How I Changed the Way I look at New Years Resolutions

Boy and girl in park learning to ride a bike

New Years Resolutions have been around for thousands of years. In the past, the tradition was to ‘discover’ what you should ‘resolve’ to do in the following year by reflecting on the past year and seeing where you can improve upon yourself.

These days New Years Resolutions seem to be focused on “goals” to achieve. Specific goals like “Get out of debt” or “Lose 20 lbs” are great in theory, but everyone knows that they are difficult to achieve, and there are many reasons why this might be.

Maybe the goal was set too big to be realistic. Maybe you are so busy you just can’t find the time to dedicate to achieving your goal. You might be caught in a habit that is incredibly hard to get yourself out of.

For me, I have spent the last two years trying to master the art of goal setting, and this is what I discovered: Taking small steps towards the goal is the best way for me to stay motivated and working towards my goals throughout the year.

Here is a common example:

Goal: 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week

If you set this goal, you are literally going from
zero minutes to 150 minutes of exercise per week.

That’s actually a very BIG step!

And when you don’t fulfill this “goal”, which was actually a huge change, you catch yourself thinking:

“I am failing at achieving my goal. I am no good at this.

Personally, when I get into this mindset, I begin to feel bad about myself and my ability to achieve my goals, which leads to a downward spiral ending with self-criticism and guilt and a desire to give up.

So I have decided on a Two-Step Process to Achieving my Goals:

  1. Set very reasonable Small goals that work towards your Big goal.
  2. Celebrate every time you achieve!

Instead of starting my exercise routine with 30 minutes x 5 days a week, I am working towards it by starting with smaller steps.

I am giving myself as much time as I need to get there.

Now my exercise schedule looks more like this:

Week One: 5 minutes of exercise on weekdays.
Week Two: 10 minutes of exercise on weekdays.
Week Three: 15 minutes of exercise on weekdays.

That’s it! I know I can do this.

At this rate, it will take 6 weeks to work my way up to my goal.

But using this method, I am setting up a goal that I truly believe is possible so that I can get the momentum started.

Are there goals that you have that you might be setting the bar too high at first?

Check your resolutions, and perhaps working your way up to your goal will help you to achieve them!

And Good Luck!

LaceyWilliams-web– Lacey Williams
Enterprise Business ’05

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