Many of us began the New Year by making a list of resolutions—changes we want to make to improve our lives, such as eating better, volunteering more often, being a more attentive spouse, and so on.
And while most people are capable of sticking with a resolution for the first few days of January, adopting a healthy behavior change in the long-term is more challenging.
If you made a New Year’s resolution, chances are it may be fading from your focus. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and lose sight of your goals as you juggle competing priorities.
And what works best for someone else may not necessarily work for you. Now is a great time to hit refresh and build an approach that works best for you. In doing so, you may find that your goals become more meaningful and achieving them more rewarding.
Getting started with goals
Setting a goal is the first step in the journey towards self-improvement and growth. But before you begin furiously jotting down all the ways you want to improve your life, it is important to take a step back and reflect. Healthy goal setting begins with honesty, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Try closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to ground yourself in the present moment and focus your thoughts. When your goals align with your truest self, you will be more motivated to hold yourself accountable throughout the process.
Engineer and venture capitalist John Doerr recommends taking the time to write down your values, objectives and key results. By establishing the fundamental whats, hows, and whys of your goal, the foundation is in place to take you to the top. Doerr explains more about the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal-setting system in the TED talk below.
More TED Talks like this:
- Why you should define your fears instead of your goals
- The happy secret to better work
- Grit: The power of passion and perseverance
Similar to OKRs, another method of strengthening your goal-achieving abilities is the SMART approach. There are hundreds of interpretations of the acronym, which was first created by George Doran in a 1981 issue of Management Review. Each letter has taken on several meanings since, but the most popular definition is below.
SMART Goals Worksheets: Setting Goals By Own Values and SMART Goal Setting Worksheet
SMART Goals Mobile Application: GoalsOnTrack
Achieving your goals
Gretchen Rubin, four-time New York Times bestselling author, podcaster, and speaker, is an expert on happiness and good habits. In her book Better Than Before, she explains that knowing your tendencies when it comes to habits will help reveal what specific strategies will work for you to develop new ones.
Although it takes work to build a new habit, Rubin believes that once it is set, that positive energy is used to create that happier, stronger, and more productive life. Whether it’s setting up a system of reward, tracking progress down with a journal or app, removing temptations, or stacking new habits on your old ones (such as adjusting your before-bed routine), there are ways to make lifestyle changes as easy as possible.
By using these resources we hope you can approach your resolutions with vigor. Do not be discouraged if one method does not suit you, goal achievement is about perseverance. In the words of Michael Phelps: “There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.”