So, you made a few resolutions for the new year, and this year will be different than the rest, this time you will actually follow through and achieve every goal you set for yourself. But let’s talk truth, what’s really different this year vs last year or the year before that? You’re most likely just as motivated, and in all likelihood, you have most if not all the same goals as the year or years prior. What makes this year, “The Year!”? Nothing, because the truth is unless you are willing to make the sacrifices you have yet to be able to make, those resolutions you have tried so hard to achieve over the years just won’t come to fruition. You’ll be motivated for a month or two, and eventually, you’ll find yourself back to your old ways, content with life as it is and waiting for something to happen that will swing the pendulum in your favor instead of taking the initiative and “grabbing the bull by the horns” as they say. Goals aren’t achieved when you feel you’re ready to achieve them; they are only achieved through our sacrifices, hard work, and an inability to give in.
Half of the US population will make a New Year’s resolution (161.5M), 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by the 2nd week of February, and of the 20% that actually make it six weeks, only 8% will follow through and achieve their goal. According to data pulled from Google by iQuanti, the most popular new year’s resolutions are; Get healthy, get organized, live life to the fullest, new hobbies, spend less and save more, and travel.
Whatever your goals are for the new year, you will never succeed by just jumping in head first without a well-thought-out plan. First, start off by writing your goals and why they are important to you. If the purpose of your goal has no substance behind it, in all likelihood eventually you will fail. If I’m looking for a relationship because all my friends are in one, or looking to lose weight or gain muscle because society states I must look a certain way, it won’t take much for me to falter and ultimately fail. Be greedy, New Year’s resolution are to better yourself personally, find a purpose behind your goals that truly has meaning to you and the life you see for yourself.
Once you have defined your goals and why you have to achieve them, you need to plan accordingly. As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in one day”, so slow down and be realistic. Just because you read an article or saw someone on Instagram achieve the same goals as you in 6 weeks doesn’t mean you’re going to as well. There is such a thing as perfect timing and luck; and just because you read it, or someone said that’s how they did it, doesn’t mean its necessarily true. Understand that not all goals are created equally, some things will take time because other changes in your life need to occur before they can be reached. If you’re looking to lose 30lbs, you first are going to have to clean up your diet and dining out habits. If you’re not someone that cooks, its something you’re going to have to experiment with. Losing weight and getting in shape is not just about signing up for a gym and showing up, there are many underlying goals that need to be accomplished as well.
Understand your tendencies and break down your life; how much time can you actually put into your goals, what habits do you need to work on first, and what sacrifices can you make? Once you have defined how your goals fit in your life and the changes that need to occur, create several micro goals within your main macro goal. If your goal is to save 30K during the year, first set a goal of creating a well thought out budget to clean up your spending habits, and create a set amount you plan on saving from every paycheck that you can afford. Secondly, look at alternate opportunities outside your normal job to create passive income, such as a part-time job or maybe make a business out of a passion. Forecast out where you should be at every paycheck all the way to the end of the year.
Another important aspect people seem to forget to take into account when trying to accomplish there New Years Resolution goals is documenting their objectives, progress, and having a calendar so you can consistently evaluate where you are and where you should be. Take the last example of trying to save 30K in a year; Say you followed through on your goals of creating a proper budget and finding a part-time job that gets you to your 30k goal if you’re not consistently evaluating and logging progress how can you expect to stay on track? Like I said before, things rarely ever happen as we plan in life, and you have to be willing and able to make changes as issues arise. If I have a few nights out where I spend well over my budget or medical expenses that are costly, by documenting my progress and consistently evaluating, I can adjust my forecast and budget to get me back on track. If I wait 6 months into the year and realize that I have only saved 10K when I should be at 15K, in all likelihood I’m just going to say screw it and go about my life. Plus, by keeping a log and seeing your progress, it also helps to keep you motivated because you see the tangibles of all your work and sacrifice.
Another great example of why having a log and calendar are so essential in accomplishing our goals is with health and fitness. No one person is created equally in the fitness world, we all have different hormonal outputs, body types, and gain/lose weight differently. What worked for your friend or the person you follow on Instagram may not necessarily work for you. You can start off using their programs as a base, but you need to evaluate your progress weekly to make sure you’re on target. I can’t tell you how often I see people fail simply because they live and die by the scale and one program verse taking everything into account. Don’t just weigh yourself, take pictures and measurements weekly, just because you gained some weight or stayed the same doesn’t mean there wasn’t some progress. Tweak the program you follow as you gain experience. High reps worked for a month, but progress slowed, so now try intermediate or low reps. As your body evolves as you make progress, your diet and program need to as well, and you certainly can’t do that if you’re not documenting everything.
Whether you made a New Years Resolution or not, we all have goals we want to accomplish, and we all fail for the same reasons. First, our goals have to be genuine and hold a meaning or purpose for us. If I set a goal of being a millionaire by the end of the year, but deep down I’m content with life, how can I actually expect to follow through during those moments of failure or struggle? Be realistic with yourself, nothing worth achieving happens overnight. Evaluate who you are, the habits that need to change, and the amount of time you can realistically devote to your goals. Set realistic micro goals to help you reach your overall macro goal and to keep you motivated as you make smaller achievements to get where you want to be. Most importantly, keep a calendar and document your progress to keep you on track. How can you expect to get to where you want if you don’t know where you currently stand?
Remember, as much as it might feel at times that life is in a fixed cycle, every day is an adventure that brings about its own variables. Anything is possible, no one day is the same as the next. Some days will be great and others not so much. Understand that in those low moments where you take a step back or falter, is where you have the chance to learn not only from your mistakes and grow but also who you are when life has you on the ropes. Don’t allow those moments to be the reason you give up on your goals; rise above them, know that the struggle is never over when you are continuously looking to better yourself and that tomorrow is never promised. “The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled”, so stay determined and embrace the struggle to reach your goals, the graveyard is rich enough.