As we pass the halfway point in the calendar year, many of us have lost sight of our New Year's resolutions. The enthusiasm and drive to pursue new passions, reach for new goals, and achieve resolutions has taken a back seat to the daily grind and distractions with which our lives can become consumed. According to a survey by YouGovAmerica.com, nearly one in four Americans set a resolution for 2022.
The real challenge is making your resolutions come to fruition. Approximately 80% of all New Year's resolutions fail by February, according to U.S News & World Report. From creating unrealistic expectations to not having a plan to a lack of motivation and accountability, we tend to set ourselves up for failure before we even get started.
Dominating nearly 25% of all resolutions, the most common goal by respondents is to live healthier. Living a healthier lifestyle can mean many different things. From eating more nourishing foods to exercising regularly, building financial security, being a better leader, getting more sleep, participating in meaningful activities and eliminating bad habits to fostering better relationships, there are countless ways to improve your current personal and professional lifestyle for a healthier physical and mental you. So, here are five questions to reacquaint yourself with your resolutions for the rest of the year to ensure they stick:
1. What is your major goal?
From living healthier to saving money to connecting more with friends and family to growing professionally, these are examples of some of the most common significant resolutions people make each year. It is important to have, state and share your goals, so they become tangible. As a standalone, major goals can seem overwhelming and unattainable without the proper supporting mechanisms in place.
2. What are your mini goals in pursuit of your major goal?
Mini goals provide the foundation for pursuing your major goals. They are the building blocks that eventually lead to accomplishing your major goals. For example, if your major goal is to live healthier, perhaps a series of mini goals in pursuit of your major goal are to get 30 minutes of exercise every day, eat healthier foods, save money, pursue a passion project and nurture your marriage. Having mini goals gives you focus on the type of strategies you need to put in place to build towards your big goals and allows you to identify specific activities as a roadmap to accomplish your mini and major goals.
3. What is your strategy?
Your strategy should be the specific steps you will use to achieve your mini goals. Are you creating a schedule that sets aside a specific time every day to exercise? Are you going to cut sugar out of your diet? What is the specific amount of money (or % of income) you are going to commit to saving every month? What activity or hobby are you and your spouse going to start together? It is imperative to identify the specific steps you plan to invoke, otherwise your goals are simply ideas without execution. The strategies you use help determine the resources, tools and methods you use to track your progress.
4. What resources will you use?
Will you use a digital food log app to track your food intake? Will you meet with a retirement specialist or have 5% of your paycheck automatically put into savings each month? Will you join a gym or online training program? It is vital to have a way to execute each strategy, track your progress, assess its effectiveness and hold yourself accountable. Whether it is bringing in a team member (like a life coach or dietitian) or using digital apps, there are countless resources and methods for implementing your strategies.
5. What are your milestone moments?
It is important to identify, embrace and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Good goals don't necessarily have an endpoint. They are about implementing and sustaining healthy habits. So, if exercising regularly is part of your goal model, then a milestone moment might be 10 straight days of working out for 30 minutes each day. Celebrate with a fun activity. Then recalibrate the next milestone for 15 or 20 days in a row. If it is saving money, set a goal amount and celebrate when you reach that achievement, and then reset the next milestone.
Remember that this is about you. So, personalizing your goals and strategies, finding the right resources to support and track your efforts, and setting milestone achievement points should be based on your needs and wants and what works best for you. The important thing to remember is that change does not happen overnight, and that it is an imperfect process. So, when you are making and pursuing resolutions, keep a positive attitude, let the process be gradual, acknowledge your accomplishments along the way, and leave some room for slip-ups and mistakes.