Ah, January. For many of us it starts off so strong with high hopes and visions for the new year. We tell ourselves, “new year, new me!” and think some miraculous changes are going to take place come January 1st. Unfortunately, it’s no secret that most goals and resolutions that people make, especially for the new year, don’t last. We don’t have a real plan, don’t prepare for the “lazy” days, and slowly lose sight of our mission. Also, January 1st sounds like such a sexy date to start something new. But to actually create a habit of this new thing when it’s no longer so new, and keep at it on a random date like January 22nd? Or March 1st? Or June 12th? Doesn’t sound as sexy, does it?
We’ve all been in this familiar place, and COVID-19’s effect on our mood and motivation levels adds an extra layer to it all. So I did some research to come up with 7 tangible ways to stay on track with your goals, whether they are new for the new year, or something you’ve been working on for several years. These methods are both action-based and mindset-based, so you can tackle your goals with a powerful double-edged sword.
1. Set calendar invites to check in with yourself.
The same way you have check in meetings with your team at work or classmates at school, set time on your own calendar to check in with yourself. Decide on a frequency that will help you stay accountable. Once a week? A few times a quarter? Perhaps a mid-year check in on July 1st? Think about it and set them well in advance. Add whatever details you want to the calendar invite that will help you stay on track. When the invite pops up, don’t rush to dismiss it! Be honest about your progress and remain non-judgmental. There’s also a bunch of apps that can help you track your productivity and goals, if you want to take it a step further. Take a look at a few currently available here.
2. Envision the highest version of yourself. What would they think about your progress (or lack thereof)?
This tactic actually has two benefits. Once you envision the highest version of yourself (get as specific as possible), the person operating at maximum potential, you’ve officially manifested them into existence. That person is out there in the universe, you just have to expand your mindset in order to get to them.
The second benefit is that you now have this person as a benchmark for everything that you do or don’t do. The only person we should compare ourselves to is ourselves. Who we were and who we want to be. Use the latter as your motivator. What would they think about your goals? Would they be impressed with your progress? Would they decide to change something halfway through because it’s actually not serving you like you thought?
3. Clearly define your “why.”
Sure, you want to lose 20 pounds. But why? You want to get a new job and earn more money. Why? You want to start that business you’ve been dreaming about for years. Why? This is honestly why (lol) I think so many goals and resolutions fail. Our “why” isn’t clearly defined. We do things for vague reasons or when we only care 50% about them. The reason doesn’t have to be something super grand or deep. But it has to matter to you and it should be defined very specifically. So the next time you’re telling yourself you want to do something, define why. You might be surprised at where the answer leads you.
4. Tell someone about your plans.
This is a no-brainer. The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Loop in a friend who you can count on to be your accountability buddy. Tell a loved one, boss, or teacher. If you don’t work with a coach, consider hiring one! Get them involved and have them keep you accountable. Bottom line though, don’t just keep your goals all to yourself. You don’t have to tackle them alone.
5. Do your least favorite task early in your day or week.
Want to get healthier but dread working out? Get it over with first thing in the morning. Aiming to read more books this year? Read a chapter or two from Monday-Wednesday of each week before your weekend plans kick in. Working on a new business plan? Dedicate an hour in the morning before your day job begins. This method, which is also known as the “eat the frog” technique, promotes the idea that getting your least favorite task done first (during your most productive hours of the day) is incredibly beneficial. It is easy to implement, helps you feel more accomplished towards your larger goals, and further motivates you to keep pursuing them.
6. Don’t be tied to the myth of 24/7 motivation.
We’ve discussed this before, and I believe in it so much that it’s one of my mantras in my last blog post, 5 Mantras to Remember When Making Your 2022 Resolutions. As much as we like to think otherwise, none of us will be motivated 24/7 to do things that are good for us. Motivation is driven by emotion and mood, and is therefore very unpredictable. You could wake up to the sun shining, which affects your mood and gets you pumped to tackle your workout. But you could also wake up to a cold and dark day, which also affects your mood, and you say to yourself, “maybe I’ll just workout tomorrow.” You’re human. It happens.
An alternative would be to forget about the idea of 24/7 motivation altogether. There are so many times I do sh*t that contributes to my bigger picture that I absolutely don’t want to do. I’m not going to lie, as much as I enjoy writing, putting together these articles every month can sometimes feel like a chore to me. There’s no denying that it can feel like work!! But I’ve let go of thinking I need to love it all the time. And that actually helps me get over it and get it done sooner! Just because something is good for us doesn’t mean we will always want to do it. Be okay with that concept, do it anyway, and watch yourself feel discipline instead.
7. Remember that real change doesn’t revolve around dates or seasons.
As appealing as it sounds to start a new goal or resolution on the first day of the month or the first month of the year, it actually doesn’t matter at all. Change starts when we want it to. Growth is up to us to facilitate. So avoid falling into the trap of telling yourself you’ll start next week or next month or next year. Actionable steps in the moment are more important than some vanity date.
There you have it. I hope this roundup of 7 tactics helps you actually follow through on the goals and visions you have set for yourself this year. Rest when you need to, push yourself harder when you need to, and remember that there are ebbs and flows to all of our progress. But let’s make a promise to ourselves that this year will be different from previous years when it comes to sticking with what we say we will do. The power lies within each of us to take ourselves to the next level.
If you’re looking for a coach to help you create an action plan for your goals, keep you accountable, or just someone with an objective perspective that you can brainstorm with, click here to book a 1:1 coaching consultation with me.