As we welcome a new year, it marks a new beginning, a time to renew ourselves and our commitment to what is most important in our lives, and the opportunity to create new habits and to change old ways.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions as a way to start again. The problem is that many of us make resolutions that are too big and lofty. We work on them for 1-2 months and then our commitment disappears.
In honor of making a commitment to a new you, here are some helpful tips to making goals that you can keep throughout the whole year, not just for a couple of months.
Step 1: Dream of your ultimate goal for the year.
Close your eyes and picture yourself having newly achieved your goal. Take a moment and imagine what it feels like to achieve your goal. Notice who is around you. Notice what you see, hear, smell and maybe even taste once you have achieved your goal. Utilizing all 5 senses while envisioning your goal will make it real and give you a clear end in mind.
Step 2: Split up your yearly goal into 12 smaller, monthly goals.
Having a goal in mind is powerful, but it is not enough without taking the steps toward achieving it. When setting a monthly goal, be specific on what it will look like when you have achieved your goal for the month.
For example, my yearly goal is to be more healthy and physically fit. I set a monthly goal to go to the gym at least 12 times. I will know when I have achieved my monthly goal by marking off 12 visits to the gym.
Step 3: Narrow your goal even more into a weekly goal.
Tasks that can be done in the near future are easy to track. And when you achieve smaller tasks, you will feel more confident and motivated to keep working toward your monthly goal.
In order to meet my goal of going to the gym 12 times a month, I set a weekly goal of going to the gym 3 times a week. If I achieve my weekly goal of going 3 times a week, then I will meet my goal of going 12 times a month.
Breaking the goal down into smaller pieces makes it more possible for me to achieve it and again reminds me of what I’m working toward.
Step 4: Schedule your tasks in your calendar.
For my goal of going to the gym 3 times a week, I schedule 3 specific times in my calendar when I will be going each week this month. I will do the same for the next month.
Robin Sharma, a popular author, says that if you do not schedule it, then it will not get done! Take time each week to schedule your smaller tasks in your phone or your planner so they get done.
If you miss an appointment for one of your weekly tasks, then make sure you reschedule it for another time during the week.
Once a week, review your achieved weekly tasks, make adjustments as needed, and schedule for the next week. I update my calendar every Sunday evening for the following week.
Step 5: Reward yourself.
Decide on a reward for completing your weekly tasks. If you need extra motivation, you can decide on a smaller reward each time you complete your task.
For example, each time I go to the gym, I set aside $2 to use for lunch at the end of the week. I am motivated by going out to eat, and setting aside $2 each time I visit the gym motivates me to keep going so I can go out to eat on Friday.
If you don’t need smaller motivators to keep going, you can create a weekly incentive for when you have accomplished your weekly goals. Make sure that incentive is not something that defeats the purpose of your goal, such as me having four bowls of ice cream when I work out at the gym 3 times a week!
Every year, NeuroTherapy and Trauma Center of Utah uses a similar strategy for achieving our business goals. We start out the year by envisioning successes that we will have, then we break them down by month and by week.
We have found this strategy to be very useful and teach this approach to our clients. Many of our clients are using small weekly tasks to achieve great successes in their life, whether it be to conquer depression or to be sharper at work to get a promotion. We are seeing amazing results with people who stick to their plan and find the proper motivation to continue.
Let us know how you are doing with your goals by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.
If you have additional questions for our therapists, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great year in 2018!
Jeff Bright, LCSW, BCN