I love when December comes and I start making my list of goals for the impending year…. it gives us an opportunity to put right the wrongs, to start again, to finish what we started…. Why is it then a lot of us will make resolutions but not follow through.
For the past two years, I’ve failed at the same goal – to read one book a month – yes just one book, shameful I know! But, what I’ve realised is that goals are something to attain but once we’ve got there (if indeed we do at all) there’s usually no motivation to carry on.
Answer: It’s our HABITS we need to focus on not our goals.
By definition a habit is a routine or a practice. It’s what you do and who you are.
Read on to see how you can change your habits and achieve those goals once and for all.
1 – Review your goals regularly
Why only on new years do we set these goals? I get it, it’s a new year so the start of a new you. But, many of us forget our goals, as soon as we’ve almost started.
We should review our goals every quarter, or at least after 6 months.
Go through your list of goals and analyse what has worked, what hasn’t, why it hasn’t and what you need to do to get back on track.
2 – Don’t just say it
Write your goals down. Simply saying them out loud doesn’t work.
One year Mr P and I wrote down our goals and I stuck them in the front page of my diary so I could see them every day.
It’s also easy to forget what your goals are if you have a few of them. So either get typing or get writing.
3 – Phrase them differently
One of the most common goals people have is “to lose weight”. This goal is simply too vague, not motivating enough and it certainly won’t change your habits. It’s a worthy goal but actually made up of many little goals, e.g. “I will exercise three times a week” or “I will log my calories for a month”
With my goal of reading more books, instead of writing, “I will read a book a month”, I wrote, “I will read three nights a week”. This way I didn’t feel as bad when I didn’t finish the book by the end of the month, but its still creating a change in habits.
4 – Involve others
Share your goals with your friends and family. This encourages you to change your habits in order to achieve them.
A few years ago, Mr P, his brother and I all decided we wanted to lose weight so we had a wager that whoever lost a certain amount of weight by the end of the year would be gifted something of their choice. I won of course. But this healthy competition made it easier for me to change, in order for me to stick to my goals.
You can also share your goals on social media, just for that added pressure of adhering to them!
5 – Mix up your goals
Its good to have both short, and long-term goals. This makes it more likely to achieve the longer terms goals and is less overwhelming. Make sure to CELEBRATE the small goals along the way.
6 – Make daily goals
Waking up each morning and writing down a daily list of goals will no doubt help you accomplish the bigger picture.
Write down at least three things you have to get done that day. At the end of the day, come back to the list and tick off the completed tasks.
The satisfaction I get from putting a tick next to that task is like running home from the station, fumbling desperately with your keys to finally reach the toilet.
7 – Make monthly goals
If changing habits long term is not your thing and you’re looking for something different why not make 12 monthly goals instead.
Maybe March will be the month you give up sugar for lent, perhaps August will be the month you start and finish a book. You could even extend the same goal all the way through, e.g. reading a book for every month of the year.
Something that restarts or changes each month, gives us a new challenge we are more likely to adhere too.
So if its short monthly goals you’re into, go ahead and set your goals.
But if you’re looking for long term change, break it down and start focusing on changing your habits.
Once your habits change, your actions will change and you will be grinning with accomplishment come December 2018.