How to Set Goals: Part 2
Updated: Mar 27
More than 75% of people give up on their new year's resolutions after just one month, and more than 92% of people fail to achieve them by the end of the year, according to Forbes. Most people struggle to consistently act on their goals throughout the year, slowly working on them less and less until they eventually give up on them.
If you are currently finding yourself falling off the bandwagon and becoming less committed to your goals for this year, here are five things that you should consider doing:
1. Revisit your original motivation for deciding on these goals.
Make sure that your primary motivation is to improve yourself and not to impress others. It is ok to want to take a course on journaling if you want to work for a prestigious newspaper, in addition to impressing the university that you are applying to by adding the course to your application. However, if you want to take the course solely because you want to declare the same major as your partner, you may want to reconsider your goal. If any of your motivations and goals fall into the latter category, take them off your list.
2. Try to pinpoint why you stopped working on your goals.
Was it because your phone kept going off while you were studying? Did you choose to watch tv instead of going to the gym? Was your goal of reading one book per day unrealistic? Try to be as specific as possible, and think of (and possibly write down) at least 3 solutions to those problems. As long as you learned something and implemented a solution, the time didn’t go to waste.
3. If you haven’t already, schedule a specific time per day or per week to work on your goals.
Here’s the key: do not do any other activities during this time (unless it is an absolute emergency) or deem it as free time. Really commit to your goals and make them an important part of your day/week.
4. Keep track of the days/weeks where you successfully used the time that you set aside for your goals to work on them.
Make a calendar and mark the days and/or weeks where you stayed committed to your goals. Consider keeping track of this on a physical calendar (located in an area that you visit often), as it acts as a powerful visual to motivate you to stay on track.
5. Plan rewards for when you stick to your schedule for a certain amount of time.
As a reminder from last week, you should set long-term and short-term goals. Long-term rewards may act as an initial motivator, but short-term goals are what will keep your motivation going. For example, planning a vacation for when you complete a semester of school may motivate you for the first few weeks, however it may be harder to stay on track later in the semester. Short-term goals, such as going out to see a movie every weekend, will act as a payoff for hard work that you did during the week, urging you to continue to study week after week.
As the year progresses, make it a habit to check in with yourself and examine if your current actions are in line with the future that you desire. Your future is in your own hands.