Every year thousands, maybe millions, of people make New Years resolutions that are quickly forgotten. Regardless of what specific goals people have in mind, it can be difficult to make those goals stick if you don’t have a plan for success.
When setting goals for the New Year, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. Know your body, know your motivation, and be realistic with what you can accomplish. While this sounds simple on paper, applying it in real life can be a bit trickier.
Sticking to your New Years goals is no easy task. If it were, you would have accomplished all of last year’s goals without breaking a sweat. If you’re looking for guidance when setting goals for the New Year, these tips might help you set goals that will actually stick:
The New Year always makes us look a bit further down the road, visualizing our “big-picture selves.” Imagining the possibilities is healthy, but it’s important to take advantage of this time with action. Most people actually commit to goals more fiercely when that goal comes about close to a major benchmark, such as New Year’s Day. Studies have actually shown that Mondays are the most popular day of the week for people to begin a new diet or give up smoking.
Make a Plan
When going after a New Year’s goal, it’s important not to just wing it. Interestingly, behavioral science studies have suggested that you will actually plan to reach your goal less the more you actually want to accomplish it. It might seem a bit backwards, but we often get caught up thinking that our good intentions are enough to guide us to achieve our goal. In reality, having a concrete plan in place will help you avoid procrastination and ultimately stick with your goal.
Stick to the Plan
It is very common for people who set one goal to make a “Plan B” to fall back on if they don’t achieve their initial goal. In fact, having a backup plan buried in your subconscious can actually kill your desire to go for your primary goal. Studies have actually backed up this phenomenon and researchers suggest that having a backup plan might actually make failure somehow seem more psychologically acceptable.
This one is a little more outside of the box, but it can prove to be effective nevertheless. A study has actually shown that the most effective weight-loss plan examined was one that required participants to fork over cash if they didn’t meet their goals. In the case study, over the course of 16 weeks the participants with financial incentives lost fourteen pounds more than their counterparts.
Chop Your Goal Up
If your goal is large in scale, it might help to break it down into several smaller goals that you can check off as the year goes on. Most of us sincerely enjoy the feeling of ticking items off of a to-do list, and working for several small goals can actually be more gratifying that trudging towards a singular one.