Many Americans view a new year as a fresh slate, an opportunity to make resolutions and life changes. Yet fewer than ten percent of those people actually achieve their goals.
Did you resolve to lose weight, save money or maybe just to be more organized this year? If you have already abandoned your resolution, don’t despair. It’s never too late to make changes and every day is the right day to work toward your goals.
Some experts say it takes thirty days to form a habit. That means you have to repeat the same activity for thirty days in a row before it becomes part of your lifestyle. If you approach your goals one day at a time, and just keep going, you can turn those resolutions into reality.
Here at VCNB we put together a cheat sheet for sticking with it and following your goals:
Write down your plan. Write down your goal. Write down how you will achieve your goal. Post it somewhere visible and study it regularly.
Identify saboteurs. Sometimes a saboteur is your mother who encourages you to eat just one more cookie or that email from your favorite retailer. It could be a negative co-worker who is happiest when they are raining on someone’s parade. Identify the source and find ways to combat the negativity or temptation they bring to your life.
Buddy System. Find a friend with similar goals and hold each other accountable by swapping tips and lending support.
Baby steps. You didn’t gain the weight overnight. Chances are you did it one bite at a time. That means losing weight can’t happen all at once. Think about small things you can do to reach your goals. If you’re losing weight, don’t try to overhaul your entire diet at once. Instead, start by skipping your nightly dessert and walking through your neighborhood in the evenings.
Schedule time. Make an appointment with yourself to work on goals. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you that your goals are just as important as anything else you will do today.
Celebrate accomplishments. When you reach a milestone, give yourself a small treat. If you’re saving money, give yourself a few bucks to go to the movies or buy that fancy coffee you love so much. Just don’t go overboard and undo your hard work!
Be kind to yourself. Be your own cheerleader. Remind yourself why you started on this journey and replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Achieving goals is about changing habits. Why do you spend too much money? Do you shop when you’re stressed or bored? Why do you smoke? Why do you overeat? Finding the answers to these questions often is key to changing your habits.
Keep record. Make a chart to monitor your debt pay-off. Keep a food diary or use a phone app to monitor calorie intake. Keep a checklist of all the areas in your house that you want to organize this year or write on a calendar each day that you didn’t smoke a cigarette.
Get help. If you are dealing with a serious addiction or a problem that you can’t handle alone, find a support group or seek counseling. There is no prize for struggling alone and there are people and organizations who can help.
Don’t give up. Whatever you do, just keep trying. You most certainly will face obstacles and setbacks but remember not to give up the thing you want most in this world for the thing you want right now.