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How to Create Successful Goals for the New Year

Don't let your resolution die out within the first week.

Annie Spratt, Unsplash

With the year coming to a close and the excitement of what the next 365 days might bring, we are all creating the new year's resolution list in our minds. While I'm not a fan of creating goals on a particular day, I understand the mentality behind it. Each year feels like a clean slate for us to change things we don't like in our lives. However, most of us create goals that fizz out within the first two weeks of January. The problem isn't making a goal, but building one that we can genuinely accomplish.

If you, like many others, have had this problem occur, it is okay. Most of us have goals that die out quickly. There are certain aspects of a yearly goal you have to take into consideration before starting. Below, I have a few tips to make your new years resolution a success. When you learn how to create a successful goal, it will be easier to see it through to the end.

Don't make them too large.

One of the main reasons our goals fizzle out has to do with how large the resolution is. For instance, making a goal to lose 60 pounds is a lot to expect of anyone. You start all excited and, after not shedding a pound within the first two weeks, give up. Setting a high expectation can potentially backfire on us. It also can make us feel hopeless to ever succeeding if the goal will take too long to accomplish. I have had many resolutions end this way because it put too much stress on my mental state.

If you want to succeed, start with a small goal. Instead of losing 60 pounds, start with a mere 10. Once you have accomplished this task, go for another 10. By doing it in increments, you are much more likely to complete your objectives. Doing this also gives you more drive to continue on your path. When you accomplish something, you feel a new drive and motivation to do more. However, if you start too high and are unable to conquer the task, it can put your mental state in despair. You don't have to change the world in a day. Take it slowly and work toward your target.

You have too many goals.

Just like setting intentions too high, you can overload your brain with too many resolutions. I know we all want to change 50 things about our current situation, but that is unattainable in a year. I'm not going to become a millionaire, go zero waste, buy a new house, and get over all of my insecurities in one year. However, I can make that a long-term goal if that is what I desire. Start with a few tangible goals and, once you finish them, update your list.

No rule says you have to create a two-page list filled with aspirations for the upcoming year. You can start with the essential items and create a new list some other time. Having 50 resolutions can be daunting for anyone. However, three objectives could be easy to start and feel fantastic once you have succeeded. Then you can move on to the other 47 items on your list. To all of my What About Bob fans, you need to take baby steps to reach your bliss.

Create a game plan.

It is easy to say you want to lose a certain amount of weight, but not as easy to accomplish. A lot of the time we tell people what our new year's resolution is, but we don't write it down and come up with a plan. I hate to say it, but winging it almost rarely works out for people. If you want to genuinely want to succeed, you need to come up with steps to help you work towards accomplishing your target. Each resolution should be made up of small goals.

Do you want to lose weight? Buy a planner or journal to write down your progress. Create an exercise guide to follow each week. Write down what you ate and meal plan. Add something new into each week to help you accomplish your goal. By writing down a game plan, you are much more likely to go through with it. If you say something out loud, it is easy not to be accountable when you don't go through with it. I've noticed that when I write down my plan of action, I'm a lot more motivated to see it to the end.

Reward yourself for small victories.

One thing that always gets me down is, while I'm making progress, it isn't being noticed. Not that I need a pat on the back every step of the way, but it does help your motivation to reward yourself each time you accomplish a task. This award can be as small as taking a cheat day or buying something nice for yourself. By awarding yourself, you are more likely to continue on your journey.

I use this method in my writing, and it has changed my entire mentality. Every time I get a new subscriber or meet a goal, I'll reward myself with a few days off or a fun shopping spree. It triggers my brain to see that I did something right and, the more I continue to do so, the better I'll feel. You'd be amazed at how a small reward will motivate you to succeed at your goals.

Don't beat yourself up or quit.

You made this new years resolution and, five months later, have nothing to show for it. This is the time when a lot of us give up entirely and beat ourselves up. You are human; therefore nothing will ever be perfect. We are going to fail, make mistakes, and have bumps in the road. Don't let this stop you from continuing. You don't have to wait till the next year either to start again. There are 365 days in the year, and there is nothing that says you can't begin a goal during any one of those days.

If you feel like your failing, stop and assess the situation. What are you doing that you could improve? Sometimes it isn't that we are failing, but that we have been doing the same thing and expecting different results. Try out a new way of doing things, change up the goal to be more tangible, or whatever will help motivate you to continue. We only fail at something when we give up.

A new year doesn't have to be the reason for starting a goal. If you want to change something in your life, today is the best time for it. By taking small steps, never giving up, and keeping your goal top priority, you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. 

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