And just as frequently these goals are forgotten, put aside or given up on by February 1.
There is a lot of advice our there offering advice on how to be successful with your new year’s resolutions. Here are a few more tips that can help you both pick achievable goals, and then actually achieve them.
Don’t be afraid to pick a big goal.
While goals should be reachable, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Want to run that marathon? Go for it! Need to lose 100 pounds? You can! In fact, having a big goal is motivating and exciting.
Break it down.
The key to success in achieving your BHAG is to start by creating a series of smaller goals that lead you to your final destination.
For example, if you plan to run your first marathon, sit down and create a plan to do so. Not a training plan, but the steps you need to take to get you to your destination.
To run a marathon, some lead up goals might be to build a mileage base, run a few shorter races, join a running club, actually choosing and signing up for a marathon. Write these down, create a timeline, then tick them off as you achieve them, knowing that each is leading you to your larger goal.
Losing weight is such a common resolution, yet it is so rarely achieved. If this is your ultimate goal, whether it is 10 pounds or 100, start by planning your smaller goals. Don’t just say just want to lose 10 pounds a month, say something like I will lose 10 pounds in the next six weeks. To do that I will eat smaller portions, take a daily walk, and choose healthier snacks. It can be broken down even further. This week I will skip fast food by bringing lunches to work. I will go to the gym three times and walk or run at least four times.
These are all small, achievable goals that will take you where you want to go. You must take the time to plan, think them out, and write them down before you start.
Hold yourself accountable
Believe me. You will not achieve lasting success with your goals if you do not find some way to hold yourself accountable. You need to own your resolutions, be proud of yourself for attempting to make these huge changes in your life.
Let me tell you a little story. I smoked cigarettes for almost 20 years. I made the usual attempts to quit. I even stopped altogether for a few years (while I had babies..stupid to smoke but not that stupid). I always started up again.
What was I doing wrong? I finally announced to everyone I knew that I was going to quit. I didn’t ask them to call me out, but simply the fact that they knew helped me to stick with it.
This was a long time ago. These days a great way to hold yourself publicly accountable is to start a blog dedicated to achieving your goal, where you can post your successes, vocalize your fears and get feedback from your readers.
If a public blog isn’t your cup of tea, a journal or log is still a great way to track your success and motivate yourself. If you know you have to write it down you’re much less likely to eat that second dessert, skip that workout, or strike that match, even if you are the only one reading.
Remember: S*%t Happens
There are obstacles in our path no matter what we are doing, so you can expect that there will be challenges along the road to your goal. Realizing this before you start will help you overcome the obstacles. Injury, job changes, divorce, are all things that can throw a wrench in your plans, so prepare ahead of time so they won’t throw you off your stride.
Think about this, write it down so you’ll have it to refer to. How will you make your goal a priority on spite of the challenges?
And remember. If you do miss a workout, give in to the urge for a second dessert, smoke a cigarette, or generally lose track of your goal for a day or even a week, it is not over. Don’t give up. Get right back on it, forgive yourself, and move on, keeping both the small goals and your BHAG in mind.
What is your BHAG? The new year is upon us. What is your goal, resolution, or plan for 2014?
I’ll get us started by sharing mine. My first step to keep myself accountable. I want to run a marathon in 2014. It has been about seven years since my last one, and I haven’t really wanted to start the training again (ugh, 20 milers), but lately I’ve been feeling the bug. I haven’t picked one yet (suggestions?), but I’ll announce right here, right now, marathon #36, here I come!