You made it: level 2017
New Year's resolutions can be extremely intimidating. Changing a negative habit or adding a step to your regular routine takes a lot of work. So where do you even begin? It's important to recognize your limits, really understand what your goals are, and make sure that you are willing to push yourself to reach them. I want to share with you a few tips on establishing concrete goals that won't make you feel like you are chasing after a pipe dream.
Your willpower is like a muscle. We exhaust our willpower daily while practicing self-control in various tasks. These tasks could include not getting upset about a work problem, restraining yourself from eating the maple bar in your kitchen or even taking a shower at night (my biggest obstacle).
When you make a new resolution, make sure you have enough energy to focus your willpower on it. If you are exhausting that willpower by focusing on other areas of your life, you probably won't be able to make a steadfast commitment to achieving your new goal.
Feel like you have so many daily goals that it's a little exhausting? Entrepreneur gives 5 ways to boost your willpower.
Measure, Measure & Measure Again
Another tip when looking at your resolution is to have an end goal. It's easy to say ‘I want to live a healthier lifestyle’ – but what exactly does that look like to you? Set goals that are realistic and, more importantly, measurable.
It is also crucial to hold yourself accountable by setting up a timeframe to achieve your goal. When do you want your bad habit to be broken? Or a new behavior to be established into your daily routine? It takes 66 days to form a new habit, meaning it is ingrained into your routine so that you perform it daily without any mental resistance. Another easy way to establish a timeframe is to set 12-week benchmarks. It's much easier to wrap your brain around achieving something in 12 weeks than an entire year. You may have the same end goal, but you are taking baby steps every 12 weeks to get there.
I used to work in retail where I had daily and bi-weekly sales goals. When I first started working in the job, my manager helped me establish what were realistic expectations so that I wasn't setting myself up to fail. Along with my realistic goals, she would give me stretch goals. These were goals that I would need to go above and beyond to achieve.
The reason I never missed a sales goal in the two years I worked for her was due to the fact that I put all of my attention & focus on my stretch goals. Because I was constantly striving to go above and beyond to meet the stretch benchmarks that I set for myself, I never missed my realistic benchmarks.
Setting a stretch goal that is going to make you push yourself is a powerful way to achieve your realistic goals. Beware - you must not feel discouraged if you don't reach your stretch goal. It's there to push you, not to make you feel like you aren't achieving anything great.
The most important part of all of this is to realize that people fail. If you set a goal and don't achieve it, don't beat yourself up. The fact that you are taking the time to change bad habits and trying to improve your life says a lot. If you do mess up, don't wait until next year - don’t even wait until Monday - just keep tugging along and don't let your mistakes rule you.
Photo courtesy of Morgan Hydinger.