To finally quit smoking, shed extra kilos, and climb the corporate ladder are just some of the New Year’s resolutions that many of us have committed to at one time or another. But in many cases our willingness to carry through with these promises becomes another story. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to set your new goals properly.
We often set ourselves overly ambitious goals that are very hard to reach and that will lead to disappointment when no progress is made after some time. It therefore makes good sense to break goals down into stages. This way the actual goal itself is no longer too far out of reach, and you have the chance to reward yourself for having reached interim stages along the way. Celebrate having kept smaller resolutions and enjoy the motivation that comes with it.
Many resolutions are too vaguely formulated. Setting a specific and measurable goal and then being disappointed in not having reached it can be very upsetting. However, formulating your resolutions precisely can make it easier for you to check your progress. For example, instead of telling yourself to "do more sports," you can tell yourself to do sports "so and so many times a week."
Make a list
Visualise your goals by listing them. This helps you to be specific in when and how you intend to live up to your resolutions and allows you to set priorities. It also helps to make a note on how motivated you are to reach these goals. Refer to your list whenever you have the feeling that you're falling behind in what you’ve planned.
Look for help
Family and friends can be of great help when it comes to living up to your resolutions. Tell those close to you about your intentions and ask them for support. Perhaps there’s someone likeminded around you with similar ambitions, in which case you can use this chance to reach the goals together.
Do not reproach yourself
Even if you are well prepared and highly motivated at first, you may not keep your resolutions. In this case, you need to accept the fact that your enthusiasm has dwindled in the course of time and refrain from reproaching yourself. Make a note on what prevented you from reaching your goals and think about how to deal with that fact. Set a new date and start over – without feeling guilty about it.