Ditch Those Resolutions: 7 Ways to Realistically Reach Your Goals in 2019
by Tiffany Walking Eagle | 7-minute read
Well here we are, already halfway through January (how!?), and it’s starting to feel like it’s actually 2019. How are those resolutions coming along, friend?
Personally, I’m not a big fan of resolutions, perhaps because of the stigma (and facts) surrounding them that most people give up on them before January is over. There’s nothing inherently wrong with New Year’s resolutions at all; of course it’s great to challenge yourself and aim for new goals in the upcoming year. (And not liking the concept of resolutions is no excuse to stagnate.)
However, I think that far too often there’s an all-or-nothing mentality that accompanies NY resolutions that is neither healthy nor sustainable. For example, I’m not eating fried foods for an entire year or I’m going to do two hours of cardio five days a week in 2019. Be honest with yourself: is that something you’re likely to stick to in real life? Prooobably not.
Because let’s face it: french fries are delicious, and no one wants to torture themselves on an elliptical machine for two hours Monday through Friday. Cutting back on habits that don’t help you reach your goals may be a good thing, but is cutting them out a good idea?
The thing is, completely restricting yourself from something will likely make you crave it even more. So where the heck can we find balance?!
Moderation and consistency, my friends. That’s where. Let’s prove to ourselves that we can stick to goals by making our goals sustainable.
So let’s make 2019 a year of chasing our goals but not beating ourselves up about them; indulging in moderation while consistently consuming things that make us feel our best; and stepping out of our comfort zones while growing more confident in who we are.
Whaddya say? Are you with me?
Aim high, but be realistic
It’s great to have goals, but expecting yourself to completely change your habits overnight just because it’s a different calendar year is a little drastic. Nothing magical happened to your psyche or willpower between December 31st and January 1st. You’re still the same person, and you are still capable of reaching new goals.
Make your goals realistic by starting with small goals you know you can accomplish. You might not have time for 45 minutes of exercise in the morning before work, but you can fit in a 20-minute morning routine of yoga, reading, or checking in with yourself. Maybe you can’t make a home-cooked meal every night, but you can set aside a couple hours on Sundays to meal prep. (Check out my post on simplifying meal prep here.)
Whatever your goals are, be honest with yourself about what you’ll actually do, and do it. The more you prove to yourself you can stick with something, the bigger you can make your goals .
Focus on consistency, not perfection
Nobody is perfect, and we’re all going to drop the ball once in a while when it comes to our goals. Don’t fret, though, because perfection isn’t attainable for anyone. What is attainable is consistency.
You’re probably going to miss a workout. You’re going to put something off till tomorrow. Whatever your goals’ parameters are, you’re likely going to step outside of them at some point. However, focus on consistently having as many good days as possible and don’t let the days you fail set you back. Just get back on it the next day and keep moving forward.
Pick a word of the year
This may or may not be your cup of tea, but as a word nerd, words matter to me. Even if you’re not a words person, having a general mantra to focus on improving for the year may inspire you. My word this year is “consistency.” Lacking consistency in years past has really hindered my progress, and failing to see the value in little triumphs/actions has also held me back.
Think about something you struggle with and what could be a possible solution. For example, if you struggle with procrastination, maybe your word of the year could be “proactive.” Perhaps fear has held you back from reaching your goals; maybe your word could be “dauntless.”
I know this may seem a little cheesy, but it can be valuable to have an attribute to aim for. Pick a word that resonates with you, and keep it in the back of your mind to gently prod you when you get in your own way.
Focus on the "small” goals
This is going to seem like such a simple, insignificant thing, but I realized today that I’ve made my bed every morning pretty much every single day of 2019. Making my bed every day hasn’t fixed my life or anything, but I do walk into my bedroom every day and feel a sense of calm because of it. Looking back, my silly excuses in the past to not take those 30 seconds to make my bed in the morning seem absolutely ridiculous. If just that teeny, tiny action makes even a little bit of a difference in my mental state, why wouldn’t I do it?
Those seemingly dumb, insignificant little things actually matter. So focus on making small changes that add up in big ways.
Don’t give up when you mess up
It’s so easy to have a “screw it” mentality when you experience setbacks. But don’t throw in the towel because of one or even multiple slipups! Progress, not perfection. If you messed up, it means you tried. Absolutely refuse to give up no matter how many times you fail. In fact, get comfortable with failure! Being friendly with failure is far braver than getting comfortable with complacency.
Get real with yourself
Be honest with yourself about why you haven’t pursued your goals in past years. Were you afraid? Lazy? Feeling entitled or totally lost? The world doesn’t owe you success, and no one else will get it for you.
What sacrifices are you willing to make?
Do you spend hours scrolling on social media? Do you binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix every night? There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but think about how much time you spend on them. Like I talked about earlier, there’s no need to cut those things out cold turkey. However, rather than thinking of cutting back on your “chill time” as a huge loss, think of it as a trade.
You’re not just giving up that hour you spend on Instagram after work for nothing; three times a week, you’re trading it for an hour spent getting stronger at the gym. You still catch your favorite show on Hulu, but you’ve traded a couple of those 20-minute episodes for time spent networking.
Little trades like this are choices that can be made consistently to push you closer to your goals.
Build, build, build
One of my biggest mistake before now was thinking of reaching my goals as one giant accomplishment I could never achieve in real life.
Striving toward a goal is many small, daily choices made over and over and over again that build toward a larger result.
Proving to yourself that you are capable of even the dumb stuff like making your bed every day or drinking enough water or working out a couple of times a week is so. dang. powerful.
It’s easy to get trapped into the line of thinking that you’re not capable of follow-through. But you are! So prove that to yourself by doing the dang thing, whether it seems silly or not. The only person it needs to matter to is you.
Commit to those small goals and build, build, build.
What are your goals for 2019? I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment below. :)