The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the progress of your life and set some New Year’s resolutions. According to psychiatrist Glenn Miller, “the start of a new calendar year creates changes in our mind set. . . . A new year marks the revival and new beginning.” We are inspired by the idea of a clean slate and the endless possibilities ahead of us, but often, we fall short of the goals we set for ourselves. 

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you broke before the end of the year, or maybe even on the first day? We all have. The most important step to accomplishing our goals is creating ones we can actually achieve, so here are a few tips to help you along the way. Remember, you’re powerful, and you can do anything you set your mind to!

Reflect on Your Dreams and Desires

All too often, we set goals based on the expectations of those around us. We hear our family members talk about finally working out enough to get a visible six-pack and decide we need to add that to our list of resolutions, too. You can never have too many goals, right? Wrong.

When we reflect on what we want in our lives, our goals are likely to be much different than those around us. The first step to setting a powerful goal you will actually achieve is prioritizing what you want most in life. Take some time to think about how you define success. Are you most successful when you’re at your happiest? When you’re at your busiest? When you’re most active or most social? Knowing what makes you feel most satisfied in your life will help you choose goals that are right for you. 

Set SMART Goals

Setting goals we can achieve also means following the SMART acronym. First coined by George T. Dorian, he wrote out these guidelines to outline five important elements that are necessary in order for a goal to be reachable. According to these criteria, each of your goals should hit the following points:

  1. Specific: Include all the details necessary to know what you want to achieve. What is your goal? Is anyone involved? Who? Why is this goal important to you? What are the possible outcomes and roadblocks? The more clear you are about your goal, the more motivated and equipped you will be to achieve it.
  2. Measurable: One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to create a measurable goal. You should be able to quantify and/or identify your progress.
  3. Achievable: Your goal should also be realistic. Asking yourself questions about how you can accomplish this goal and what extra resources you may need will help you prepare.
  4. Relevant: These criteria include reflecting on what’s important to you. Make sure your goal is what you want and that you can maintain control over it.
  5. Time-bound: When do you want to achieve this goal by? How much time do you have to accomplish it? Answering these questions keeps you from allowing everyday tasks to overshadow your long-term goals.

Reward Yourself for Your Accomplishments

A great way to keep yourself motivated while you achieve your goals is to continue rewarding yourself. According to Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, breaking and forming habits relies on the three parts of a habit: the cue, routine, and reward. The key to getting new habits to stick is adapting the reward to give ourselves something we enjoy enough to motivate us to stick with it. 

Need ideas on how to reward yourself? Here is a list of possible rewards you can give yourself that won’t break your budget. 

You don’t have to grow accustomed to setting powerful goals and never achieving them. With these three tips, you will find yourself able to accomplish anything you set your mind to.