At the dawn of a new year, many people set goals to motivate themselves to change. But as January 1 drifts further into the rearview mirror, it can be easy to settle into old habits and forget about the resolutions and goals established at the turn of the calendar. Staying on course and achieving one’s goals requires discipline. In addition to working hard, people who want to realize their goals in the year ahead can take several steps to increase their chances of being successful.
- Examine your priorities. Achieving goals is easier when the goals can be among your biggest priorities. Examine your priorities to determine if you can fully commit to goals that may require significant time commitments. People who are already stretched thin may need to recalibrate their goals or make changes in other areas of their lives before they can fully commit to pursuing new goals.
- Be specific in regard to planning. Being specific when choosing goals is important, but it’s equally important to be as specific as possible in regard to developing a plan to realize those goals. Figure out how you’re going to achieve these goals; create a new daily or weekly schedule that allots time toward your goals.
- Make note of potential obstacles. Recognizing potential hurdles in advance of their appearance can help you overcome them and stay the course toward achieving your goals. For example, people hoping to lose weight can look ahead to occasions that might compromise their efforts, such as a wedding or backyard barbecue. Recognizing these obstacles gives you a chance to develop a plan to overcome them. In the weight loss example, you can choose vegetarian options from reception menus or resolve to avoid alcohol, which tends to be high in calories.
- Start small, but start immediately. Lifestyle changes can be difficult, so make small changes initially and gradually work toward larger, more significant ones. Starting small can lay a successful foundation, but it’s important to start immediately. Procrastination can reduce the likelihood of achieving your goals and the earlier you get started the more quickly you will adjust to the changes necessary to realize your goals.
The dawn of a new year is a great time to set new goals. Bringing those goals to fruition requires careful planning and commitment.