By Jenny Layton
January has come and gone, and if you’re like most people, your new years resolutions might be starting to collect some dust by now. Some studies show that as little as 8% of New Years Resolutions ever come to be. So what happens to all of that January enthusiasm as the months slip into February, then March? How can we even up the odds, and make our New Years Resolutions a reality? It starts by recognizing some of the biggest mistakes people make when they set goals:
1. Your goals are too much of a stretch.
If you haven’t started working on those goals by now, chances are you are expecting too much out of yourself. Because it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew, it’s okay to scale back the goal once reality sets in. (Scaling back is actually a huge success strategy.) Evaluate the time you really have to dedicate to your goal, and set revised goals that will fit more realistically into your life.
2. Your goals focus on the wrong thing.
Sometimes you just need to adjust the target. For example, you might have hoped to lose 20 pounds by June 1, but if you aren’t seeing any progress yet, consider a different approach. What if you commit to exercising three days a week, and replace soda and sweets with water and fruit? That gives you new, specific action items that are more easily attainable, and you never know – you might just come close to accomplishing your original objective.
3. You don’t post your goals where you can see them daily.
Studies show that you are 40% more likely to accomplish your goals just by writing them down. Daily review of your goals not only helps you look for opportunities to achieve them, it also allows you to grow more comfortable with goals that challenge your current paradigm and take you out of your comfort zone. You feel more confident taking risks, and more motivated to follow through.
4. You are too much of a perfectionist.
It’s human nature to raise the white flag the moment you get off track, or when things don’t go as planned. You might skip the whole workout because you are short on time, or you don’t bother to set goals for the week because it’s already Tuesday and it feels like the week has gotten away from you. That is the kind of thinking that keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be. My motto? “Done is better than perfect.” Work with what you have; utilize the time you’ve got. Successful people start with the resources that are available, and create results where others give up. A partially organized project is still an improvement from before. A half-day of healthy eating puts you ahead of where you’d be if you’d given up at lunchtime. Done is better than perfect – because perfection is a myth. It doesn’t really exist!
5. You don’t give yourself a pat on the back.
We all need to feel recognition for our hard work, and we can’t always count on other people to give it to us. Acknowledge your own achievements with positive self-talk, or by writing about them in your journal, sharing them with a trusted friend, or even treating yourself to something special. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool, and crucial to maintaining momentum when working on your goals.
Did you know there are other powerful tools to help you reach your goals? Click here to learn more about them!