Out with the old, in with the new. We are here embarking on a new year once again – 2022. The years 2020 and 2021 were likely filled with fear and beliefs of helplessness. With the new year comes hope. All around the globe people have hopes that things will be different in the new year. Hopes that the effects of the pandemic will subside; hopes that their New Year Goals will be met; hope for better health. The new year provides enough hope to spark motivation, which is why you see an influx of people at the gym come January 1st.
The tradition of developing new year goals dates back to approximately 4000 years ago when the Babylonians used the new year as a fresh beginning to make positive changes. However, in the past two years, many have set unachievable new year goals because the COVID-19 restrictions have impeded much of our normal. In fact, Forbes reported that only 8% of people tend to achieve their new year goals, which is not a promising percentage.
Still, even if many do not follow through with their new year goals, it is still beneficial to take some time and reflect on the goals you’d like to achieve in the new year. Why? Setting new year goals allows time to think about the direction you’re heading in life, and provides you with the opportunity to set intentions. Additionally, more often than not, new year goals are something that you aspire to achieve and the thought of working towards that goal provides hope and optimism about change. Finally, setting goals at the start of the new year can be inspirational to others. Talking about your new year goals with others is proven to make it more likely you’ll achieve them and when you talk about your goals, it will inspire others to create goals for themselves.
Setting the goals is the easy part of a new year’s resolution. However, as stated earlier, only about 8% achieve their new year goals, which can make it feel useless to even set goals. All is not lost as there are steps you can take preemptively to set achievable goals. We’ve outlined these steps below.
How to Set an Achievable New Year Goals
- Pick a goal.
Think about an area of your life you’ve wanted to change or improve, but haven’t committed to. Maybe you’ve wanted to convert to vegetarianism or read a certain amount of books. And yes, maybe you do want to live a more active lifestyle. Reflect on your lifestyle and choose a goal that will improve your wellbeing or bring about joy.
- Make sure it’s achievable
As you are thinking about the goal you’d like to set, make sure it’s achievable. A lot of people aren’t able to meet their goals because they choose things that are not feasible given their life circumstances. For example, if your goal is to walk outside five days a week but you live in a snowy tundra, then that may not be an achievable goal. Choose something you’re able to stick to.
- Figure out your Why
Arguably, this is one of the more important steps. If you don’t have a strong why then there will be little to motivate you throughout the year. If you are choosing to convert to vegetarianism, think about why that is important to you. Is it the dietary change and health benefits or good consciousness knowing you’re helping animals? Another example is for the goal of exercise; are you trying to meet a goal for an event? Think about what is motivating you to keep these goals.
- Plan out the steps
Once you’ve decided what your new year goal is, it’s time to plan out the steps. Meeting the goal won’t happen overnight, so make steps for yourself. Going back to the vegetarian example, maybe you accomplish this by slowly phasing out different types of meets over the course of the year so that by the end of the year, you are a vegetarian rather than completing the entire year as a vegetarian. Small steps, such as the ones described, can make the goal feel more manageable and spark motivation.
- Plan how you will work towards the goal when things get hard
Life gets hard, we all know that. Planning how you can stay on track towards meeting your new year goals while going through a tough spot will help set you up for success.
Tools to Help
Working towards goals is inherently challenging because you are pushing yourself to achieve growth in whatever area you’ve set out for yourself. As you are working towards your new year goals, there may be times where you feel increased pressure or anxiety to meet the expectations you’ve set for yourself. If this occurs, know that it’s okay and common, but also remember to reach for those anxiety mitigation techniques we’ve outlined throughout the blog. Working through the anxiety and continuing towards your goals despite the anxiousness is growth in it of itself.
So go forth and accomplish your new year goals!