I haven’t put away my Christmas decorations yet, but I have begun thinking about my goals for the new year. I’m not one to say I’m making resolutions, but I do set goals at the beginning of each year. In fact, I think that’s one of the keys to successfully keeping New Year’s resolutions – turning them into tangible, measurable goals. But I’m getting ahead of myself! I’d actually like to share with you 10 keys to successfully keeping your resolutions or, better yet, reaching your goals.
First, let me tell you why I know these 10 keys can unlock success for you.
The 3 New Years Resolutions I Kept
I’ll be honest. I’ve made and blown more resolutions than I’ve kept…by a long shot. Haven’t we all? But when I got to thinking about whether or not I’d ever kept any New Year’s resolutions I’d made, I realized I had…three of them! And in every case, I used the 10 keys I’m going to share with you.
Several times now I’ve resolved to read the Bible through in a year. And at least most of those times I succeeded.
Also, I’ve pledged to memorize at least 24 Scripture verses in a year’s time and successfully achieved that goal several times.
Finally, last December I pledged to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. I’d made that resolution at least a dozen other times, but never achieved it. However, this time, by using the 10 keys I’m sharing here, I did indeed lose and keep off 20 pounds. Not only that, but I dropped two clothing sizes and have felt fitter, toner and healthier as a result.
Like I said, I’ve failed more often than I’ve succeeded when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. But let me share with you how I managed to succeed at these three goals and the transferable keys that can help you succeed, too.
10 Keys to Successfully Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions
By the way, if you’re a subscriber, you can access a printout of these 10 keys on the Freebies for Subscribers page.
#1 – Don’t make resolutions. Set goals.
To resolve may mean “to set your mind to,” but for most of us that’s about as far as our New Year’s resolutions go. Instead, when we set goals we tend to use more specific action terms that motivate us forward. I encourage you to write your goals down. Also, don’t set too many goals at once. I probably wouldn’t try to attain more than three major goals at a time.
#2 – Set measurable goals.
How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Set an amount, describe a desirable result, establish an end date or clarify the win. So, don’t just say, “I’m going to lose weight.” Instead, set a weight goal or a clothing size you plan to get into. And don’t just say, “I’m going to get fit.” Instead plan to train for a previously elusive 10k or half marathon.
When I memorize scripture, I set a tangible goal of memorizing 24 in a year. That’s one new scripture verse every two weeks. That’s a measurable, achievable goal.
#3 – Set feasible goals, not pie-in-the-sky dreams.
Yes, go big, by all means. Don’t sell yourself short. But don’t shoot so high that you feel defeated before you even begin. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! You may set one goal now, achieve it and then set another goal further down the road. Set yourself up for success by making your goal attainable…with some effort.
When I set out to read the Bible through, I came across programs that had you read it in just a few months. I knew I couldn’t give that singular goal that much of my time. But reading the Bible through in one year was a doable goal for me.
#4 – Establish tangible objectives.
Objectives are really bite-size goals. They’re the daily goals that help you achieve your overall goal. Objectives are the individual steps on the staircase that leads to your success.
Often we assume we know the path we’ll take to reach our goals, but we neglect to define them or write them down. But if you’ll take a few minutes to write out the specific objectives that will help you reach your goal, you’ll know the cost and be more likely to pay it willingly and regularly. You’ll know up front how much time you’ll need to invest, how much energy it will take and what you’ll need to say “no” to.
I liked that the FASTer Way to Fat Loss mapped out for me the objectives required to get me to my fitness and weight loss goals. I knew what I needed to eat each day and how I needed to exercise each day. As I achieved my objectives, I reached my goal. When I didn’t meet my objectives, I didn’t succeed at my goals.
#5 – Set a feasible time-line for your objectives.
Reaching a goal takes work and time. When we rush it, we soon feel overwhelmed and then defeated. Instead, if we set a reasonable timeline, not only for reaching the goal, but also for accomplishing each objective, we can pace ourselves for success.
When I decided to memorize 24 Scripture verses, I paced myself and gave myself 2 weeks for each verse. Plus I continued to review all the previous verses as I went.
#6 – Plan the work & work the plan.
Achieving our goals always requires work. First of all, it is hard work to break bad habits. But it’s also hard work to develop new good habits. Add to that the physical, mental, and emotional work of achieving any worthwhile goal.
