Have you been keeping up with your New Year’s Resolutions? Most Americans abandon their goals by February. Here’s how to get back on track…
Do I hear crickets?
That’s ok! The 2022 year started with a bang yet again as the Omicron dose of Covid-19 swept the country once more. Our comfort zones were shaken with product supply and demand errors and testing kit shortages. Workplace mandates were instilled and some later revoked, keeping us from focusing on any of the goals we set forth at the beginning of the year. According to a study in 2019, most of our resolutions are out the door by February 1st.
Haven’t been able to keep up? No worries! Futurelink is here with some of the best ways to realign your goals. Welcome to our blog series dedicated to helping you achieve your goals for free!
For Part I of our series, let’s talk about that schedule (or lack thereof).
LIST YOUR GOALS
Most of us are already superstars at this step. You begin the year by jotting down all the resolutions and goals for the year ahead. But how can we do this more efficiently in order to achieve them?
Start by making a list of the goals. Once you have completed this step, break each goal down into smaller steps. These are the little tasks you must complete chronologically to get your goal. For example, if your goal is to learn beginner-level Spanish, maybe break the steps down into individual lessons and follow along so that you can track your progress. Having a goal is great but breaking it down into more easily digestible steps will give you rewarding boosts periodically, helping to stave off burnout.
FILL OUT YOUR CALENDAR
Take the time to break down your goals and tasks by date. This will allow you to keep track of your progress throughout the year. A physical calendar works great on the refrigerator, but there are some more advanced options that could save you time as well.
If you work remotely, you are probably familiar with Microsoft 365 to some degree. You may use all the Suite of services, or maybe you typically stay in Outlook for most of the day. Well, there are a few hidden secrets to the software that can be utilized outside of work and integrated seamlessly into your personal life. Your Outlook calendar allows you to set time aside, create alarms, and even track task progress by percentage! Don’t stop there, OneNote has some awesome features as well for goal tracking and breakdown.
Download one of our favorite calendars HERE for FREE!!!
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Ok, so remember how you can track your progress using your Outlook calendar? Let’s explore this one step further for those who do not plan to use this platform to chart progress.
Just as important as it is to set your goals, it is also important to set intermediate check-ins throughout the process to hold yourself accountable. This will allow you to see your progress and expose any weaknesses to your system. For example, having trouble reducing sugar on weekends? Delve into why that might be! Do you hang out with friends or family who keep lots of sweets around? Or maybe the weekend is when you slack on your diet for convenience? Maybe you watch your nephew on Fridays and the only way to keep the peace is by periodically sneaking him something sweet? Setting checkpoints will expose any vulnerabilities to your goal-achieving process.
INTEGRATE YOUR GOALS
Once you have your system, goals, and tracking plan up and running, don’t forget to include any items that may be recurring. If you have the intent to make all A’s this semester, maybe making a routine study plan may be part of your system. Let’s say you want to study three times a week. You can create recurring tasks to study every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Once you’ve established your recurring goals and all other tasks, don’t forget to integrate them with your other calendars, such as personal or professional ones. Having your time blocked off on every schedule you adhere to will create consistency in your efforts and allow the appropriate amount of time you need.
EVALUATE YOUR GOALS
Throughout your journey, it is important to evaluate your goals periodically to ensure they still fit into your lifestyle. For example, maybe it doesn’t make sense to climb a snowy mountain since your unexpected knee injury requires surgical intervention. Or maybe you no longer want the waterfront apartment by the lake that you were saving for because you are suddenly expecting your first child and wish to relocate elsewhere. Sometimes evaluating our goals means determining if they are still what we want for ourselves.
You should also evaluate your goals as you reach success. Have you been able to keep up with working out 4 times per week? GREAT! Did you learn beginner Spanish to mastery? AWESOME!
But if you find that you are falling a bit short of your goal toward the end, give yourself a little margin for error rather than giving up or feeling like you’ve failed. After all, when you started this journey, you didn’t even know how to plan it properly, let alone execute. Giving a grace period or a little extra time to set a new deadline will give you a fresh start to a healthy, new habit.
Ok, that’s it! Simple enough, right?
Making a monumental change is hard work. Be kind to yourself on your journey. You may be like me and forgot about your January goals entirely. That’s ok, too.
But you don’t have to wait another year to get started just because it’s February. Make this month the most productive, life-changing February to date, then try March. Before you know it, 2022 will be your best year, a late start and all!
Oh… and the rule is it takes about three weeks to form or break a habit. GOOD LUCK!