With January coming to a close, many people are reconsidering their New Year’s Resolutions. For some, they may be excited by how far they’ve come and want to take steps to continue improving. Others may be struggling to keep up with their ambitions as the busyness of everyday life sets in.
With New Year’s Day behind us, what are some ways we can make real, lasting progress toward our goals and keep growing throughout the year?
Here are five ways to stay consistent and reach your long-term goals.
1. Set realistic goals. A lot of times, it can be exciting to think about making big, drastic changes. We commit for a few weeks or a few days, but quickly find our goals are unrealistic or that we aren’t sure how to reach them.
Start by making realistic goals and then take small, practical steps toward reaching them. For example, instead of worrying about losing weight, focus on trying to eat healthier. Then, start by cutting out dessert or soda from your diet. Gradually making small, manageable changes where you can will help you stay consistent and continue making progress toward your goals without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Celebrate your successes. The key to setting realistic and sustainable goals is to focus on the progress you have made and not on your failures or bad days. If you miss a day, don’t give up or let yourself get overwhelmed. Instead, take time to celebrate your progress along the way.
It’s important that you take time to acknowledge your growth, big or small. Recognize the changes you’ve already made and the successes you have had so far. Celebrate the small things — like if you cut out one cup of coffee a day, started going to bed 30 minutes earlier or even started walking once a week — and allow yourself to be inspired and excited for future progress.
3. Have an accountability partner. One way to ensure long-term success is to bring someone else on the journey with you. Whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague, having somebody to encourage you and advise you along the way is crucial to reaching your goals.
Regularly check in with your accountability partner. Update them on your progress and share your thoughts and setbacks. Ask for their advice and consider their input on what changes you can make to better reach your goals. Having someone to challenge you will keep you invested, encouraged and motivated toward achieving long-term success.
4. Evaluate your progress. As you continue taking steps toward your goals, it’s important that you regularly stop to check your progress. Consider the changes you have already made and celebrate what you have accomplished — while honestly evaluating what has worked and what hasn’t.
Keep your final goals in mind as you examine the practical steps you’ve been taking. Are they helping you reach your goal? Are you making too many changes or not enough? Regularly asking questions like these will help you monitor your progress and maintain steady growth.
5. Make adjustments as needed. Once you know where you are and if you’re on track to reach your goals, you can start to see what changes need to be made. You may also find that the practical steps you took in the beginning may not be working now – and that’s okay.
Continually reevaluate your actions and see what’s working for you and what isn’t. Then, make those changes. Don’t be afraid to try new things and alter your routine to better fit where you are now. If you’re feeling stagnant, sit down with your accountability partner and brainstorm some ideas.
Setting goals at the start of the year can be exciting, motivating and overwhelming. Remember that long-term growth starts with the deliberate choices you make each day. As you continue to work toward your goals, remember to have grace for yourself and continually celebrate how far you’ve come.