Featured Article By Wendy Betterini , Freelance Writer
A new year can be an exciting and motivating time to set new goals, but most people tend to bite off more than they can chew by vowing to tackle every dissatisfying area of their lives at once – which inevitably leads to frustration when they realize that old habits aren’t so easy to change.
If the thought of setting traditional “too big to imagine” New Year resolutions overwhelms you, you may be more comfortable with a miniature version to start. If so, read on for a much easier, simpler version of New Year resolutions that practically guarantees your success.
1) Setting Smaller Goals
The first thing to acknowledge is that you can’t take on every area of your life simultaneously and magically transform it into the dream life you desire. Forget trying to quit smoking, lose 50 lbs., meet your soulmate, start a new business, and add $100 a week to your savings account all at once. It’s perfectly acceptable to have such goals in mind for the long-term, but first you have to start taking smaller steps.
Take a few minutes to think about the most important goals you have for the new year (try tackling just one or two at a time), and then consider ways to break them down into smaller goals. For example, a goal to lose 50 lbs. of excess weight can seem like a daunting challenge – but what if you broke it down into a smaller goal of losing 10 lbs. in January, 10 lbs. in February, and so on until you reach your goal weight? It seems much less intense, doesn’t it?
2) Focus on the Action Steps
Rather than basing your perception of success or failure on the RESULTS you achieve each day, instead try focusing on the action steps themselves. If your goal to lose weight involves cutting back on refined and processed foods, drinking more water, and exercising for 20-30 minutes each day, you can tell at a glance whether you are sticking to your plan or not. If you are, you are making progress. If not, you may need to adjust your plan to better fit your lifestyle. Set an appointment with yourself for a weekly review and pay special attention to old habits of self-sabotage that might get in the way of your goal.
3) Expand Over Time
After a few weeks have passed and you are consistently working on your new bite-sized resolutions, you may feel ready to start expanding your original plan. You may decide to increase the length or intensity of your workouts, add in a few daily action steps on other goals, or otherwise shift gears and broaden your horizons. Simply follow the same bite-sized process above and avoid taking on more than you can reasonably handle. A good rule of thumb is to consider what you know for sure you can handle each day, and then make a list of “extra credit” actions you can take if you have time and energy left over.
Resolutions Are Not Just for the New Year As you may have guessed by now, you don’t have to wait for a new year to begin setting goals and improving your life. Try setting new goals every month, or mini-goals every week. Consider what you would like to accomplish during the next week or month, create a plan for doing so, and get moving on it with consistent effort. Before long you’ll be feeling so empowered from all the progress you’re making that transforming every area of your life will seem much more possible – as long as you do it one step at a time.