With the New Year, many people make New Year’s Resolutions. But as the month of January progresses, people begin to meet obstacles on the way to achieving their resolutions. These obstacles discourage people, and often, the first time they hit an obstacle, the resolution ends. The same thing happens all year with any goals, whether you start them in January or July. There are ways to conquer these challenges, though. It really is quite simple. All you have to do is set clear goals, make a plan, and not let yourself get too discouraged.
Setting your goals
When you make a resolution, the very first thing to do is make sure that you have a clear goal. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight!” try something like “I’m going to lose five pounds each month,” or, “I’m going to lose 70 pounds by the end of the year.” Instead of saying “I’m going to save money!” try “I’m going to save $500 a month” or “I’m going to save $10,000 this year.” A good goal has three main characteristics. It is specific, measurable, and achievable. Making the goals specific gives you the ability to make a plan to achieve that goal. A measurable goal is a goal you can track. When you start to think that you’re not making progress, a measurable goal lets you stop and see that you’ve already lost three pounds this month or that you’ve already saved $3,000 by February.
Making a plan
Not having a plan will stop any resolution in its tracks. It’s easy to say that you want to lose five pounds a month, but before you know it, it’s January 27th, and you’ve actually gained two pounds. What happened? You might not have had a plan. If you want to lose weight, there are a couple of things you need to do for it to happen. You need to exercise, and you need to eat right. It’s also important to remember that your plan is your plan, not your neighbor’s plan, not your mom’s plan, not your best friend’s plan. Your plan to achieve your goals is your plan. Make sure that you have adapted your plan to your own circumstances. If you have bad knees, you might try swimming instead of running to lose weight. If you have small paychecks, you might try spending $15 less on groceries instead of setting aside $500 from your paycheck.
Don’t get discouraged
Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go your way. If you missed one of the benchmarks you had set, that’s okay. It’s okay to mess up every once in a while, that’s a part of being human. The important part is to get back up again. If you didn’t make your 5-pound goal for the month, that’s okay. If you didn’t hit $500 for the month, that’s okay. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. That means you’ve found a perfect learning opportunity. What happened that led to you not achieving your goal? Was it difficult to motivate yourself in the morning to get to the gym every day to exercise? That’s okay. Now you know one thing that keeps you from exercise, and you can try going to the gym in the evening instead. It’s not how many times you get knocked down, getting up one more time.
What you want is within reach. Go out and get it. Set a specific, measurable, and achievable goal, make a plan, and get back up when you get knocked down.