We all know what time of the year it is: Everyone is setting personal goals or is hopefully chasing them already, gyms have record-high sign-ups and we are all full of good intentions to do everything differently in the coming 12 months. So much hope and positive vibes around – isn’t that great! There seems to be something about January that has this magic spark similar to an early morning – which it kind of is, if we would view the year as a day. So as we all know how important the first hour of a day is, I want to add to that January motivation with some of my thoughts and learnings around setting new year’s resolutions to help you accomplish yours for 2022, and beyond.
Start by reviewing last year’s goals
If you haven’t already, before you get into the joy of setting ambitious targets for the year ahead, take some time to review the ones you have set in the year before. Check how many you have achieved, how many of them you completely neglected or forgot about, but also think of goals that you have achieved but have not written down. Figuring out a ratio of achieved goals should give you an idea of what number might be realistic for the new year. Also considering goals you have achieved without setting them, can broaden your horizon in terms of goal setting and give you a better idea of the direction of your future goals. This should give you some space to reflect – maybe you have set some of your goals just based on other people’s expectations but then rather followed the ones closer to your actual passion instead.
Less is more
If you are like me, and this is despite all kinds of personal development experience and tools at hand - the review of your goals showed you that you might have set too many of them rather than too little. It’s okay to aim high, actually, I always think you should, but just increasing the number of goals each year will often leave you not achieving most of them and losing focus of the goals that matter! With this in mind, keep it simple. Perhaps having around 10 well-thought-out goals for the year ahead sounds right to me.
Think about a system to get there
So now that you hopefully have a list of goals that feel right to you, don’t stop here! Too many times we set these bold and ambitious new year’s resolutions without ever thinking of what actions it will take each day to get there – dividing your goal by 365, so to speak. Of course, that does not work for every goal and we will most likely not know what is exactly needed on a daily basis to achieve a certain goal. But it will give us a good idea of what daily habits we will have to implement to create a system that makes working on our goals easier. Apart from that, it will make our goals seem more realistic and most importantly it will push you to take the first step.
Okay, I get it, this one sounds kind of obvious and you have probably read it countless times before. Yet, I still felt the need to keep it in here as it is the most important thing each of us can do to make our goals a reality! It can help a lot to commit in a way that involves another person: Find a friend that is already going to the gym and set a date when you will first go together, send the application for that new job or write that first page of your book and send it to someone for feedback. Starting something new isn’t easy, so pushing ourselves a bit by committing will most likely help!
“Commit first, figure the rest out later.”
That is a quote I read somewhere on the internet a while ago and as simple as it sounds, it still helped me to take the first step with many personal goals and new habits.
Even after you have started, it can happen however that life gets in the way, your motivation fades after a few weeks or you simply forget. So that is why you should keep track of your new year's resolutions in some way. Whether you use your calendar, a Vanaboard, an app or simply a piece of paper should be up to you – important is that it works for you and keeps you accountable when working on your goals. If daily tracking feels like a little too much for you, then try to create a habit of checking in on your goals. If that ends up being every month, that’s good. If it is every 3 months, then that is still fine, and if it ends up being every 6 months, that is still plenty of time to motivate you to keep going, restart or maybe adapt your goals.
I hope this article leaves you with something useful that you can apply to your own goals for this year. And even though this whole blog is about achieving goals and creating the best version of yourself, I want to remind you not to put too much pressure on yourself. Good things take time and many of us had a challenging year, may 2022 be a good one! :)