Most of us tend to start off each new year with a long list of goals and more motivation than we’ve been able to muster in the last six months to do, well, pretty much anything.
But according to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of people who set resolutions have failed to see them through by the second week in February. And by mid-March? Well, those goals are likely all but forgotten.
So what if you’re looking at your list of resolutions for 2016 and thinking, “I still really want to accomplish these”? We asked two women — who often hand out goal-setting advice — how to find that lost motivation and keep it going all year long. Javacia Harris Bowser is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur living in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the founder of the See Jane Write Network, a membership organization for women who write and blog. Since writers are notorious procrastinators, Bowser often has to encourage her members to keep working on their goals. We also talked to Hayden Crawford, a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Birmingham, Alabama, who says it’s her goal to help her clients be the best version of themselves.
Here’s what they had to say:
Bowser: I think turning the calendar feels like a clean slate. All the mistakes and failures of the previous year seem to melt away when that clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1. And for me, there’s something magical about the start of a new year. I feel like Super Woman, and I’m completely convinced that I can accomplish anything.
Crawford: People are so excited about Jan. 1 because it’s a time in the year they can start all over from square one and really focus on their yearly goal for fitness. It’s easier to keep up with it because it is New Year’s Day.
Bowser: After the New Year’s Eve party is over, after the New Year’s Day brunch is done, we have to get back to everyday life. And everyday life is hard and busy and mundane. It gets in the way of pursuing the things we’re really passionate about, and so eventually we just give up. Also, sometimes we simply get bored with our goals or just flat-out forget about them.
Crawford: People get bored and tired way too fast these days. And New Year’s resolutions are a trend, so it’s just like any other resolution. A lot of people get caught up in life and just tend to forget and let it die off.
Bowser: I think we must first break down our yearly goals into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals, and then plot out what we must do on a daily basis to accomplish those goals. Our human brains find it hard to stay focused on something we hope to achieve 365 days from now. So we have to break those big goals down into smaller tasks.
We also need to stay focused on our vision. I recommend writing a detailed description of the life you want, a description of what life would be like if you accomplished those goals you set out to conquer. Write it in present tense so that it reads like an affirmation. So instead of “I want to be my own boss” or “I want to write a best-seller,” you should write “I am my own boss, and I earn six figures in my business each year” and “My name is on the New York Times Bestseller list.” And read that vision every single day.
Crawford: To stay consistent you should find people who have the same goal as you who are in the gym and go regularly. You two should make an accountability plan; it’s easier to make yourself go if you know you have someone going with you. That way if you’re struggling they can laugh it out with you or encourage whatever gets you through the workout the best. Also if you plan out your week ahead of time (food, workouts, gym time, strength time, cardio time) it’s much easier to stick with a plan if it is written out in advance. That way you can look at it and be like, “Oh yeah, I have to do this today.”
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