Entering a new year is the global symbol for determining the accomplishments, feelings and goals you’d like to experience in the following 365 days. Like a blank canvas full of opportunity for growth, the first of January represents an exciting fresh start to begin planning how to achieve all that you desire. And as exhilarating as new year goal setting may be, it can be easy to lose the momentum of working towards your goals by February.
Sure, you’ve signed a one year contract for your gym membership, but what will it take for you to dedicate to going to the gym all year? If the gym wasn’t part of your new year’s resolutions, maybe it was to start eating healthier, or to finally pay off that student loan. We set goals with the best of intentions, but according to Forbes only 8% of us will actually reach our goals. How could that be? Whether it’s a lack of time, overwhelm, unrealistic expectations or the “life getting in the way” factor, there are several effective ways to overcome these blocks to achieving your goals and finally create the success you’ve intend for. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated with your New Year’s resolutions past January.
Set Realistic Goals Being ambitious is an excellent quality to have, but creates the potential to sabotage your New Year’s resolutions- especially if your goals aren’t realistically suited to your current obligations. For example, let’s say one of your goals is to be healthier by taking four yoga classes each week and drinking a green smoothie every single day for breakfast. When setting your goals, be sure to consider how you will create the space for these goals to fit into your lifestyle, and why they are so meaningful to you. Is the yoga studio close to you, or do you have to drive thirty minutes to get there? Does the yoga class schedule align with your work or school schedule, or will you have to get up an hour earlier each morning to take a morning class? What will it mean for you if you do get to 4 yoga classes each week? Depending on how convenient the yoga studio is, perhaps it would be more realistic to start by taking two yoga classes on your days off. You’ll feel good knowing you can for sure make those classes, and won’t feel guilty if you don’t make the other two classes due to traffic or other responsibilities. There is nothing wrong with setting big goals, as long as you know you can and will make the time for them. Otherwise, you risk losing your motivation after not successfully following through, which may cause you to give up entirely. In this case, it’s best to start small!
Create a Step by Step Action Plan Once you’ve decided on your goals, it’s important to consider the how. Going back to the yoga class and green smoothie example, how will you fit 4 yoga classes into your schedule and make sure you have that green smoothie every morning? It may be that you block off an hour four times each week in your schedule, or meal prep individual smoothie packs every Sunday afternoon for 45 minutes to last you the week. Creating a step by step action plan by getting as clear and specific as possible is a sure way to begin creating lasting change and habits that will get you closer to your goal.
The Follow Through It’s one thing to block off an hour in your schedule, but how do you make sure you use that hour for its intended purpose? In all honesty, some days you just won’t feel like going to yoga. When it’s gloomy, cold and raining, curling up with a blanket and Netflix can seem much more appealing. How will you stay motivated to avoid making excuses to skip the class for what appears to be more satisfying in that moment? This is more of a personal answer- only you know exactly what motivates you and keeps you focused. But if you need some inspiration, why not keep some photos close that motivate you? Pinterest is a great platform to make a digital vision board, where you can pin photos that you’re drawn to that instantly raise your vibration when you look at them. Remembering exactly why you set your goals is also motivating. In fact, determining your “why” while goal setting gives your resolutions more meaning by attaching emotion. Knowing your “why” could make the difference between following through with your goals and achieving them, or leaving them behind by February 1.
Just Freakin’ Do it Perhaps this isn’t a typical mantra, but it sure is powerful to say when it comes to considering skipping out on your goals. Telling yourself to just freakin’ do it is a way to cut the mental chatter that tries to keep you from working towards achievements, or doing something you said you would. Don’t think twice, just freakin’ do it!
Think Progress, not Perfection Be proud of yourself for any and all of the steps you take towards your New Year’s resolutions. If your ultimate goal by going to yoga is to be able to do a headstand and lose 5 pounds of fat mass, don’t feel discouraged if you’re not quite there by March. You’ve gone to yoga 4 days a week and have followed through with the plan you created for yourself! That alone deserves plenty of praise.
Get an Accountability Partner An accountability partner can also help improve your long term success rate. When choosing an accountability partner, make sure your partner is someone who WILL hold you accountable, without accepting any excuses. An accountability partner can be your personal trainer, nutritionist or yoga teacher. It can also be your partner, who will watch you with a loving eye each morning while you make your smoothie, or your best friend who you send daily photos of your smoothies to. The key takeaways to achieving your goals are to keep them realistic by ensuring they are 100% do-able with your current lifestyle and routine. Remember that consistency is key, and a wise goal crusher once said: “You get what you work for, not what you wish for.”