New year, new you? How about new year, better you? Here's how to achieve that.
1. Set realistic goals
Set goals that are realistic for you and your situation. If you haven't run in years, running 4 miles per day probably isn't the best goal to begin with; but jogging around the block every other day may be.
Make your goals a bit of a challenge so you have something to work toward and feel good about. Then, as you reach those goals, you will find yourself reaching even bigger ones.
2. Make your goals things you want
If your goals are based on things you think you "should" do or be or are based on what other people want for you, you will not be as motivated to reach them. Choose things you truly want—things that are important to you—and you will be more successful.
3. Grab a buddy
The buddy system works fantastically as far as resolutions go. Having a workout buddy motivates you to actually get up and go. Or, bringing a friend along on your shopping trips to help you say no to unnecessary spending can help you stick to that budget. Plus, having someone to share both the tough times and the successes with can be a much-appreciated support.
4. Track your progress
If your goal is to eat healthier or drink more water, try keeping track of what you eat or how much water you drink in a journal. Or, keep a calendar somewhere you see it each day to check off important milestones. Being able to visualize your progress is motivating.
5. Celebrate the small stuff
After reaching a certain step in one of your goals (a week of eating better, for example) take time to treat yourself. Small rewards—like that new bottle of nail polish you've had your eye on—is enough to motivate you to keep going. Just be careful to not overdo it. Drinking 7 Pepsis in an hour isn't the best way to celebrate a week of not drinking soda; and a huge shopping spree wouldn't do much for your new budgeting goals. But treating yourself appropriately will help you keep your eye on what you want, while still letting you feel good about where you are at in your progress.
It's OK to periodically look at your goals and reassess if needed. If you have been trying to do something but it hasn't been working, go ahead and adjust the goal to something more fitting. Maybe you need to cut back to something more achievable; or maybe you've realized you can handle something a bit more challenging in a certain area. Remember you are trying to better yourself and sometimes that takes a little trial and error. Adjusting your goals in order to keep working on yourself is much better than quitting them.
Also remember—don't give up because of a little slip up here and there. Try your best, and keep your eye on how you want to be a better you, then watch yourself grow!