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Why You Should Aim to Achieve Goals Rather Than Make Resolutions

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Did you know that more than half of all the resolutions people make at the start of the year fail?
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of making unrealistic resolutions that do nothing but leave you feeling demotivated.

Here’s how you can change your approach to resolutions and focus on achieving your goals.

Why resolutions aren’t the most important thing

Resolutions can be intimidating. A resolution is a firm decision not to do something in order to try and solve something in your life.

A goal on the other hand is more manageable and attainable. Instead of setting yourself a firm resolution, goals are milestones on a journey that you can take to improve your life.

Here are a few more reasons why resolutions aren’t as effective as goal-setting:

  1. When you don’t stick to your resolution, you can feel demotivated and angry, whereas with goals you can identify your progress and feel proud of what you’ve achieved.
  2. Goals are about the journey, not just the destination. You’re not expected to make a huge change in your life and just stick to it; it’s more about working towards a goal every day – which comes with ups and downs.
  3. Resolutions set you up to fail by only lasting for a year. If you don’t achieve a goal, you can just keep on working at it until you get there. Don’t set yourself up to fail when you don’t have to!
  4. There shouldn’t be a time limit on your personal self-improvement. Life can be hard and sometimes we have down days; don’t let this demotivate you and make you feel like you can’t reach your goals.

Our top tips for effective goal-setting

When it comes to setting goals, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to make the most out of your plans and improve the likelihood of you meeting your goals:

Be specific

Be as specific as possible when planning your goals. Think of your end goal and then break it down into the manageable steps you need to take to achieve results. This helps you to stay on track and stay focused – you’ll also be far more likely to accomplish your goals this way.

Make your goals visible

Don’t just think of your goals in your head and leave it at that. You are more likely to stay motivated to hit your goals when you can see them written down.

Whether you write your goals on a notes app on your phone, or on a sticky note on your desk, make sure they’re somewhere constantly visible, a daily reminder of what you want to achieve.

The more time that you spend with your goals, the easier you’ll find it is to make progress.

Turn your resolution into a goal

Anything too broad and unspecific is a resolution, not a goal. If you can only think of resolutions, try to break them down into something more manageable.

For example, perhaps your resolution is to write a book. Think about what goes into a book. How much research do you want to do into your topic? Have you thought about how many words a week/month you want to write, etc.?

Break down your resolutions into smaller milestones. You’ll feel much better when you have small steps to work towards that you can tick off along your journey, rather than just working towards the end destination.

You don’t need to put lots of pressure on yourself

You don’t need to feel like you need to set yourself lots of goals throughout the year. If you try to do too much, you’ll end up getting overwhelmed and are more likely to fail.

Try to stick to around three goals a year that you can seriously work towards. And, if you do fall behind on one of your goals, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Everyone can miss the gym one day, have a cheat meal or make an extravagant purchase – we’re only human!

Just because you slip up one day, doesn’t mean that you should stop showing up for the next, just pick yourself back up and try again tomorrow.

Goal-setting ideas

Failing to plan is one of the most common reasons why people don’t hit their goals, so don’t let yourself fall into this trap.

If you’re trying to make or break a habit, think about the root cause of your bad habits. Planning a solution for these bad habits then comes down to identifying three parts: cue, routine and reward.

For example:

Goal: I want more energy throughout the day

Bad habit: I don’t get enough sleep at night

Cue: I want to wind down at home after a long day of work

Routine: I stay up watching TV and Netflix

Reward: I feel entertained

In this situation, the bad habit is being caused by staying up too late watching TV rather than getting a good night’s sleep.

The routine of watching TV may make someone feel good at the time, but it’s actually having a knock-on effect the next day.

When you can identify the root cause of your bad habits, it’s much easier to come up with solutions and create goals to prevent you from continuing your bad habit.

For example, in this situation, you may feel like you want to prioritize your ‘winding down’ time which gets in the way of your sleep. But, instead, you could wind down by reading a book, which isn’t as stimulating on your brain and won’t keep you up at night.

When you start breaking down your behavior patterns, it’s easy to identify the issues and set your goals accordingly.

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