Once the New Year’s celebrations wind down and the post-midnight fatigue fades away, the reality of your New Year’s resolution sets in. You’ve declared your goals to friends and family, and there’s no turning back. 

We’ve all been there: committing to healthier eating, more exercise, or mastering the guitar. Yet, our enthusiasm often wanes by the end of January, and making it even to February feels like a triumph. 

How can you ensure you follow through on your resolutions and goals? It boils down to understanding effective goal setting and implementing strategies to maintain your momentum. With these insights and a solid plan, success can be a year-round affair, not just a fleeting January endeavor. 

What Are the Key Principles of Goal Setting? 

What better time to announce the ways you plan to change for the better than the start of a shiny new year? January allows you to start fresh so you can accomplish all of the goals that didn’t quite make the to-do list last year. 

So why is it so hard to follow through on those goals? It all comes down to the five key principles of successful goal setting

#1 Commitment 

How committed are you to achieving your goal? If an obstacle gets in your way, are you willing to overcome it? Multiple factors can affect your level of commitment, including how badly you want to achieve your objective and whether you believe you can do it. 

#2 Clarity 

Is your goal specific and measurable? For example, deciding to “lose weight” isn’t a clear resolution. If your stated ambition poses more questions than answers, it may be more effective to create a goal that’s clear and concise. 

Instead, you could say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by April and will do so by eating 2,000 calories a day that are split between 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat.” That goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound (SMART). 

#3 Level of Challenge 

If your usual annual reading range is 10 to 15 books, aiming to read just 15 isn’t particularly challenging. The key question is: What motivates you to achieve this goal? 

Setting more challenging targets enhances your self-satisfaction and propels you to overcome obstacles on your journey. Try opting for a challenging number, like 25 or 30 books, to motivate you to go the extra mile. Trust us, you’ll feel a bigger sense of achievement when you complete your goal. 

#4 Task Complexity 

Goldilocks knew what she wanted. A bed that wasn’t too hard or too soft; one that was just right. Similarly, the resolution you create shouldn’t be too easy or difficult. It should be realistic, manageable, and on par with your current skill level. This ensures that your goals are challenging enough to motivate you without being so difficult that you become discouraged. 

#5 Feedback 

Whether you’re providing your own feedback via a daily journal or a friend or family member is offering their insights every week, feedback allows you to monitor your journey, stay motivated, and hold yourself accountable for advancing toward your goal. 

Strategies to Help You Follow Through on New Year’s Resolutions (and Other Goals) 

Now that you have a better grasp on how to create an achievable goal, let’s review some strategies that can help you follow through on that New Year’s resolution. 

Make It a Habit 

Forming habits is a process that typically takes several weeks, and in some cases even longer. However, consistency is key. So, stick to your resolution, and over time, it’s likely to become second nature. 

Consider this: If your objective is to read 25 books by the end of the year, begin by dedicating 10 minutes a day to reading. As this becomes more manageable, gradually increase the time you spend reading. This progressive approach can significantly contribute to the achievement of your goal. 

Reward Yourself Along the Way 

Staying consistent with a New Year’s resolution isn’t as easy on day 30 as it was on day one. That’s why it’s important to reward yourself for your hard work along the way. 

Suppose your resolution involves working out three times a week. In that case, you might treat yourself every week you accomplish this goal, whether it’s indulging in a new pair of running shoes or granting yourself an extra hour of sleep on the weekend. Recognizing and celebrating these milestones can be a powerful motivator in sustaining your dedication to your resolutions. 

Take Advantage of Social Support 

What better way to hold yourself accountable than by involving others in your goals? Shout those resolutions from the rooftop for all to hear, or at the very least, text your friends and ask them to hold you accountable for completing your agreed-upon objectives each week. 

Track Your Progress 

From progress-tracking apps to old fashioned pen-and-paper logs, keeping tabs on your progress not only helps you stay on course but also provides a mini sense of accomplishment each time you record a new milestone. Don’t forget to celebrate these small victories on your journey towards achieving your ultimate goal. 

Jumpstart Your Career By Choosing the Right Goals 

Setting goals is the easy part. The real challenge lies in committing to and achieving them. If you’re prepared to turn your professional aspirations into reality, it’s time to take the next step. 

At UTPB, we understand the complexities of balancing a full-time job, taking care of family commitments, and pursuing an education. That’s why we’re excited to offer our 100% online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program. Designed to accommodate your busy life, our program offers a diverse range of courses that allow you to choose classes that align with your interests, all while completing them on your schedule. 

Apply now and take the first step toward making your New Year’s resolution a tangible achievement. Your future self will thank you for your commitment to your professional growth and success.