Goal setting is shown to help with positive changes in behavior. [1] And at the beginning of each year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions of keeping them. As the weeks go on however, life tends to get in the way, or we simply become frustrated to the point of giving up on our goals. If this sounds like you, and you want this year to be different, these tips can help you to be successful.

1. Set Realistic and Specific Goals

Many people resolve to lose weight in the coming year, but a generalized goal like that can be an obstacle in itself. Instead, you should break goals into smaller, specific “chunks” to avoid setting a seemingly unrealistic goal for yourself. For example, instead of saying you want to be thin again, or pledging to lose 50 pounds, set your first goal for 10 pounds of fat loss over 3 months, for example.

2. Partner with Others

It can be more difficult to achieve a goal when there’s no social support. By partnering up with a friend or colleague, you can work on your goals and support one another. Online communities are proven to be helpful too.[2] Just be sure your friend or partners are as invested in achieving the goal, and that they truly have your best interests in mind.

3. Schedule Times to Work at Your Goal

Whether your resolution is to exercise more, spend more time with family, or work toward a creative project, you’ll require time to devote to your resolution. This can be especially difficult in today’s fast-paced world. One of the best thing to do is schedule times and mark them down in your calendar, as you would with any other appointment.

4. Reward Your Accomplishments

As you make progress toward reaching your goal, look for ways to reward yourself and celebrate small victories. And it’s important find ways to reward yourself that don’t sabotage your efforts. For instance, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, it may not be the best idea to reward yourself with fattening food! Instead, buy yourself that new book you’ve wanted to read.

5. Seek Out Motivational Messages

There are hundreds of motivational images and videos to be found online. You can print or write out some inspirational quotes from these sources to post on your walls or on your desk. Inspirational messages can help you to stay motivated and keep you in a more productive mindset, especially when you leave them someplace you’re likely to see them frequently.

6. Share Your Progress

Social media serves many purposes including helping people achieve their goals. By posting your progress, you’ll may be more apt to strive for success. You’ll also potentially feel obligated to continue to improve and that can be a powerful motivator, especially as your friends and followers offer their support to continue! You may even find that you’re inspiring others to work towards their own goals. The uplifting feelings that experience provides will motivate you to work harder.

7. Keep Track of Your Progress

If you don’t find some way to measure the progress you’re making, you’re likely to give up on your New Year’s resolution that much sooner. This is because it’s easy to feel as though your hard work isn’t really earning the expected payoff. If you can measure your achievements, it will be easier to see that your work really is having that payoff, and that will urge you to keep moving forward.

As the year moves forward, achieving your resolution doesn’t have to feel unattainable. If you can break your resolution down into smaller, measurable goals, and create a system for measuring your progress, it will be easier to stay motivated. Before you know it, the year will be over and you will be ready to tackle a new resolution!

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904755/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060773/