As 2016 begins, we’re given an opportunity to start over. New Year’s resolutions are clouding social media with pictures of squats, kale, inspirational quotes and goals. People everywhere are declaring that this year is going to be the year they do it: the year they lose the weight, the year they quit smoking, the year they run a marathon, the year they get a 4.0 GPA, the year their career takes off. But then somewhere around the middle of February things start to drag. We set goals that are so huge that we quickly realize the improbability of reaching them. Then we slowly start to give up. We find excuses not to go to the gym, we get too busy to take the time to work towards our goals, things become stressful and life happens. This year becomes next year and we fall back into the monotonous lives that we’ve grown accustom to.
But what would happen if we didn’t let life get in the way and found a way to finally meet those goals instead of give into the excuses we’ve used in the past?
Instead of becoming so overwhelmed that we fall back into our daily habits, if we started with smaller steps, these goals wouldn’t seem so difficult. Instead of setting a goal to lose 30 pounds by May, setting a goal for 5 pounds by February would be a much more realistic goal to accomplish. Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to quit something cold turkey, why not try and lessen the number each month? Instead of saying you’ll make a 4.0, it might be better to shoot for all A’s for the next month, and then work to keep that each month. Instead of waking up and trying to run 5 miles, try to run a half of a mile first, and build up. We should set goals that are more attainable.
However, simply setting smaller goals isn’t the only key to making these goals work. If we don’t find a way to work these changes into our lives, there’s no way they will stay. But, at the beginning of the year, many people are hyped up and think they can make drastic changes to their lives to reach their goals.
A night owl decides they can wake up at 5 a.m. to workout. The people who wanted to get healthy convince themselves that only eating vegetables and protein with no carbs or sweets will work for them. But once again within a few weeks, it’s over.
Instead of setting unrealistic schedules to meet these goals, it might be more helpful if we keep our schedules close to normal and work the changes into them. After all, these schedules have lasted because they work.
Yes, things will have to change some to fit in the time to accomplish these new goals, but that doesn’t mean you need to completely adjust your schedule in a way that you think will work, based off what someone else does. You know yourself better than anyone else, so why not do what works for you?
People think that the bigger the goal is the greater it is, but perhaps reaching the small goals that we set in front of ourselves is even greater. After all, a bunch of little steps equals one big step.
So this year instead of setting goals that are skyhigh and falling off the wagon after a month or two, if we become more realistic about what we are reaching for, it might actually happen. After all, let’s face it- this month is the calm before the storm of the school year.