It feels good to have goals, doesn’t it? I mean, to really have something that you know–if you set your mind to it–is actually achievable. If you’re awaiting the new year like a lot of us are, you probably have a few things you’d like to accomplish during 2010 — yep, those pesky resolutions. It’s no secret that for most of us, somewhere around February, these goals fall by the wayside and many of us slip back into old habits.
How do we keep from falling off the wagon? Keep your goal count to a minimum, says Karyn Beach, life coach and founder of LoseTheExcuses.com. “The more you [goals you make], the less you’ll accomplish,” she adds, recommending that you limit yourself to three goals.
Check out a few other tips we would do well to remember when sticking to our 2010 resolutions:
It’s a lifestyle change. From losing weight to ridding yourself of debt, it takes more than just saying you’re going to do it. The reality is, many of these goals are spawned from root issues such as poor exercise/eating habits and bad financial planning. Realize that, in order to stick to these goals, you must get to the root of the problem and change your outlook on certain issues like health, money, and your career. Keep in mind, though: It’s one thing to achieve a goal (your 20 lb. weight loss) but its another thing to maintain your goal. “You need to make it a part of your life,” says Beach.
Create a step-by-step plan. One of my goals, even to the disbelief of some friends and family members, is to pay off my student loans in the next five years. Lofty? Sure. Possible? Yes. After calculating how much it’d take to pay off my loans using a student loan calculator on FinAid.org, I then looked at my financial landscape. How much do I have coming in? Going out? What do I need to cut to make this plan work? Once I had this down, the goal seemed much more attainable. Beach says start with an end in mind and work backwards. Outline the resources you have and the resources you’ll need in order to make this goal reachable. Once you have that you can create an action plan detailing a step-by-step process for using your resources to reach your goal, and how you can attain the resources you will need. You can even break it down further to include what you will do each day — or week — to reach that goal.
Don’t tell everyone. Call it hate, jealousy, or just plain pessimism, but sharing your dreams and goals with others can illicit negative energy and a lack of support — exactly what you don’t need. Instead of telling any and everyone about your passion, just do it. Beach recommends thinking carefully about two or three people you can turn to for encouragement or resources. “This is important, because people we think should be on our team aren’t always on our team,” she explains.
Write ’em out and post ’em up. Don’t just write your goals in a journal and slip it back under the bed. Post them up somewhere private but where you’ll see it EVERY DAY — such as your bedroom door. This will help keep you focused and remind you what you’re working towards. “Review your goals on a weekly basis. Look at that goal and ask yourself, ‘What can I do this week to reach this goal?” says Beach.
Renita Burns is a staff writer at BlackEnterprise.com.