You’ve probably set new years resolutions or goals in the past and then promptly forgot about them… we all have! In fact, more than 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail with most of them completely abandoned by February. These numbers tell us that meaningful change is hard – for just about everyone. Creating goals can be hard but sticking to them can be even harder.
Why are our goals so hard to make a reality? What can you do to give yourself the best chance of creating meaningful change this year?
Top 10 Tips for Creating Meaningful Change
- Look at your past goals.
The first thing you can do to help yourself is to start to understand how and why your past goals have gotten derailed. Spend a little time thinking about what went wrong. Did you set the bar too high? Expect more of yourself than you could reasonably deliver? Did you write down the steps you needed to do to achieve your goal? Or did you just really just come up with a vague idea of something you wanted to achieve? And at what point did you stop working toward the goal?
The more you can pinpoint why you got off track in the past, the more you’ll understand what you need to do differently to create real change this time around.
- Make it achievable.
We can all tend to be a bit too ambitious when it comes to goal setting. If you take one look at your goal and feel overwhelmed, then you’re probably asking too much of yourself. The truth is we all like quick feedback and rewards, so make your goals something that you can do in a reasonable amount of time. If you have a long-term goal, break it down into shorter-term goals so you can celebrate along the way. Make your journey rewarding and always focus on taking care of yourself throughout the journey.
- Clearly define your goal.
In order for goals to be achievable, they need to be easy to understand and they need to be measurable. Goals like ‘lose weight’ or ‘exercise more’ are a little harder to wrap our heads around than something like ‘lose 5 kg’. It’s important to be specific in order for you to be able to measure your progress. You’ll know when you’ve completed it.
- Find the ‘why’ for your goal. What is your motivation?
Often we know what we want to do, but we might not have really thought about why we’d like to accomplish the goal. We know that people tend to be far more ambitious and determined when they have a purpose for doing something. Maybe you’d like to start practicing self-care as one of your goals. But do you know why yet? Write a list of your motivations that will give your goals meaning – it’ll deepen your commitment to achieving them. Thinking about your ‘why’ might also help you better define your goal, and be more specific about how you can measure and achieve it.
- Set intentions instead of just resolutions.
The classic ‘New Year’s resolutions fail’ story is a common one, but by thinking of your goals in this way you’ll have already set the scene for failure. Instead of just focusing on actions, like ‘go to the gym every day’ – create an intention that helps you look at the bigger picture and addresses your ‘why’. For example ‘move my body for half an hour, in a way that feels good and makes me feel relaxed’.
- Check in with your goal frequently.
It’s easy to create a goal and then forget all about it once normal post-holiday life resumes. It’s important to keep track of your progress to make sure you’re still heading towards your goal. You don’t need to get obsessive or spend too much time worrying about whether or not you’re doing it all correctly. But it’s important to make sure you’re on track and enjoying the journey.
- Work on your mindset.
Goals can be big and they can be daunting – especially if we’ve failed to achieve them before. This can really open the door to self-doubt so it’s important to acknowledge this and give your mind a little love. Optimists are much more likely to achieve what they set out to do. Make sure to factor in some time for working on your mindset and pretty soon you’ll start to notice all the change you’re creating.
- Find a friend with a similar goal.
Humans are social creatures and we love doing things with other people. It’s also very easy to backslide on your goals when no one else is watching so accountability is key. Finding an accountability partner can help make your goal fun and social!
- Make goals and intentions a lifestyle.
It’s easy to think that setting goals and creating change is something people only do in January, but the truth is you can focus on improving your life at any time. When you ditch the ‘all or nothing’ mentality, you’ll find that there are many moments each day when you can work toward the primary goal of feeling better and enjoying your life more. If you miss a day of working out, that’s okay. One day is no big deal in the scheme of a life long commitment to your health and happiness – a week or a month is also no big deal. Just start up again at your first opportunity and stay focused on the big picture, which is meaningful change across your whole life.
- Book it in your diary!
This is very similar to having an accountability partner, allocating the time to achieve your goal is critical if you want to make it a priority.
Find a business that will help you reach your goals, support and encourage you. Chances are they know the pitfalls and know how to help you keep motivated and on track. If your goal is to improve fitness, try booking in some group classes to help you stay motivated and accountable.