This time of year, New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s mind. If you’re reflecting on 2021 and you plan on setting some goals for yourself, even loose ones, I want to share this one goal setting tip with you. It’s something I often remind myself of because if you’re a high-achieving person with a bit of a perfectionist streak, we tend to go big and bold — except that can be self-defeating. In reality, achieving our goals works a lot better if we can build on our success if we actually want to continue being successful. Let me explain what I mean.
What are some of the top New Year’s resolutions you’ve heard thrown around in your social circle over the past couple of weeks? Maybe they have to do with health and fitness, nutrition, finances, reading more, spending more time with your kids or family, etc.
We set out with the best intentions in January, but a lot of times we set goals that aren’t easily achievable or realistic. We shoot too high and I’m speaking from experience here. Then we start missing the mark, blowing the goal for days at a time and it leads to us feeling defeated instead of feeling like we’re on the right track.
The biggest tip I can give you is to purposely set goals that you know are doable. Go easy. That will set us up to succeed.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of what I mean in practice:
General goal: Read more. (set by someone who doesn’t read at all now)
Goal that’s not easy to maintain: Read one book a week.
Achievable: Read 10 minutes a night, 3 days a week
General goal: Get fit. (set by someone who is currently sedentary)
Goal that’s not easy to maintain: Work out 1 hour per day, 5 days per week
Achievable: Work out for 20 minutes, 3 days per week.
Those are just two examples above, but the point I’m trying to make is set out with goals that you know you can achieve. When you easily stick to the realistic plan you’ve set out and crush it, you’ll feel accomplished and successful and it’ll be that much easier to build upon the positive habits you’ve set in motion.
Then build on that success a little at a time. Majorly changing your routine in one fell swoop doesn’t work for most people, but what most people can succeed at are making intentional small changes.
When I want to make positive changes, I always remind myself to start small so I can guarantee my success and then build on that success. I purposely under shoot because just by achieving that very little thing, it tells my subconscious that I’m doing something positive and that I’m capable.
I feel the mental shift. It leaves me feeling confident that I can do what I’ve set out to achieve. Even if it’s something silly. And then that small success will allow me to build upon it and then maybe the next month I can make a slightly more difficult yet still achievable goal.
For me, I want to get better with cooking, so setting out with a goal of cooking every single meal 100% from scratch would be a recipe for failure. But what’s more doable is planning to make two dinners each week from scratch and taking the steps over the weekend to buy the ingredients to make it happen. If I end up doing three, great!
Personally speaking, this year I’m taking all the pressure off myself and not putting much on my plate in terms of lofty goals or resolutions. 2021 was the hardest year of my life and I think I’ll be recovering from that for a while.
No matter where you are in life, little milestones or goals along the way help us to keep moving forward. Even if they’re just casual ideas we throw around in our head.
Have a New Year’s resolution? Good, this is why they aren’t BS! >>
Here are a few of my loose goals:
Personal: Add to my savings account, walk more, read more, listen to more French-language podcasts, and practice being kinder to myself.
Professional: Be more strategic on YouTube and go at a more relaxed pace, a page view/ad revenue goal with the blog, improve my business vocabulary in French.
I’d love for you to share with me some of your goals/intentions or resolutions if you’re planning on making any or just some casual ideas you’ve thrown around or areas where you want to do better. Talk to me below in the comments! What goal setting tips have worked for you over the years?
This is fantastic post & idea! I think starting small is something most of us really need to focus on this time of year. I know it’ll be in the back of my mind from now on.
Thanks so much, Cynthia! It’s been a weird 2+ years, just with Covid alone so starting small is the way to go I think. Hope all is well in Prague!
Karen Lewis says
You are spot-on in your approach. I don’t set annual goals but I utilize the same approach in day-to-day chores that I don’t want to do.
For example, we have no dishwasher and too often we end up with an overwhelming pile of dishes to do. My hubby will attack the full pile but I give myself permission to ‘just wash the plates and bowls’. That is achievable and I can stop right there. But frequently/most of the time, then I move to ‘just the glasses’ or ‘just the mugs’ and I typically add on as I go.
I hate to clean house. Hate it. So I give myself permission to vacuum one room. And then add another one – maybe. Sometimes that’s all I do right then, sometimes I select other rooms, too.
Small achievable goals that we can expand – if we want – give us the feeling of accomplishment and encouragement to set other goals.
Good for you for giving yourself space for this year. Be gentle with yourself. You’re in my thoughts alot.
Hi Karen, I am going to apply it to chores too. I’m like you. I get all overwhelmed when I see a sink full of dishes after making dinner that involves too many pots and pans. Hate the mess but am terrible with clutter and stuff like that.
Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts!
Bonne année.Great tips. Start small and then you can build up over the year. I want to spend less time on social media so I will turn it off at the weekends started 1st January.Which French.language podcasts can you recommend? Thank you Diane.
Thanks Kameela! Great goal to spend less time on social media. I hear you on that!!
Truth be told, I don’t listen to a ton of French podcasts (I should though). I listen to short news ones in the morning and then the true crime one I follow is Les Voix du Crime
Hi Diane, I hope you are having a happy new year. My New Year’s resolution is to get a job, I guess you could call that my general goal. I graduated college in December 2019 and have not found an official paying job yet, due to Covid-19 and other reasons. I have been volunteering with the Red Cross since August 2020, so that is easy to maintain. I don’t get paid but I definitely have experience.
That would look good on your CV. Good luck with getting that job
Hi Avery, sending you all the good job vibes I can muster up ;-)))
Totally agree with the small steps. I find documenting really helps me. In 2020, I started exercising for the first time in my life,. I got a calendar and gold stars. If I exercised, I wrote what I did and put on a gold star. I took a break in November 2021 for the first time since starting (I exercised 6 days a week!) and just started back last Monday. I’m doing cardio 3 days a week. Seeing it written down really helps me. It could also be my nursing brain…if it’s not written down, it never happened.
YESSS, I love the calendar and gold stars, Amy. It’s so helpful to see your progress and put the gold star up each day. Makes it real!! Keep up the great work!
Excellent advice, Diane! In fact, one of my goals is to eat more French pastries. I have to get to France in 2022 in order to achieve my goal.
Get a head start with some of the yummy things at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods ;-)))