We’ve heard it all before. So much so, the age old saying of ‘New Year, New Me’ is almost said in jest now because of how many people don’t stick to their new year goals. I’m sure if we are completely honest with ourselves, we have all set a goal and maybe thrown it out the pan mid Jan. Goals are exciting, but also hard to stick with when the January blues kick in. However, there is something exhilarating about setting yourself goals isn’t there? The possibility of bettering yourself seems at arm’s length and we become infatuated with trying to achieve that. The problem is, we become so excited that we set ourselves too many goals at once, then get completely overwhelmed trying to keep up with this version of ourselves we so desperately want to exist.
Let’s face it, if we break down our tasks and goals into smaller chunks and on a more manageable time scale, we are more likely to achieve them. If we give ourselves too much to focus on, we end up spinning too many plates.
The key is to first, mentally prepare yourself for change. Change can be hard even for the most resilient of people. How will this change take place? Is it gradual? Will I go cold turkey on something? You need to do whatever works for you. Of course, goals need you to step outside of your comfort zone, changing is not supposed to be easy, but find a healthy balance.
As a teacher, I often have moments of reflection. I need to, to be better not only for me but for my children. So I think ending the New Year with some healthy reflection will do you wonders for setting new goals. Ask yourself, what goal/s did you set yourself last year? Did you accomplish it? If not, what was the barrier preventing you from achieving them? Most people say it’s down to a lack of motivation, we sort of lose that mojo that was our driving force on January 1st. The biggest tip I ever had was to set a goal that is going to benefit your life in some way, no matter how big or small. Then, write your goal down. Stick it somewhere you can visually see it each day. A constant reminder that bettering yourself is at the end of your fingertips.
I am a visual learner, so I find it therapeutic to put my goal on a timeline. Actually draw it! Decide how much time you want to give for each part of the goal then slot it on the timeline. In a nutshell, give yourself a milestone and focus on achieving the next little chunk rather than reaching the end of the line. We fall into a trap of setting ourselves goals and then thinking we will be ridiculed if we haven’t achieved them quickly, almost as if we are seen as a failure. Incorrect. 6 months of consistency will get you further than 2 months of rushing. Trust me.
Finally, another thing I have found which has helped. Is to journal your goals. Even add comments to your timeline if that’s the route you took. If not, treat yourself to a new notepad and use that as your goals book. What did you do today to get you one step closer to the end of that line? What was it about that day that worked for you? It might be the complete opposite- this day maybe set you back a little and you felt like you fell off piste? What was the action or behaviour that made you feel that way? Recognise it, make peace with it and make sure you get back up when you fall down.
Setting goals is challenging, but nothing feels as good when it’s accomplished.
By Hollie Warwick