I don’t make New Year Resolutions. I used to, I would make them and then never be able to accomplish them. Over the years I starting thinking about it and decided not to make them anymore. I started setting goals for myself instead. Some people may look at resolutions and say but they are goals. Essentially they are. But to me there is a difference. I look at resolutions as these big goals you want to reach by the end of the year while goals can be as easy as simple tasks.
And that’s okay. The problem is, there is rarely any planning behind these resolutions. Humans are creatures of habit whether they are good or bad or neither of the two. But the only way you are going to reach those big goals, is to change your habits. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s why all my resolutions have always failed.
Setting goals instead
I look at goals like stepping stones and I can make plans for them. Setting goals that are easily achievable helps make me stay motivated to keep going. I set these goals to reach other goals and so on and so on. And my goals sometime change too. I set goals throughout the whole year so I am always working toward something. It’s so much easier to say “My resolution this year is to lose weight (and throw in a weight goal)”. This has never worked for me. Or how about when it comes to blogging? I could say “My resolution this year is to write two new blog posts (other than reviews) a week”. Yeah, that never works for me either.
I may want to say I plan on getting more sleep, going to bed earlier on a regular basis. I know I could sure use more sleep, I don’t get enough. But I also know that just isn’t going to happen either. Some may tell me that maybe if I wasn’t negative about them and didn’t already expect resolutions to fail, they might actually work. Yeah, maybe. But for me they fail because I can’t break silly habits. I don’t have a plan behind them. But with goals I do.
Breaking those pesky habits
Lets say I want to focus on getting more sleep. Well, Netflix is a very bad habit for me. Binge watching Shameless certainly isn’t going to allow me to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I also have this annoying habit of not being able to turn my brain off at night when I finally turn the lights off. I have to think about everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Why do I have to think about what I am going to make for dinner the next evening? It is so annoying!
So if I want to have a goal of getting to bed at a reasonable hour, I need to break these habits for it to even work. So I set some simple goals. Whether it’s limiting myself to how often I watch Netflix at night or making myself listening to some white noise in the dark before heading off to dreamland to maybe shut my brain off.
Make a plan
Make plans for your goals. For me when it comes to working out, losing weight, or eating right I struggle. I drink more Mtn Dew than I care to admit. For the most part I don’t eat much junk. My problem is, I just don’t always have the time to eat like I should. Set some goals that are easy to achieve to break those habits. Eventually you may be able to change those habits.
Part of my planning is to know how I respond to certain goals. For example, I personally have never responded well to goals that I set with a weight target if that happens to be my focus. I don’t even consider weight because I feel down on myself if I never reach those kind of goals and so they are never successful. I plan goals to be about how many sets am I going to do in my workout, or how many miles am I going to go on my elliptical. Then I go from there.
This should probably go before making a plan. What kind of goals are you looking to accomplish? Personal goals, lifestyle goals, job goals, blogging goals, or even family goals? List what you want to accomplish. Then make sub lists for each one if necessary. I find this easier for me when I am setting my small goals using those sub lists. For example, at end of summer, we like to put back a little extra money for the following summer.
My husband and I make a list of some places we may like to check out. Then we set a monthly goal of how much to save. We go monthly and we don’t have a set end goal. Things happen and sometimes we can’t reach our monthly goal. That’s just life. This way we don’t feel so bad if we can’t reach our goal for the month. We have a list of different places for that reason.
Another example is when it comes to my blogging. I might set a goal of two blog posts other than reviews or giveaways. This isn’t always easy to do. I’m sure other bloggers know what I am talking about when it comes to having dry spells, writers block, etc. Instead of just giving myself a number of posts, I make a list of topics I would like to write about. And then sub lists for each topic. Instead of focusing on a number of posts and getting frustrated causing a dry spell, I can look through my lists so I always have some ideas. So instead of a goal to write 2 blog posts this week, I have a goal to write down 3 blog topics this week.
Look back at your accomplishments
Before thinking about what kind of goals you want to set, think about your past accomplishments. By looking back, you may feel a bit more optimistic and feel good about yourself before you even set those goals you want to set.
Goals can be stepping stones, you could also look at them as tasks instead
When you set goals, make them as simple as you can. Ones that are very achievable. This is what I do. These goals can be used as stepping stones. Once you reach one, you can set another and another to reach something even bigger. What’s even better is that you can look at them as nothing more than tasks that need to be done. Aim low when setting these goals. I know, I know. By putting it that way, it sounds like I am saying you shouldn’t think high enough of yourself. That’s not what I am saying at all. It’s okay to aim low. Keeping goals simple means that you can achieve them and step onto the next one. Each time you reach even further.
I know for me if I set the bar too high, I am probably not going to stay motivated to keep going. I achieve better when I am focusing on easy tasks to get there. By doing it this way, It also makes it easier to change those habits I mentioned earlier. Again, those habits are part of why resolutions don’t work for me. New behaviors that don’t come naturally take time.
There is one resolution that you should make though…
I am not saying resolutions are bad. Or something you should not do. I think if you are driven by an ultimate end goal and don’t get flustered or frustrated by seeing this huge end goal then I say go for it. But you should have some planning behind it to increase your success. I am one of those people that doesn’t work well with a huge end goal which is why I don’t set them (making resolutions). I see it an feel like I will never get there. That’s why I am so big on goals. I can always be working on goals and reaching further. Maybe even beyond what I might have made as a resolution if I made any.
Regardless, you should always at least make this one: Always stick to achievable goals and break them down into doable tasks.
So start small and simple, make a plan, and reach to achieve!