By: Carrie Collins
As the end of January approaches, many of us are struggling to keep our New Year’s Resolutions or have already given up. If this has happened to you, don’t put yourself down or have the mindset you aren’t strong enough. The fact is, most resolutions fail. According to U.S. News & World Report, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions are kaput by mid-February.
It is incredibly disheartening to feel like you’ve failed. You were so gung-ho after the holidays, right? You were going to lose 20 pounds, start meditating, volunteer more, have a cleaner house, get a better job, go to therapy, and be a better friend – making 2020 YOUR YEAR! You wanted a “New Year, New Me”, kind of 2020 right? Setting too many resolutions is just 1 reason we don’t meet our goals. So, where did you go wrong and how do you get back on track? Here are some tips:
- You Set Too Many Goals. As mentioned above, it’s easy to do when you feel extremely motivated and excited for the new year. Unfortunately, you do not have super powers. Fix this by choosing 1 or 2 goals you’d like to work on and start over.
- Your Goal is Too Vague. For example, let’s say your goal was “Be better with my money”. Does that mean paying off debt? Does that mean learning how to invest? Does that mean saving more? Does that mean creating a budget? This is where the SMART method helps. Write your goals using the SMART acronyms:
S – Specific. Your objective should be crystal clear. A good goal answers the 5W’s – who, what, when, where, why and how.
M – Measurable You need to have a way to track your progress and determine when you’ve “accomplished” your goal. Example: Your goal is to save $500. Plan how much you need to save weekly to reach your goal by your determined date. Track and adjust as needed to accomplish your goal.
A – Attainable Your goal should stretch your abilities, but remain realistic.
R – Relevant Your goal must be personally meaningful to you, and you must have or be able to get the proper support and resources to make it happen.
T – Time-Bound Set yourself deadlines, both for achieving the larger goal, as well as for milestones along the way to keep yourself on track.
- You Want Big Results, Right Now. Many of us crush our goals the first few weeks. We give it 110%, but then become discouraged when we don’t see immediate results. Re-evaluate your goal. Is it attainable, but will just take longer? Or is it just not realistic at all? Do you need to adjust your goal? Make a realistic SMART plan. It is also vital to track small victories and milestones along the way. Keeping a milestone journal or app will help keep you motivated by celebrating your wins.
- It May Not Be the Right Time. There are so many uncontrollable circumstances in life. You may have started out in a great place, but life happens! We get sick, depression rears its ugly head, work and/or family demands suddenly increase, relationship issues happen, and consume all of your time. If this has happened to you, promise yourself that when the timing is right, you will start working on your goal again.
Lastly, treat each day as New Year’s Day. Every day is a new opportunity to start over! You don’t need January 1st to motivate you to achieve your goals. Be gentle with yourself. Practice positive self-talk, have a support system, and celebrate your victories!