It’s a new year, and with that often comes resolutions. Though there has been a running joke on failed new year’s resolutions for who knows how long now, setting goals is a great way to get yourself on the right track for whatever you want to accomplish.
Self-fulfilling prophecy, or a poorly formulated plan?
Resolutions tend to fail because they are too broad and don’t include enough actionable information to be able to stick to them throughout an entire year. Instead of saying simply, “I want to lose weight,” it is much more definitive and easier to stay focused when you refine that goal to something like, “I want to lose fifteen pounds,” or, “I want to get rid of my love handles.” Those goals are easier to quantify and easier to record and track progress as you work toward them.
Another reason why resolutions tend to fail is that many of us have fallen into an “instant gratification” mentality that makes us give up our goals if we are not able to see results as soon as we would like. Setting milestones for your goals, and maybe even deadlines for those milestones, might be a good way for you to check in with yourself as to whether you are staying on track with your progress.
With the instant gratification concept in mind, it may not be a bad idea to add “be more patient” to your resolutions this year! All things take time, and everything worthwhile takes time and effort to achieve. Though it may be tough putting in the time and effort to get where you want to be, you’re still way ahead of those people who gave up at the first obstacle or shrugged it off because it took too long.
Don’t get carried away
No matter what you want to do this year, it’s important to keep your goals within reason. Consider your typical schedule, your commitments and responsibilities to your job, your family, and others around you when you create your goals. Are they realistic? Will you have the time to devote to your goals? If your goals are too broad or you can’t see yourself reasonably having the time, money, or energy to accomplish them all, you don’t have to give up on them completely! Narrow them down, focus on keeping your goals actionable.
For example, instead of saying, “I want to start meditating this year,” refine it to something you know you can do, like, “I want to meditate for at least five minutes every day.” If you want to write a book in the coming year, make sure you identify the specifics: “I want to write for 30 minutes every day,” or “I want to write 1,000 words every day.” Those kinds of details and guidelines will help you remember your goals, they will make your goals more tangible, and best of all, they’re trackable.
It’s easy to give up when you don’t know how far you’ve come toward reaching your goals, but when you can see you wrote 30,000 words in a month or that you meditated every morning before breakfast for three weeks, it’s easier to recognize your success and continue creating the habit so you can continue working toward your goal.
What do you want for yourself this year?
Whether you want to eat more fruits and veggies, start running, relieve stress, volunteer your time, or simply find a way to enjoy your life more, you get to decide how best to spend your year. It’s important to set your own goals, and to remind yourself that it’s your life, not your spouse’s, your doctor’s, or your best friend’s life. Do what you think is best for you.
We have goals for the new year, too! Here are a few things some of us at Cultivating Your Energy want to accomplish in the coming year:
- Begin a meditation practice, at least 5 minutes a day.
- Cut back on refined sugar, no more than one food item a day.
- Practice yoga three times a week, whether it’s for fifteen minutes or an hour.
- Cook more meals at home, and eat out only once a week.
- Get more sleep! Get to bed by 10:30.
What are your goals or resolutions for 2014? Share them with us in the comments!
Photo by: Flickr user Sam JR