New Year’s resolutions are one of the most pointless trends I see year in and year out. I don’t mean this negatively at all, I just see people set great long term goals for themselves and then burn out after a few weeks and regress back to their old habits. Choosing a resolution is tremendous, but the vagueness of the goal and the often long period of time it will take to achieve it turns people away before they even begin to gain momentum. In order to make these ambitious goals work, make sure you have achievable daily or weekly goals in place to make sure you stay the course and remain motivated for the long haul.
Simply stating that you plan on going to the gym this year will do nothing for you. Every year, the classic wave of resolutioners flood gyms everywhere to try and lead a healthier lifestyle. But after a month or even less, the gym is back to its regular members and the hype has died down. Why is this the case? Well, 95% of the people who made the goal of hitting the gym had no specific, attainable goals in place to accompany the resolution. Instead, set a goal of 2 gym sessions a week for the first month. After a few weeks of hitting your goal, you will start to build some momentum and fall in love with the process. From there, you can even increase your number to 3 times per week as you gain some endurance and get your feel back. Before long, the trip to the gym will become a normal part of your routine and you will even start looking forward to the release of exercising.
The same can be said for any goal you set for yourself. Make a long term goal, and then stick it in the back of your mind and trade that goal for a series of short term goals. If you want to, let’s say, achieve a 3.8 GPA this semester, that is great. Hold yourself to that, but then begin focusing in on the micro aspects of this goal. Each day, make it a goal to set aside 1 hour of studying or reading. Couple that with a goal of finishing each homework assignment before its due date, and you’ll soon fall into a nice little routine. Before long, you will be extra prepared for your next exam, and you will have the confidence to walk into the exam stress free and achieve a terrific grade.
This simple yet effective strategy applies to any goal you set for yourself. If you stick to hitting those daily goals, the long term goal will seem much more attainable than you ever thought possible. And who knows, maybe you underestimate yourself and wind up blowing your original goal out of the water. Make this the year that your resolution sticks and you change your habits for the better!