Updated: Mar 24, 2022
I don't believe in New Year's resolutions; I believe in New Year's goals. You may be thinking, what is the difference?
The difference is in the mindset, and half the battle is in the mindset. I find when one sets New Year resolutions, they usually are unrealistic and rigid. People go in with an "all or nothing" attitude which normally results in giving up halfway because they have setbacks or things aren't going according to plan.
While goals are a general direction of what you want to achieve, giving yourself the flexibility to adapt when you things aren't going according to plan. There will always be unexpected events in life that we cannot control. (Covid being the perfect example.) So it is important to adapt and adjust when it happens.
When you think of these as goals, you are more prone to come up with a realistic action plan and baby steps that are achievable. You are also more mentally prepared to deal with any hiccups on the way, so you are less inclined to give up once you have setbacks.
How to set goals to make them less daunting
It is good to set big goals and dream big, as Michelangelo once said
"The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed."
However the bigger the goal, the more daunting it feels, and sometimes, this daunting feeling is what stops us from achieving our goals. So how do we make these big goals less daunting and more achievable?
Focus on the Big Picture
When I set goals, I don't like to put an exact number on them; I like focusing on the bigger picture of what I want to achieve instead.
Here is an example of my 2022 goals:
So as you can see from my example planner, one of my goals is to lose the baby weight, but I don't specifically say how many KGs I need to lose and here is why:
When you set a number, you are giving yourself invisible stress. When you are in a stressful mindset, it is not productive. It might give you that initial push, but soon it will fizzle out, and you are left feeling frustrated.
The weight is not my end goal. Muscle weighs more than fat. I want to lose the baby weight because I want to look like my pre-baby self. I can be the same weight for all I care as long as I can fit back into my old clothes.
Weight fluctuates, some days, you will weigh more, and some day you will weigh less. By focusing on the bigger picture rather than a number you won't lose motivation so easily.
As you can see, I am focusing on the big picture and my end goal, which is to "look" like my pre-baby self. So the "number" of Kgs is not really a factor.
Set a REALISTIC Action Plan
"Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must also step up the stairs." -- Vaclav Havel
Now you have your big-picture goal; it is time to set an action plan. When setting an action plan, you can be as aggressive or passive as you like. The key is REALISTIC in the LONG RUN. There is no point in setting these elaborate action plans when there is no way you can achieve them or get so overwhelmed with them that you end up procrastinating and never end up doing them.
Here is an example of my action plan:
As a mum, I am time-poor. So I have to set realistic action plans, or else I will end up feeling very stressed out or let mom guilt eat me alive. As you can see I am not planning to have a hardboard exercise regime 5 days a week, because I know I won't have the time to do that. Instead, I choose exercises I can commit to on a daily or weekly basis.
Remember these action plans can change and adapt as you go along throughout the year. If you find your original action plan too easy, you can always add to it. By adding to it rather than removing from it, it will give you a sense of achievement as well. Resulting in giving yourself more motivation to keep going.
Take Baby Steps
Your action plan can look like a lot, so take baby steps. I know my baby weight won't drop off overnight; it is about taking baby steps towards my end goal. The key here is perseverance.
"Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance." -- Samuel Johnson
Do one thing at a time
You cannot do everything at once, so do one thing at a time. By doing one thing at a time, it gives you the satisfaction of crossing things off once you have achieved it.
I know as a mum it is hard, as you are constantly multitasking. But try to finish one task before you start the next, or else you will just end up starting a lot of things and never finishing them. It is one thing I am still learning too.
Make a schedule
Ok, when I say make a schedule, it doesn't mean on Mondays I must do this unless it is class or something that you cannot move. You can still mark things down on specific days, but just know that it is also flexible for plans to be changed.
What I do instead is, set the number of days to do something. For example:
3 days a week, I will commit to working on my blog, socials, and any work-related work while Joshua is in school. After school, it is all about the boys until they go to bed, and I will do more work.
2 days a week, I only do 30 mins - 1 hour on social media for posting and engagement only. The rest of the days, I am purely focusing on the boys and self-care.
Weekends - No work apart from posting on stories. Weekends are all about spending time with my family and seeing friends.
Apart from the weekends, my Monday to Friday schedule is somewhat flexible. If I end up not doing work that day and spend it with the boys. That is ok because I still have the next day to do work. This will make it less stressful and daunting and still achieve your goal in the end.
Here is my example:
Allow yourself cheat days
Ok, let's be realistic; people don't change overnight. So don't expect your habit and lifestyle to either. Allow yourself to still enjoy things that you love, so you don't slip and binge.
For example, I love my desserts. So, giving it up completely overnight will be painful and probably make me think of nothing else but dessert for the rest of the time that I cannot have it. Instead, I will allow myself dessert once a week. I don't have to have it once a week, but just knowing I can take that pressure and temptation away.
Just Keep going
If you skipped a day and didn't make your goal that day, just keep going. Do double the next day if you can; just remember to keep going. If you don't give up, you will get there at the end.
Have fun with it
Last but not least, remember to have fun with it. When you are enjoying what you are doing it won't feel like a chore, and you won't lose motivation.
"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." - Dale Carnegie
I hope you found this blog post useful. If you would like to download my 2022 New Years Goal Planner, please click on the link below.
Sending you love & positive thoughts,