In my last post, I described my process for making goals that will stick. This really is the key to keeping your New Year’s resolutions - they have to be good ones! Good goals are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound). Start by analyzing each of your current goals against that criteria - do you need to change anything to make the goal SMARTer? Having SMART goals will get you started off on the right foot to actually reaching those goals.
Next, you need to use the Goal Pyramid method (or similar process) to break down each goal into SMART mini-goals. I like to divide mine into monthly, weekly, and daily steps that need to be accomplished in order for me to reach that goal. Once I had made the pyramids, I made a big list of everything that needed to be accomplished at each time point for all of my goals and printed it off so I would have something visual to see every day. It makes setting and reaching goals so much easier when you don’t have to worry about the “big picture” but instead focusing on “What do I need to do right now to make this goal happen in the long run?”.
Take each day one step at a time, and you will reach your goals. There will be setbacks, there will be days when you just want to give up, but there will also be rewarding times when you realize how far you’ve come. Just focus on the end goal: that huge sense of accomplishment when you make it to the end of the year and realize that you actually did it! Let this be the year that we actually keep our New Year’s Resolutions!
Now that you’ve set your SMART goals and divided them into manageable steps, here are my best tips & tricks for keeping on track every day:
1. Make a weekly goal list.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a To-Do List person. I have a To-Do list for everything. I have multiple on my phone, one on my desk, and one at work. And yet I still can’t seem to get it all done. So here’s my solution: one goal list for the entire week. Sit down on Sunday and plan out everything you want or need to get done that week. Keep it reasonable, and be sure to include the steps you planned out for reaching your goals. I created a printable that has 8 checklist boxes, one for each goal category + a few extra to accommodate my normal to-do list items. Find it here, along with all my other printables.
Here’s how I have my boxes labelled:
7. To Do
Now my entire week is planned out in one place, and it allows me to keep an eye on my goals. I basically took the “Weekly” goal pyramid steps and added them into each of the boxes so that when I get to the end of the week, I can easily see where I did great and what needs some improvement next week. And if it’s on a checklist that I look at multiple times a day, I am way more likely to do it than if I just see a reminder every once in a while about those goals I set way back in January.
2. Place your goals where you can see them.
I printed out the list of my 5 goals for this year and pinned it up on the wall behind my desk. Now I look at them every day, and it’s just one more reminder of where I want to be this time next year. If you forget about your goals, then it is impossible to reach them.
3. Change your password(s).
I know this may not be for everyone, but I personally am on my computer, phone, and various websites multiple times throughout the day. I won’t tell you which passwords I’ve changed (cause that would just be too insecure), but I have changed one or more of my passwords to include my word of the year. Now every time I go to that website or log onto that device, I am reminded of my overall goal for this year.
4. Create a motivation board.
This one is primarily for my “Health” and “Attitude” goals. I have started putting up sticky notes full of inspirational and motivational quotes on the walls surrounding my desk. If I’m ever feeling down or just plain lazy, I can look at those quotes and be reminded of my goals. It really does help, I promise! I even made a sticky note weight loss counter so I can have the joy of tearing off a sticky note each time I lose a pound! It’s the little things that make me happy. And if those little things add up to help me reach and maintain my goals for this year, then it’s all worth it.
5. If necessary, purchase the things you need to help you reach your goals.
Part of one of my goals this year is to get my receipt mess under control. And what do you know, I found the perfect glass jar for corralling receipts in the $1 section at Target! And while I was there, I stopped and picked up a few weights, a jump rope, and a kettlebell, all for under $15 (have I mentioned how much I love the Target $1 section?!?!?) Now I have a home gym to help me get in those workouts even when I can’t make it to the gym or it’s dreary outside and I just want to lay around the house. I got a free mini calendar from my grandparents that’s going to help me see how many days I was on track this month and where I tend to fall short (and I’ll take any excuse I can get to use cute stickers, even if it is to measure my progress on a calendar!). Sure, we may not really “need” any of the things we’re buying, but you have to remember what those things are helping you do. That makes them worth it.
Here’s to a great, successful, healthy, and happy 2015! Now go out and rock those New Year’s Resolutions!