Why do so many people make New Year’s resolutions only to give up on them a few weeks into the year?
Lots of reasons, I suppose, but one big mistake people make is to create a big end goal without considering the small steps that will get them there. If you want to be successful in achieving your goals this year, don’t make that same mistake.
Think in milestones
Highway milestones give you frequent feedback on how far you’ve gone on your journey. Goal-based milestones do much the same thing. Milestones mark the small steps of progress you make towards your end goal. If you create well-designed milestones, they will help you achieve your goal by:
- Identifying specific and achievable sub-goals to strive for
- Providing a roadmap for the specific things you need to do to get to the big end goal
- Improving your motivation, because you feel success every time you hit a milestone
Milestones don’t have to be boring or mundane. If your goal is to declutter and organize the house, why not invent fun milestones like “got rid of enough boxes/trash bags to run the length of the house” or set a number of items to get rid of (100? 500?) and treat yourself to something you really want when you reach it.
Whatever your goal, you can come up with milestones (either mundane or fantastic) that will help you on your journey. And maybe the first milestone should be coming up with a list of milestones to get you the rest of the way.
Think in levels
Another way to conquer your goals is to think like a video game designer. When they create w new game, they want to make it challenging enough so people will want to play if for more than a day or two. On the other hand, if it’s so difficult that beginning players are doomed to failure then nobody will have the motivation to play long enough to get good at it.
The solution: levels.
Say you New Year’s goal is to run a 5K by July. Only at the moment you’re a world-class couch potato. Clearly going out for a run, even a quarter-mile run, is likely to make you feel like you’ll never succeed.
If you want to get into good enough shape to run a 5K, you need to start with a beginner-level goal. Something like, ‘walk a whole mile without stopping to rest.’ That sounds achievable, right?
But you can’t stop there. The moment you conquer level one, you need to kick it up a notch and face level two: Go a mile-and-a-half, plus jog from one lamppost to the next, then walk for two, jog for one, etc.
As you build from level to level, you slowly get closer to that end goal you though you could never reach.
So there you go, two simple tricks to help you succeed in meeting your goals.
I hope you can have fun and be successful this year.