It’s almost February, and by now some of the motivation you’ve had for your New Year’s resolutions are waning. Good news though, you don’t have to wait until next January to set new goals! I realize the New Year brings a lot of excitement and the feeling of a fresh start, but often we bring in some baggage from the previous year and the excitement quickly fades.
It’s only in the last two years that I’ve changed my idea of ‘resolutions’. I no longer live by an arbitrary date of January 1, and I no longer put unattainable rules in my life and hope that will be the key to achieving whatever goal I have. I also only set one goal a month. That’s right, just one. I think taking on too much too quickly becomes overwhelming when we’re trying to learn a new habit, and eventually all those good intentions go out the window and we’re sitting in the same situation we had before we started. Instead, I give myself some grace to know that whatever I set out to do is not going to be done perfectly, and keep these three things in mind.
Willpower doesn’t last
I don’t think this is surprising, but I do think that people feel guilty thinking they suck because they didn’t have the willpower to stop themselves from eating those cookies in the cabinet. But, willpower doesn’t get you up on a cold February morning to workout. Willpower doesn’t keep you from eating that ice cream you bought in the freezer. And willpower sure doesn’t get your butt up off the couch after a long day of work.
What you can do is constantly remind yourself about your ‘why’. The best thing I’ve heard and remind myself of often is asking, ‘Will this get me closer to my goals?’. If not, then I don’t need whatever it is I think I do at that moment.
Personally, I evaluating my goals on a weekly basis, at a minimum. This keeps my goals top of mind and me in check for where I stand with them
Break down your goals
It’s great to have lofty goals, and I think everyone should dream ‘unrealistically’ on occasion, but sometimes dreaming big can leave us feeling like we’re not getting anywhere. This is why I recommend breaking your goal down into smaller and smaller goals. Think of it as working backwards. Here is one of my 2019 goals and how I worked backwards.
Pay off all debt (excluding mortgage) this year
Review my expenses and set a budget for everything (groceries, personal items, eating out, movies, etc.)
Write down my debts and the minimum payments
After reviewing expenses write down how much extra I can put towards debt per month
Start with the smallest debt and pay a larger chunk until paid off and move to the next debt
Use mint.com to set budgets
Review budget progress weekly, asses what changes need to be made
Pay off debt
I feel relief just looking at a plan versus just seeing ‘pay of debt’, which can feel like a daunting task. But by breaking it out into actionable steps I can take weekly, it feels like I can accomplish it! This works for ANY type of goal!
Share your goal
Most people have a hard time keeping themselves accountable on their own, so I recommend sharing your goals. It doesn’t have to be on social media, but it can be with your significant other, family, friends, or whoever is going to support you no matter how crazy your goals may sound.
At the beginning of the year my husband and I sat down and shared our goals for the year and how we’re going to get there. My husband works in real-estate, which means that he is 100% accountable for his own income, there is no bi-weekly salary, he gets out what he puts in. So, he shared his yearly plan with me, down to how many calls he was going to make a day. This depth of sharing allows us to not only say ‘how is that goal coming’, but ask specifics about the goals that were set.
I think sharing goals on social media is great, but you are the only one that keeps that momentum. Nothing replaces IRL (in real life) relationships.
I’d love to hear how you keep yourself accountable and set goals. I encourage you to do this with a friend to keep each other accountable!
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