by Gerald G. Mannikarote, MBBS MBA
It’s 4:36 in the morning, in the third week of the new year. Do you know where your resolutions are? What’s happened to them?
Is it getting more and more difficult to get to the gym? Is it getting more and more difficult to read your books? Is it getting more and more difficult to stay away from the junk food?
Why is it so easy to make resolutions? But why is it so difficult to stick with them? It’s as if we make them just to break them.
Tons of media are built around people making resolutions. Offers to get into new gyms. Tips on how to eat right. Pointers on how to sleep better. Guides on how to save money. All set around the ‘New Year, New Me’ mentality.
Over the years, I’ve stopped making resolutions. I’ve realized they are often just lofty ideas. Pie in the sky dreams. And as someone once said, a dream without action remains a dream. What I prefer to do now is set goals.
I have found that it is easier for me to set goals. Goals allow me to have a finish line. It allows me to have an end point. It allows me turn my dreams into goals with action.
Goal setting allows you to create a defined end point that you want to achieve. Many people make resolutions like, ‘I will lose weight this year’, ’I’ll eat healthier’, “I’ll sleep more”, or “I’ll save more money this year.” These are great ideas, but there is no definite end point. When you set a goal, you know where your end is. So instead of the resolutions, you could make goals like, “I will lose 10 pounds by the end of the year”, “I will have a serving of steamed vegetables at least 3 times a week”, “I will sleep a minimum of 6 hours a night”, or “I will save at least $10 every week.” By setting definite end points, you will be able to create a clearer vision of a path to get to your goal.
By creating action, we turn our dreams into goals. And eventually, those dreams can become reality. Steps towards the goal make it easier to get to an end point. It also makes it easier to see an end point. You know your path to your goal.
In order to get to your destination, you need directions. You get a map and plan out a route. Or even if you have a GPS, you still are shown a planned path to take. Coaches for various sports provide a game plan or plays so that the players know where should be or what they should do in order to get to the goal. Kate Byar has a great article on LinkedIn that provides insights on making small strides towards your goal.
Milestones or checkpoints
Milestones help us acknowledge that we are getting closer to our goal. When you go on a trip and you see mile markers; informing you where you are and how far you’ve gone. In the same way, when you create milestones, it will help you know where you are on your journey to your goal.
Milestones or checkpoints also allow you to review your progress. Every time you complete a milestone, you should take it as a small victory. Reward yourself with the knowledge that you are one step closer to your goal.
Set up a reward for yourself for hitting your goal. As you move closer towards your goal, you should envision your reward along with goal. A great example of this is with body builders. They work very hard at maintaining nutrition and exercise, but reward themselves with a ‘cheat day’ after attaining certain milestones.
Accountability may be tough for most of us. I know that it is for me. So I’ve employed accountability partners for me for my goals this year. . I’ve joined a group of like minded folks. Though it is online, we keep each other accountable.
You hear all the time, it’s easier to go to the gym with a buddy- you’ll motivate each other. This is true for other goals as well. I had a friend that once asked me to hold him accountable for his goal of getting out of debt. He was very successful and is now happily out of debt.
Making it to the finish line
Once you get to the finish line and you achieve your goal, you will have a great feeling of accomplishment. You may have even included a great reward at the end. But after that it is over, you may realize that it was the journey to the goal that drove you.
It’s the journey that keeps all of us going. It’s the journey that humankind desires. And it’s the journey that will allow you to go further. So, once you have achieved your goal, it is time to map out another one! Because resolutions don’t stick, but our need for a journey, our need to find a path, our need to move forward, is what drives us to goals.
I hope these points help you get closer to sticking with your resolutions, or rather help you get closer to your goals. What are some other ways that you feel can help you reach your goals? Please leave your thoughts in the comments. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org