So many of us have in the past, or perhaps not-so-distant past, made New Years resolutions. Many of us have probably failed them too (supposedly only about 12% succeed). I hope more of you have succeeded at them than failed though. But there’s also a reason that gym memberships surge in January, and then slowly dwindle off… it’s hard to make changes. BUT this is an article about empowerment and a way to achieve those resolutions! So please keep reading, because we set off at the start of the year with the best of intentions, full of ambition and drive, and I want to help to keep that momentum so that we can all achieve our goals. Here are some tips:

Be goal-specific

Most of us set a goal in our resolution: lose weight, eat healthier, get in shape, or things like spend more time with family and/or save more money. Regardless of the goal that’s set, what will help you better achieve it is if you make it specific and achievable. For example, instead of setting your goal as “losing weight,” make it realistic and specific such as “lose 10 lbs.” That way, you are better able to plan and keep your eye on the prize.

One is better than two

Remember above how I mentioned having achievable goals? Well, to go in line with that, it is better to set one clear goal, rather than two or more. By so doing you are putting all of your energy and focus into the one clear goal. This helps with focus and you won’t get spread too thin. As we all know, when we take on too much it can overwhelm us and then it just becomes too much. Who wants to deal with that when you’re trying to create a new habit? Because remember this: it takes at least three months to create a new- or change a habit.

Make a plan

Here we go again with having a plan. How does that work for us “wingers” out there, the ones who prefer to wing things? Well, I suppose being well-prepared has its perks… it certainly makes things easier, more clear-cut, and does eliminate any questions and stress because you have a strategically put together plan. Having a well thought-out plan is one of the keys in achieving success and any goal, or so they tell me. So perhaps us “wingers” and procrastinators should take special notice of this tip: be prepared, and prepare early.

Again, making major changes to your behavior takes time (at least three months). And so, in order to achieve your resolution and the goal you set forth, crafting a well thought-out plan will be nothing but helpful for you. Brainstorm, write down your goal and its step-by-step plan, mark things on your calendar – whatever planning that will work for you to help you achieve your specific and achievable goal.

Baby steps

Yes, baby steps are a thing. You can’t just jump into the deep end of the pool and expect to be an Olympic swimmer. Slow and steady always wins the race… right? Sure, we’re going with that analogy.

Most New Years resolutions actually fail when people take on too much and too quickly. They set their expectations too high (and unrealistic) and they end up burning themselves out and discouraging themselves at the same time. So start with small steps (that you’ll plan out in your planning process), and then grow from there. Perhaps in your first week you’re going to start by spending ten minutes a day meditating, then in week two you’re going to move up to 20 minutes – whatever it may be – plan it all out and just remember that there is no such thing as too small of a step – as long as it is a step in the direction of achieving your goal.

Learn from your mistakes

You know how “they” always told you that history was important because it was a way for us to avoid repeating mistakes? Well, the same rule applies here. When it comes to your resolution and goals, avoid your past failures. That also means trying to avoid repeatedly setting the same goals. Or if you do set the same goal, before you dive in, evaluate the goal and the reasons why you failed before, and then come up with a plan that is do-able to help you achieve your goal this time around. But be honest and realistic with yourself. These things take time, and change is hard.

Like everything, it’s a process

You know how everything you do is a process? Well, this is no different. Changing your habits, that have probably taken you years or even a lifetime to form, will take time to change or modify. Am-I-right? So be patient and give yourself a little slack. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will achieving your goal. Even though I wouldn’t mind losing 20 lbs. and being my healthiest self by the time I wake up tomorrow, it just isn’t going to happen! Instead I’ve put together a realistic goal of how I’m going to lose those 20 lbs, with a timeframe that allows for success as well as the many multiple steps that are required to help me reach that specific goal. I have to put in the work. I am also honest with myself that it has taken me years to, in this case, gain these extra lbs. and so it will take me time to lose them. But that’s just me.

Keep working and being held  accountable

I have found two more things to be very helpful and that is: 1. just keep working at it, and 2. being held accountable. If I just keep working at it, just keep chipping away at it every day, it is amazing how many little actions will result in a big one. That work ethic is so important, not just for achieving a New Years resolution, but this should be applied to everything in your life: just do the work, every day. Do the work.

I also find it incredibly helpful when I’m held accountable. Sometimes this means involving other people, like having a workout buddy because it is harder to skip the gym when you’ve committed to showing up and working out with another person. But sometimes you need to hold yourself accountable too. You just have to find what works for you.

And with that said, these are just a few tips that can help anyone achieve their goals. There are countless others (go Google crazy!), but these are a few of the ones that I use and will be using in to achieve my goals in 2022. So here’s to a great 2022 where we will achieve as many of the goals that we have set forth. Good luck!