language. With some support, grit, and help you can make the dream a reality! It is better to aim for the moon and settle for the stars.
2. Break Down the Goal into Manageable Pieces. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing to think about what you must do to attain that big goal. Now you need to break it down into bite-sized pieces. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same is true for your goals. Now break down the goal into bite-sized pieces to make it more attainable and less scary. Map out small steps that become bigger over time that move you towards your end goal. Write down the goal into a checklist and you can mark the first item off of starting the checklist.
3. Remember Why You Are Doing This. As you go through the process it is easy to become frustrated or lose sight of what motivated you to make the goal in the first place. When I lost the weight, I was frustrated by not seeing results “fast enough”. When I remembered that I was doing this so I can have more energy and be a better dad it helped me to stay focused. This step is important as you progress to help you maintain your focus, passion, and dedication to the goal
4. Commit Yourself. Make yourself accountable through a written or verbal promise to people you don’t want to let down. Goals are easiest if you are not alone. If you workout, have a gym buddy or a trainer. If you are starting a business, find a mentor or group of other individuals starting a business. Social media makes it easier than ever to find like-minded individuals to help you along the way. Let them know your goals and help keep you accountable.
5. Have Grace for Yourself. Understand that you have many victories along the way and not just when you complete the big goal. If you are running a marathon completing your first 10-mile run is just as important as completing the marathon. There will be setbacks and don’t get down on yourself. We are our own worst enemy.
6. Be Thankful and Enjoy the Process. Having a thankful heart and some humor makes the process much easier. If three months in you wanted to lose 15 pounds but only lost 10, be thankful that you are down a size. There will be days you do not have the time or will power to achieve your small targets. Maybe the plan for the month is to pay an extra $500 to debt but you lack motivation or had an unexpected expense. Pay an extra $100 that month instead and be proud of yourself for doing something towards your goal.
Remember that if you do not reach your goal this year you will still be better off for working towards the goal and making progress along the way. Have fun with it and involving other people always makes the process easier. Best of luck conquering those resolutions in 2021!