It is literally the end of January and here I am with my first post of the year. I am far from an expert, but I felt the need to share some tips for setting resolutions and for reaching one's goals--tips that have worked for me. All of them are interrelated and the strain that runs through them is to stay encouraged in order to press forward. So many tips I've encountered in the past have left me feeling discouraged and a failure. The most important thing is to end up with rules that work for you and keep you encouraged.
HAVE A RANGE OF ACCOMPLISHABILITY
What I mean by this is to give yourself a range by which you can legitimately say you accomplished what you wanted to, whether it is to by a little or by a lot. For example, one of my goals is to read from the Bible every day, whether it is a verse, a passage, or an entire book. Another one of my goals is to make certain I draw everyday, whether it is a mere doodle or a portfolio-quality piece. Perhaps not every goal lends itself to having a range, but doing this allows me to say I reached my goals on good days and crappy days!
DIVIDE TASKS INTO SMALL CHUNKS
I love it when I can check a task off my list of "to-do"s. But checking them off can be really hard when the tasks are HUGE! Let's say if my task is to read a book and I write the "to-do" item down as "read a book." I will not be able to check that off until I finish reading the book. Instead I divide the task into chapters or a certain number of pages for the to-do list. This way, I have tasks that I am constantly checking off and I will feel that I am getting somewhere!
WRITE "TO-DO"S ON POST-ITS THE NIGHT BEFORE
In the quiet moments before bed, I jot down a list of things I want to get done the following few days. Little things like "return email to so-and-so" or "write a blog post." These are things that I might forget about or want to forget about when the morning comes. I find that tasks that fell through the net-of-that-day are easily recaptured then and any sense of lack of accomplishments will tell you exactly what to write down. And post-its are just my thing. I love their color, mobility, and tacky-ness; but you can use whatever is you cup of tea.
COMBINE: MAKE RESOLUTIONS REWARDS
There are some resolutions that involves abstaining rather that acting. These are resolutions such as buying less material goods and indulging in less decadent foods. For me, it is buy less clothes and books because I have more than I can wear or read, respectively. But instead of depriving myself altogether, I will reward myself to a shirt or a book (instead of buying more than one) ONLY if I were to accomplish a daily goal for a month. This sounds like a win-win to me!
COUNT YOUR SUCCESSES (NOT YOUR FAILURES)
There are probably some people that fair better when they feel that the odds are against them, but I don't. Setting goals shouldn't become seeing how much you have failed to accomplish but how much you actually do accomplish. That is why I set my goals in a way that allows me to see every accomplishment. When the steps between goals are clearly defined, I am able to give myself credit for those steps in-between that are often overlooked.
We all fail; Don't hold it against yourself to the point of giving up. Let it go and start over. Forgive yourself.