At some point in our lives, we’ve all been guilty of setting a goal (typically a New Year’s resolution) that we started towards in earnest but eventually tapered off doing. An incredibly popular New Year’s resolution is to vow to work out more but by this time each year, many people have abandoned the effort. Another example is when people want to be more productive but find they’ve slipped back into their old habits.
Mid-February is the perfect time to reassess the goals you set at the beginning of the year. You can figure out which goals really matter to you, how you can use your time better, and how you can better keep yourself accountable for meeting those goals.
Look at Your Goals
Open up your planner or wherever you keep your goals. How many do you have? Which ones have you been able to stick to? Which have fallen by the wayside?
Let’s start with the goals and habits you’ve been able to stick to. What is it about those goals that have allowed you to keep working toward them? Are they super important to you? Are they easy to break into chunks and work toward them slightly each day?
With those success characteristics in mind, let’s move to the goals you haven’t been able to stick to. Be critical and ask if you’re not achieving these goals because you don’t have time, they’re not that important, or they’re not “doable.” Think about what’s made you successful with your other goals and see if you can apply those principles to the goals you haven’t been successful with so far.
Here’s an example. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to “write in my journal each night” to dump everything out. However, I realized it was initially hard to do this because I thought of journaling as something that needed tons of time so I avoided doing it. By changing my goal to “journal for 5 minutes,” I suddenly realized that, of course, I have 5 minutes to journal everyday.
Don’t think you need to “transform” the goals you’re not doing. Sometimes we make goals that actually aren’t that important to us. It’s ok to let those go.
Track Your Habits
Now that you’re newly invigorated to crush your goals, you need a way to keep track of them. There are a few ways to do this:
Have recurring to-dos for your goals set up on a program like Wunderlist or your handwritten to-do list
Use a habit tracker like Done or Streaks
Create a habit tracker in your bullet journal
Believe me, it’s incredibly gratifying to see your progress with your habits. Apps and a bullet journal tracker are great ways to visualize how you’re doing on your habits.
Schedule Your Goals
Sometimes the best way to be productive with your goals is to defer some. The beginning of the year is a busy time for everyone and adding five to six goals to the mix of work and home life can be overwhelming. In some cases, the best thing to do is master one to two habits (or meet one to two short-term goals) before adding more to the mix.
As you evaluate your goals, consider which ones you could easily master early on so you’d be comfortable adding more habits in later on. For example, if your goals are to eat healthier and exercise, try first mastering prepping healthy meals for one meal like breakfast and scheduling exercise for two to three days a week. Those are smaller, easier goals to achieve. As you master them, you can increase the number of meals and number of days you exercise.
If you need to defer goals, set deadlines for when you need to “master” something and when you’ll add a deferred goal in.
Remember to Reward Yourself
As you achieve goals, remember to reward yourself. There’s nothing more disappointing than achieving something great like figuring out how to be productive during the day or earning a certificate that’s pertinent to your career and not getting a reward out of it.
Rewards should be specific to you. Whether it’s a day at the spa, a mini vacation, or a shopping spree, make it something you’ll thoroughly enjoy and that matches the effort you put into achieving your goal.
Now, check out that goals list and get ready to conquer them all!