It’s the middle of March. Daylight savings has begun, warmer weather is on its way and the world around us is beginning to bloom and come back to life. Things are looking up!
Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when many a new year’s resolution begins to fall by the wayside. Those things we were so excited about starting in January become harder to sustain and our resolve to read more, go to bed earlier, exercise more often, etc. is easily broken. This is completely understandable. With so much going on, it’s easy to regress back into old habits — sometimes without even realizing it.
But old habits aren’t going to get us where we want to go in business or in life. That’s why we made the resolutions in the first place, right? Something needed to change so that we could move forward.
In this post, we’ll help you reevaluate your resolutions and outline a few practical tactics you can use to get back on track with your new year goals. Ready to get started?
Take Time to Evaluate
First, you need to take a realistic look at yourself in regard to your resolutions. How well have you done so far? Be honest with yourself. If you’re like most people, the answer is probably along the lines of, “not as well as I would have hoped.”
If that’s you, don’t beat yourself up. What’s important is what you do from now on. Will you recommit to your goals or will you let another year go by without seeing the progress you’d like? Make the decision here and now.
One of the problems with new year’s resolutions is that we only make them once a year. It’s very hard to do things, especially things we’re not naturally inclined to do, without recommitting and reaffirming our desire to change on a regular basis.
If you decide that your goals are worth pursuing, evaluation is the next step. What you can do better? What aspect of reaching your goals has been the hardest to keep up with? Why do you think that is?
Perhaps your goals are too big. If so, make them smaller. We love to hear about people’s lofty ambitions; it’s inspiring! But set the bar too high and you’ll become discouraged. You might even give up if the daily grind is unreasonable.
Maybe your goals are too vague. If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not you’re currently reaching your goals, you need to make them more specific. Every goal you set should be measurable. That way you can track your progress and optimizes your processes for greater success.
Formulate a Plan
Once you’ve taken an realistic look at yourself and where you want to go, it’s time to create a plan you can actually commit to. To do this, start with your goal and work backwards to where you currently are, identifying milestones along the way.
Here’s an example to illustrate what this might look like in a real world scenario:
Let’s say you own an automotive repair shop and your new year’s resolution was to begin using social media to market your services to the local community. After assessing your situation, you’ve realized that regularly posting on multiple social networks just isn’t realistic. So you’ve instead decided to focus all your efforts on YouTube.
You currently have a channel setup for your business with about a dozen followers. Working backwards from this point, you choose 100 followers, 20 tutorial videos and 12 live videos to be various milestones in your journey.
In order to meet these milestones and ultimately achieve your goals, you commit to recording a quick YouTube tutorial video every Tuesday, addressing various automotive related topics. You also plan to post one YouTube Live video a month answering any questions you might receive through comments on previous videos. Finally, by regularly engaging with the YouTube community and allocating a small monthly sum to promote your videos on the platform, you hope to grow your following from just a dozen people, to over 100.
This is the beginning of an actionable plan and you can modify this approach to suit your specific industry and goals!
Tactics to Keep You On Track
A strategy can’t be completed without specific tactics. Let’s dig into different ideas you can use to keep your new year’s resolutions and make this year your most productive one yet.
Use a Pen and Paper
There’s something powerful about writing your goals down on paper. In fact, studies show that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis. When you write your goals down, you gain clarity as to what it is you’re actually trying to achieve. Writing them down daily helps keep you excited and focused on the steps you need to take each day.
Don’t Go Alone
It’s been said that 60% of people abandon their new year’s resolutions within the first six months. We’re convinced that this number would be much lower if more people had some sort of accountability partner in place. By regularly connecting with a specific individual or group, you’ll receive the support you need to keep going. They can help motivate you when times get tough and encourage you to recommit if you run offcourse.
Remember Your Why
Why did you make your resolution in the first place? Keep that reason front and center in your mind. If your “why” is stronger than your “why not,” you’ll be able to push through when achieving your goals seems impossible.
Focus on the Right Things
It’s important to focus more on behaviors than outcomes. Or, put another way, focus on the journey, not the result. Let’s say one of your resolutions is to grow your email list to 1000+ subscribers this year. If all you ever focus on is that number, you may end up stressed and discouraged. But if you focus on creating better lead magnets,writing better emails, etc., your list will grow as a result.
Develop Your Environment
Jim Rohn, a celebrated motivational speaker and entrepreneur, famously said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” What does this mean in regard to your new year’s resolutions? It means that the people you surround yourself with have a profound effect on whether or not you’ll actually achieve your goals. Develop your environment by only associating (as far as you can help it) with people who support your ambitions and don’t put yourself in situations where your resolve will be tested.
It’s important to celebrate small wins and reward yourself along the way. Just make sure to plan out suitable rewards that aren’t in opposition to your goals. Meaning, don’t reward yourself for posting consistently to your company blog by taking the next month off. Appropriately celebrating small successes while you work towards bigger goals will keep you inspired and excited to press on.
Make Failure Difficult
The harder you make it to fail, the easier keeping your resolutions will be. A great example of this tactic in action comes from Kate Hanley. She decided she wanted to exercise more in the coming year. To help her achieve her goal, she bought a dog because she says, “now I’m pretty much forced to take a 20-30 minute walk at least twice a day,” Find ways to make breaking your resolutions more difficult and you’ll see more success.
If you’ve had trouble keeping your new year’s resolutions, make the decision to recommit today! By assessing your current situation and the resolutions you’ve made, crafting a realistic strategy that will keep you on track and incorporating the various tactics we outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals this year!
Did we miss any tactics you’ve used in the past to help develop new habits and reach new goals? Let us know in the comments.