As the calendar turns from December to January, it isn't uncommon to take a hard look at your life in order to determine where to make changes. The clean slate of the new year is a powerful motivator and many of us could use a fresh start. But, how do you keep your momentum going throughout the entire year?
Recently, we launched #MakeItHappen, an online program designed specifically to help you achieve your career goals. (Have you chosen your career goal yet?) If your resolutions lie outside of your career, however, it's important to set up strategies now to help your success in the coming year. Thanks to the folks at Lifehacker and the HBR blog, we have compiled a list of five tricks for making your goals happen this year.
1. Don't Overthink It. When you set a large goal, it can be daunting to imagine the work it will take to accomplish it. The key to not becoming overwhelmed might be in what Tony Schwartz calls an Energy Ritual, or doing the same thing at the same time every day. If your goal is to learn how to play piano, set aside a block of time each day, at the same time each day, to practice your scales. Creating an energy ritual makes your goal a constant and routine part of your life, helping it to become reality.
2. Find an Accountability Partner. Call them people-pleasers, but many people have a harder time disappointing others than they do breaking promises they've made to themselves. For those of us who thrive on accolades from others, an accountability partner might be just what we need to stay on track. Schedule weekly check-ins and be honest about your progress and your struggles.
3. Take Shortcuts. This advice might surprise you, but sometimes the best way to create a new habit is to include it as part of an existing routine. If, for example, your goal is to read more books in 2013, consider making it part of your daily coffee ritual. Instead of checking email or catching up on social networks, read a chapter while sipping your favorite coffee. You could find that the habit feels effortless when combined with an activity you already enjoy.
4. Keep Tabs on Yourself. You are more likely to reach your goals if you are checking in with your progress every day. Even just five minutes spent visualizing your goal and making a plan for how to get one tiny step closer that day can make a big difference, when done consistently. There are many goal-tracking resources available, so take advantage and get moving.
5. Keep Going. There's always one thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor. Then, once you're done with that, there's always one more thing you can do. And after that one more and so forth and onward and upward until you are crossing the finish line of your goal while admirers throw glitter confetti and brass bands sing your praises.
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