New Year's Resolutions. How does that phrase make you feel?
According to a recent poll by Forbes Health, 62% of U.S. adults felt pressured to set a new year’s resolution. The two most common goals were physical and mental health. Although 80% of respondents felt confident in reaching their goals, sadly the majority of people quit reaching for their goals after 2-3 months.
There can be a host of reasons why you may set a goal and not follow through. However, simply not making a good decision or having a “cheat day” does NOT make you a failure. I’ll say that again.
Failing does not make you a FAILURE. And feeling like you failed for one day, one week, or even one year does NOT mean you can’t start again.
Many of us struggle with an “all or nothing” way of thinking. For example, you may be trying not to eat sugar. You have a cookie and then you think to yourself, “well I blew my whole diet! I might as well eat whatever I want!” Or your goal is to go on a walk every day. Your schedule gets hectic for two weeks and you can’t take a single walk. By then you think to yourself, “what’s the point? I already missed 14 days, so I am not even going to try!”
I am sure you can see the danger in these thought processes. Because sadly, you will have a bad day. We all do. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t reach your goals. Or perhaps readjust your goals to make sure they are attainable. Below are four simple tips from the Habit Calendar by Free Period Press on how to create goals that you will be more likely to keep.
Habits stick when they are connected to what matters to us most. Know the why behind a new habit. Habits only work to the degree that you find them meaningful. Ask yourself, “What will this allow me to do/grow/become/connect to?”
Pairing: When you’re starting out with a new habit, it can be really helpful to pair it with an old habit. For example, if you want to read more, you can listen to an audio book on the way to work every day. Or if you want to take daily walks, do it right after you eat dinner. Your new habit is more likely to stick because you’re connecting it to what is already established in your day.
Start small: Don’t be afraid to start with just a few habits and add more as the year goes on. Make sure the goals are attainable and sustainable.
A great acronym to keep in mind is S.M.A.R.T. goals. Using this structure can set you up for success. To read more about setting smart goals you can go to Forbes.com.
Remember, you are not defined solely by your goals or your so-called failures. Surround yourself with the support you need and have grace for yourself when you feel you missed the mark. Creating small, manageable goals can have a significant impact!