Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year? Why not ditch the resolutions and make some smart goals you want to reach instead. There are a couple of reasons why resolutions may not work well for you. If they do, great. Keep doing what you’re doing, but if they don’t then read on as I can help you to stop thinking of your goals as resolutions.
This post is part of a series I am sharing on hacks to help you reach your goals. I will be linking to them all, so be sure to come back and check this out for future articles. It contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information check out my full affiliate disclosure.
Why Resolutions Fail
We’re so used to breaking our resolutions, that we start to think it is ok to try a little and then give up. It’s all to do with mindset. A goal on the other hand, particularly if it’s a smart goal (more on that in a minute), is something we believe we can reach. That makes us work a little harder and not give up on the end goal.
They’re Not Specific
Resolutions tend to be pretty vague. We want to get into shape, stop smoking, be more present or make more money. None of that is very specific. How is any of that actually going to happen? When do you want to quit smoking and how are you going to get there? What does it mean to you to be in shape? What does ‘be more present’ look like to you? How much money do you want to have in the bank and what do you want to save it up for?
Goals allow you to be a lot more specific. You can set attainable goals with a deadline and milestones or mini goals along the way. That’s what makes a goal a smart goal.
A Year Is Too Long
A year is too long of a time frame for a single goal. And that’s what we make resolutions for, isn’t it? We make them on January 1st and we make them for the entire year. This is a key part of why you need to stop thinking of your goals as resolutions.
There are two problems there. Early in January, we feel like we have lots and lots of time to get our act together. A few extra expenses on activities in January won’t matter if we have a whole year to try and budget and earn more money. Then time starts to get away from us and that’s when the 2nd problem arises. Saving ‘X’ amount over the course of a year seemed doable. But if you haven’t made any progress in October and have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead of you, it now seems like an impossible goal to reach.
So what should you do instead? It’s fine to make a goal or call it a resolution if you’d like at the beginning of the year. Just don’t stop there. Be more specific. What’s the goal you’d like to reach? Put down a number, or describe what your end goal looks like. When do you want to reach your goal by? It could be December 31st, but it doesn’t have to be.
Next, set some mini goals along the way. If you have a big goal like saving three thousand dollars/pounds during the coming year, set mini goals of saving two hundred and fifty dollars/pounds each and every month. Check in every couple of weeks and make sure you’re still on track. If you can, get ahead of schedule. Things will happen, your dishwasher will break, there’s an unexpected birthday you need a gift for. Getting ahead of your goal schedule gives you a bit of a buffer to work with. And all this tracking will help you keep accountable and stick with your resolutions well into spring and summer.
Another thing I love to do is to give myself rewards when I reach certain milestones. So, if we’re using our saving example from above, every month you save the $/£250 (or more!) you treat yourself with something. Now, don’t let it be something that costs money as that will go against your goal. What other things do you really enjoy that are free? How about a family movie day at home in your pyjamas? Or spend some time giving yourself an at-home manicure? Whatever works for you 🙂
In conclusion, setting smart goals is the way forward to help you actually achieve them and stop thinking of your goals as resolutions. You can see that by creating resolutions you’re just setting yourself up for failure. And often when that’s happened multiple times we end up feeling like we’re going to fail anyway, so why bother? Setting smart goals allows you to be in control and even enjoy accomplishing each mini goal along the way.
Another system I love is Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map. In that you’re working towards your core desired feelings and all your goals need to align with those. I’ve found it very useful in helping ensure what I am working on stays true to who I am, how I want to feel, and what I want to achieve in life. Her planner is pretty cool, too.
This is just one of many hacks to help you achieve your goals. I hope you find it encouraging and you’re ready to start setting smart goals instead of resolutions.