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I'm doing it: how to set goals that stick

Sure, the start of a new year is a logical time for personal and professional reflection. It feels like a fresh start, a clean slate – a chance to do things differently.

And many New Year’s resolutions are worthy goals – like eating more healthily and spending less time on your phone. By March, though, for most of us, it’s all over (80% of us had failed by the end of January). High five to you if you didn’t contribute to that statistic.

This year, however, New Year’s resolutions are so last year (what, didn’t you get the memo?).

Instead, it’s all about saying “I’m doing it” when the moment strikes.

“I’m doing it – I’m going to get my finances sorted.”

“I’m doing it – I’m going to run a marathon.”

And you can commit to Doing It anytime – right now, in fact. Here’s how:

A Goal Without A Plan

I’m doing it – right now

There’s no reason to wait until a new year, a new month or even next week if you want to create change in your life. When the motivation strikes, you can proclaim: “I’m doing it”. So don’t feel down that it’s March and your resolutions have died a quick death. It’s time to move on – you’re doing it! If you really feel that a significant date is important to keep you on track, don’t anchor yourself to New Year’s Day as the only one. Think about your birthday, the start of a new month or season, or an anniversary.

I’m doing it – and I’m making it public

Setting a public goal might feel scary, but you might be surprised at how much of a difference it makes. Other people might share their experiences, ask you about how you’re going, or cheer you on along the way. Your goal and progress might also serve to inspire your colleagues or friends, adding further incentive to succeed. Writing down your goals also makes them more real.

I’m doing it – and here’s how

This is where you think about the different steps you need to take – few things are actually as simple as “Just do it” (though it’s admittedly an awesome slogan). If your goal is financial, you might need to start off by identifying how you’re spending money and where you can make savings. If you want to run a half-marathon, work out when you’ll be capable of running 5km, then 10km, and so on. Break it up into more achievable steps to give yourself a to-do list for success (and you can also celebrate your achievements along the way).

I’m doing it – and here’s why

Without sufficient motivation, your goals risk becoming irrelevant. Is your ultimate goal to lose weight and get fit or to live a longer, healthier life? Is your goal to become an investor or to have sufficient money to live comfortably or retire at a particular age? Considering what might hold you back can also identify potential roadblocks before you reach them. If you want to stop smoking but you know that you need the breaks from your desk, think about how you could replace that ritual in a healthier way. 

And remember, if at first you don’t succeed… yes, you should try, try again, but take the time to think about what didn’t work. Was the goal too big or too much too soon?

Every step you took brought you closer to your goal than if you had never started. And you don’t need to wait until next year before trying again – tomorrow’s a brand new day. 

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