At the end of each year, people usually look at the previous twelve months and think about turning the page in the new year. But good resolutions usually don’t last very long, so how can you stay motivated?
How to consider your good resolutions in January
According to a study by statistic brain, more than 90% of all good resolutions end in disappointment and usually get abandoned by February (source: statistic brain). But despite these odds, more than a third try to better themselves each January.
And why not? It’s not a bad thing to look at your private life or your profession, identify pain points and try to optimize. But to avoid resignation, I’d like to give you a few pointers what to do and what to avoid, so you can keep the good resolutions going till December.
By the way, most if not all following tips also help with tasks and projects because in the end it’s all about achieving your goals by being realistic, motivated and flexible.
Divide your goals into realistic smaller goals
It’s not easy to start something new or get rid of an old habit. However, planning and strategizing will make any goal achievable by dividing it into smaller steps that not only keep you motivated but also give you a clear overview on what needs to be done, to be successful.
For example, if you want to learn a new language, it’s easier to find out how to best learn a new language and then set smaller goals in-between (learn 100 words, be able to have small talk, write a letter in that language).
Document your progress and compare with benchmarks
Ambitious goals can be hard to achieve, especially, when there’s a hurdle or when it seems as if you can’t gain momentum.
Losing weight, for example, usually comes with a phase when despite changed eating habits or more sport, you will not lose weight. That’s normal, though, and no reason to give up.
I would therefore advise you to compare your goals with benchmarks. Try to see how realistic your goals are and what is normal at each stage of the process to achieve and under which circumstances.
By the way, this also works wonders when setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for your marketing or sales goals. Base your numbers on realistic benchmarks to avoid frustration and resignation.
Adapt your goals before you give up
Sometimes, a goal is simply too ambitious. It might have seemed like a good idea five minutes after midnight on January 1st but three weeks into the new year, you realize that that marathon training is impossible next to work, family and other interests.
Don’t give up now, take stock: why is it impossible to reach your goal and how can you maybe adapt your goal (or your strategy to get there), so it fits better with your daily routines and your responsibilities?
This certainly adapts well to your job as well. If a certain goal can’t be achieved because you have too many other priorities, have not enough budget or otherwise – adjust your goal.
Start slow and then gain momentum
Here’s a tip that seems extremely obvious: if you want to run a marathon but never even jogged before, don’t try to run 42 kilometers (or 26 miles) on January 2nd, in the freezing cold. Your body will not allow you to. Instead, start slow, get into the routine of running and slowly, smoothly take longer distances.
This way, you won’t give up after a week because it seems impossible, but you’ll also integrate your new routine into your life and become accustomed to it.
Last but not least: one resolution is better than none
A whole list of good resolutions might be something fun to come up with but as soon as you get back to your daily life, it will seem like a mountain to overcome. Try to prioritize and think of the one thing you really would like to tackle this year. Try this first and keep the rest of your solutions on the back burner. You don’t have to do everything at once. Learning a new language while training for that marathon, writing that novel and redecorating the whole house might sound attractive in theory but is next to impossible to do when you have to go work, spend time with friends and family, do daily chores, etc.
Again, this is crucial for work projects and goals as well: prioritize your goals and put your energy into the most important ones before you try to handle everything at once.
Start doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. (Francis of Assisi)
The holiday season is a time for giving, that’s why I’m giving you the best practices for good resolutions as an infographic to share or keep close to your desk to keep an eye on what’s important if you want to achieve your goals. You can download the PDF here.
And with that, I wish you Happy Holidays and a lovely New Year!