I’m don’t tend to make new year’s resolutions. Not because I don’t see their value and not because I’m sceptical about being able to keep them… I just don’t make them.
This year was no exception; I didn’t enter into January was a list of hard and fast resolutions, however recently I’ve vowed to set myself small goals throughout the year governed by an overarching aim; to be happy and try my best.
My plan for 2018 is to do more for myself; things I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t because I felt it was too selfish or something else came first. I intend to put my career first and make a proper go of freelance writing, I want to be happy and healthy and make time for myself to ensure I can reach those goals.
A lot can happen in twelve months, but a lot can not happen too! No matter how large of small your goals and ambitions are for the year ahead making a plan will help you find the motivation to achieve them.
First and foremost, don’t try and do it all at once. If you put too much pressure on yourself or try and change too many habits at any given time, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Start by making a list of changes you want to enforce and work out which one is the most important. Once you know, start with that resolution. Once it becomes a habit or you feel you’ve cracked it you can move onto the next one.
Slow and steady wins the race
Giving yourself a whole year is a bit unrealistic and also lulls you into a false sense of security. When you have 12 months ahead of you to make changes it is easy to think, ‘I have plenty of time’ and before you know it the whole year has gone by and a new one is beginning and you’re in exactly the same position. Sound familiar? Set smaller timescales to aim for and reward yourself at regular intervals for sticking to your plan.
Look ahead to event milestones
Perhaps you want to quit smoking and find it harder to go without in the summer. If this is the case, start your ‘no smoking’ journey in the colder months so you have built up the will-power by the time summer comes around. Maybe you want to lose weight and know there is a big event coming up. Use that date as a milestone and have a target in mind.
Be realistic in your goals and be kind to yourself, changing a habit is hard and requires a lot of mental strength, however picturing yourself slimmer, healthier, happier at a point in the future can give you a tangible goal and therefore the motivation you need to persevere when will-power is dwindling.
Do it for yourself
Goal setting is a personal endeavour and keeping it to yourself and not telling everybody what you’re trying to achieve may actually help you. When we tell people of our hopes, dreams, or goals it releases a chemical in the brain that gives us a sense of accomplishment and fools our mind into thinking we have already fulfilled our goals when in fact you haven’t even started. Let the results speak for themselves.
Write down why you want to achieve your goal
Sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on changes we want to make because we are breaking a lifelong habit. By writing down why you want to achieve this goal will act as a guiding light when you feel like giving up. Keep your list somewhere you see it each day, read it and remember why you’re doing this.
Don’t worry if you slip up
The road to success is not an easy one no matter what your aim. From building your own business, to losing weight, to saving money. There will be times your efforts go unrewarded or you lose momentum. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Learn from it, accept it and move on. Success is about perseverance, not perfection.