As the end of February approaches, we’ve stepped farther away from those New Years Resolutions you made at the end of last year. Every day, we get further from that idealistic hope of accomplishing new goals and closer to feeling horrible about not actually achieving them. Luckily, there’s still more than enough time to come back to center and get back on track. Here are a few things that you can try to get back that resolution glory:
#1. Regroup by checking that list again.
If you’re anything like me, the moment you take the pen away from paper, you completely forget what it was that you originally planned. Even two months out, there may be something that you’ve overlooked and want to work on. Just pulling out that list and taking a good long look at it can help you reevaluate what it is that you want to accomplish.
Here is a good time to jot down how much time each of these tasks will take. Some of these tasks could take two weeks of dedicated work time or even as long as a year or more. Be entirely realistic about your timing. You’ll need this information later when you create goal deadlines.
#2. If you’ve committed to too many things, it’s time to weed out what you don’t need.
Before you go any further, it’s time to cut down on your resolution list. If you have more than, say 12 things, you have too many, and that’s still stretching it. I find it best to divide it up into 4 categories: personal, financial, career, and health. If you’re highly ambitious, you can add one more type, but each should have no more than 3 resolutions.
Sometimes, your priorities change and what you planned for two months ago doesn’t align with what you need now. Don’t feel bad about knocking out what isn’t a priority anymore. Your life is meant to keep moving, and your job is to make sure that you’re happy. Kon Mari that list down to what brings you joy and makes you happy, without any judgment.
#3. If your resolutions seem too vague, it’s because they are.
Resolutions are notoriously difficult to complete, and it’s for a simple reason. When you scribble down a goal to “Complete a novel,” it’s far too vague to get you there. Complete a novel? Yeah, but how? To be able to get to the end of the year and have all the boxes checked, you have to create an actual plan with manageable deadlines.
For each of these resolutions, there needs to be a list of things leading up to complete a single goal in its entirety. For the novel example, you’ll need time to plan, research, draft, edit and write another draft of your novel before it’s finished. If you’re publishing independently, there might even be a few more things crammed in there to get it publication-ready. Some of these lists will be really short, with only one or two items on it. Others will have ten, twenty, or more tasks. All of them are relevant.
#4. Create manageable deadlines.
Those long lists that you made for your individual resolutions? Now we’re going to pull out a calendar and get to work. It sounds more difficult than it is. For me, the easiest way to do this is to organize my goals by quarter. You can choose to dedicate each category to a quarter and work on your financial goals in one, your career goals in two, and so on. Or, you can place one goal in each category per quarter. It really depends on your goals and how you want to accomplish them. Find a way that works best for you and stick to it.
#5. Create habit chains.
For those resolutions that require daily activities, like jogging or yoga or journaling, the best way to get that done is to create the habit chain. This chain is simply a series of habits that have become linked together in your brain. A great example is your morning routine, you wake up, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, wash your face, and on down the line until you head out the door first thing in the morning.
The point of this is that it becomes difficult to do one without the other and by completing a task earlier in the chain, it triggers you to go to the next one. These smaller, while no less important, goals can benefit from creating these chains to help ease them into your life. It’s important to note though, that it takes around 40 days to develop a habit and you’ll want to introduce them one at a time.
New Years Resolutions are a chance to start over and take steps toward becoming a better you. These resolutions are notoriously difficult to finish, and before you know it, you’ve wandered far from the path of getting anything done. Take the time now to start and execute a plan, while you still have almost ten months to help make your dreams a reality. I’m digging up my own list to get started right now. We’ve got this!