It’s January 2, now what?
New beginnings are always a time for celebration. They are also a time filled with great potential. Most people start off the new year with focus, determination, and a will to crush some goals, only to fail miserably a few weeks in. We've all done it. We've all started a diet on January 1st, written down all the healthy foods we've eaten for the day, worked out for hours, watched the scale start to move and then by the second or third week, we find ourselves nibbling on all the foods we said we wouldn't eat, slowly going back to our old ways. By February we have totally forgotten we even had a plan to lose some weight.
So what's the trick? How can we set our goals at the beginning of the year and actually stick to them for more then a few weeks. The truth is no one has the magic pill or the perfect answer to achieving goals but there are plenty of people out there who are working towards their goals and making great progress.
So here's some thoughts on how to make the best of your goals in 2020:
1. Prioritize what really matters: Each of us would love to have it all in life. But unfortunately that is not possible. Nobody, no matter how it may seem, has it all. So when setting goals for your life, step back and really think about what matters to you. What do you really want to achieve in life and why? Create goals for achieving things that bring purpose to your life and help you be fulfilled. What's the big picture? Should you be spending so much energy on achieving a goal that doesn't align with your ultimate life goals? Because time is precious and so is our energy. Use it wisely.
2. Be Specific: It's great to say I want to be a better mother but saying that is not going to get you very far. What do you need to do to be a better mother? Carve out specific time to play with your children? Practicing listening? Work on not being distracted when with your children? Read parenting books? Write down exactly what you should do to achieve your goal. Give as much detail for small achievable steps. Visualize what you look like when you are achieving your goal. What are the specific actions you are doing in this visualization. If you have a goal to set time aside in the mornings to daven, then create a checklist of what your morning will look like so that it will include davening. The smaller and more specific your goals are, the most likely you will succeed at them. And of course, success breeds success, so making it easier to achieve small success will lead to greater success.
3. Be Patient: Rome wasn't built in a day is the well known adage that speaks volumes of truth. How many times have you worked towards something for a short time without much success, only to give up, believing you could never succeed. Most great inventions in our world came after many many failed attempts. Thomas Edison failed at creating the light bulb a thousand times before he succeeded! Can you even imagine trying so many times?? Henry Ford failed and lost all of his money five times before his invention took off. J.K. Rowling was rejected by twelve publishers before Harry Potter was finally published. Imagine if these people chose to give up because of failure. As Shlomo Hamelech writes so perfectly in Mishlei, "For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise." If you know where you want to go, keep going till you get there. It may take time, but that is not a sign of failure. The only failure is giving up.
4. Be consistent: Consistency is the number one key to success and probably the hardest thing to do. The best way to be consistent is to work at creating habits and routines that incorporate ways to achieve your goals. If you want to learn a new language, you need to designate a certain amount of time each day working on this new skill. If there is a specific set time that you always work on this new skill it will become a part of your routine. Routines don't just form on their own. Actively planning your routines can help create the habits you are striving for. Check out our Free Printables page on our website to print a copy of Morning and Evening Routines. Use it to help you plan for your ideal mornings and evenings.
5. Review your goals: This final step is the key to long term success. Life gets busy. Our goals sometimes get pushed to the side with situations that we have no control over. And that is okay. This is why it is important to refocus every day, week, month, and year. When you take these opportunities for a fresh start to review your goals and remind yourself why you want them, it helps keep you on track despite setbacks. Because reality is most charts of success are not a straight line up. There are always ups and downs in every journey and that's what we call life.
Following these steps will help you achieve your goals but they are not the magic potion to success. Success takes commitment and hard work. But most importantly it takes focus on why achieving your goals matter. As you ride your up and down roller coaster to success, remember nobody is perfect and there never is a perfect day. That's why we always need a new day, a new week, a new month, and a new year. A new beginning. A fresh start. A new chance to live as your best possible self. Wishing you much success in your fresh start for 2020.