Goal-setters often face the same setback: We make big plans, but after a few weeks or maybe months, our good intentions have fallen by the wayside. This pattern repeats without fail, so it’s clearly not easy to break. Still, you can make good on your goals with these five steps.
1. Accept falling short.
Don’t berate yourself for abandoning all or part of your goals. If it were simple to stick with goals, we wouldn’t talk about having lost them, year after year. Instead, commend yourself for having aspired to whatever your goal was. You set an intention, which is better than not even trying to grow or improve yourself.
“Successful people make mistakes and get off track all the time,” says Uma Sanghvi, a mind-body coach based in Austin. “The difference is that they’re able to get back on track quicker.”
2. Check in with your resolution.
Even though you’re not punishing yourself for falling off course, it’s worth making sure you’re on the right path to begin with. To do so, intuition and knowing yourself are paramount, Sanghvi says. Really take a look, and make sure your goal makes sense for you.
3. Recommit yourself to your resolution.
If you’re on the right path, gently bring yourself back to your resolution and reaffirm that you want what you say you want.
“The question is, ‘Am I willing to go after what I truly want?’ Whether that means starting a new business, leaving a relationship, quitting an addiction or traveling the world – am I willing to take the needed steps in order to achieve my deepest desires?” says Sanghvi.
Sometimes it helps to look at the flip-side: Saying “no” to the work it takes to go for what you really want might be more painful than saying “yes.” Saying “no” might mean you lose out on happiness.
“The body doesn’t lie, and when we deny ourselves our deepest needs, this can show up as anxiety, depression, insomnia and even chronic illness,” Sanghvi says. “The good news is that claiming our power is as simple as being willing to be curious about inner experience, and trust the wisdom of our body and intuition.”
4. Trick yourself.
Now that you’ve recommitted, try a fascinating practical exercise.
“Pick one impulse that you do without thinking – whether it’s brushing your teeth or combing your hair or anything else that feels automatic – and do it with your non-dominant hand for a week or two,” Sanghvi suggests. “The simple act of having to pay attention to what you’re doing and practicing self-control in one area of your life, can impact your self-control in an unrelated area of life.”
5. Take one small step toward your goal … then another, and so on.
Thanks to the rewiring you’ve done in the past week or two, your ability to be in charge of your actions is heightened. Put it to use. Whatever your goal was, move back toward it.
“Many people think that major transformation means major behavior changes,” Sanghvi says. “But luckily that’s not true at all. Small improvements are powerful – they are the key to big successes.”
Connect with journalist and wellness writer Mitra Malek at mitramalek.com.