As the year winds down, it is common for people to reflect on the past year and look at those things that didn’t work well for them. As 2020 gears up, many people will set New Year’s resolutions to help them implement changes in their lives. You may start to think about changes you want to make, things you want more of or less of, and goals for yourself in various areas of your life. One common pitfall is that people often try to tackle everything all at once, which can make it difficult to attain all goals. And if goals are not met, it can often lead to frustration and negative self-talk.
One way to help counteract this effect and increase the chances of reaching your goals is to start small and be specific. Think about the goals you have for yourself and then break each goal down into smaller, more manageable pieces to get started. For example, if your goal is to do some form of exercise every day, but you’re currently not exercising at all, then you may want to start off with an intermediate goal of exercising 1-2 times per week. Then, once you’ve achieved that regularly, try bumping it up another notch by adding another day or two, and so on until you’ve reached your long-term goal of exercising daily.
And don’t forget to be specific! The more specific you can be with your goals, the easier it will be to reach them. With the above example, the goal of exercising is specific because there are a set # of days in mind. To help further, you may want to try to be specific about when you will exercise. By keeping in mind, for example, that you want to take a walk on your lunch break then it will be easier for you to plan ahead for it and prepare by leaving good walking sneakers in your car, or setting a reminder alarm to go off when you’re on your lunch break.
When reflecting on the past year, it’s also important to remember to take time to think about the things that went right and not just the things you want to change or things that didn’t go well. Be sure to take time to remember what felt good. Not only will it help keep the year in perspective, but it may also help you figure out what you want to KEEP doing in the new year, or maybe even do more of.
While taking the steps necessary to reach your goals, be sure to be kind and gentle with yourself. There may be mistakes made, obstacles to overcome and things you will need to course-correct on your way to achieving your goal. Change is difficult and can take some time, but imagine how great it will feel once you get there.
Bring on 2020!