That’s why we have to plan out our strategy and then work that plan. And when you need some help doing that, reach out to an expert or someone else who has a proven plan. That’s really the beauty of a Scripture reading plan, a Scripture memorization plan, a Bible study book, a fitness plan, a diet plan, a financial planning course, a business plan, etc. Bottom line? You have to have a plan if you’re going to achieve your goal.
I’ve generally done well with fitness and diet plans…for a while. I lost weight with the Weight Watchers plan and the Fast Metabolism plan, but then I gained it back. I needed a plan I could stick with long term. That’s why I like the FASTer Way to Fat Loss. I encourage you to find a plan – for whatever goals you set – that you can stick with long term.
#7 – Enlist helpful accountability.
I’m a firm believer in accountability. Setting up accountability is simply a matter of giving one or more people permission to ask you the tough questions on a regular and consistent basis. But you get to choose!
Honestly, I don’t want anyone in my family to hold me accountable. Maybe that’s prideful, but I just don’t like that set-up. Instead, I do better when I ask a trusted friend or preferably a perfect stranger to hold me accountable to my objectives and plan.
But accountability can also come in the form of a helpful app on your phone, a check list that you go through daily, a weekly meeting or a punch card. Just make sure you have some form of accountability set up. Few goals are ever achieved without it.
In FASTer Way to Fat Loss I was put in a Facebook community with about 50 other women and a few coaches. Each day we had to check in with vital information about our day. The women were friendly and supportive. No shaming was allowed. And the coaches were always available and knowledgeable.
#8 – Invest in success.
Reaching a goal will cost you. But I’ve discovered that we are more prone to seriously invest the required sweat and energy and personal sacrifice when we’ve also invested up front financially.
Buy in = priceless motivation. If something is free, on the other hand, I’m more prone to wane in my dedication to seeing it through. When I try to do something for free, I rarely take it seriously. So while it may feel extravagant to invest financially in your goal, it’s actually smart.
I’ve taught Bible study classes for over 25 years. Most every time we gave a woman a Bible study book instead of her purchasing it, she didn’t finish the course. On the other hand, when young moms living on tight budgets sacrificed to purchase their study books, they were more likely to doggedly stay the course.
#9 – Set up a reward system.
We all like rewards. And while I’m not for everyone receiving a trophy just for participating, I’m all for rewarding hard work and determination. And the rewards don’t have to come just at the end of the race.
When you set up your plan for achieving your goal, include some rewards along the timeline. For instance, if you attend your new Bible study class three weeks in a row, you could treat yourself to lunch out after the third class. Or if you’re reading the Bible through, you could reward yourself for a successful month of reading with a professional manicure or a banana split!
In the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, you get to treat yourself to a decadent goody of your choice each Saturday – leg day. I only let myself have that treat though if I’d had a successful week.
#10 – Tell others about your goal and your journey to reach it.
Many people make the mistake of keeping their New Year’s resolutions to themselves, thinking these are private affairs. Those people also fail to keep their resolutions. When we tell others about our goals and our journeys to achieve those goals, we continue to invest in our success. We raise the stakes, so to speak. We become more motivated to stay the course.
But we also inspire others to achieve their goals in the process. So don’t be afraid to share your journey – the ups and the downs – along the way.
Once, I set out to memorize the entire book of James. At first I wasn’t going to tell anyone because, one, I didn’t know if I’d succeed, and, two, I didn’t want to sound arrogant. But eventually I leaked my goal and the cat was out of the bag. In the end, I did memorize all five chapters – although I couldn’t quote them today! – and telling others became a way of encouraging them to invest in Scripture memory and meditation, too.
You can achieve your goals
Do you have goals you hope to achieve this year? I encourage you to work through these 10 keys as you set your goals. You could begin by sharing your goal with me or in the comments below. Put words to it. And then set yourself up for success. I believe you can achieve your goals. Go for it!
Remember, subscribers you can get your free printout of these tips on the Freebies for Subscribers page with your password.
If you’re interested in memorizing Scripture verses this year, let me know, and I’ll gladly give you some pointers.
If you’re interest in reading the Bible through this year, I highly recommend the Life Principles Daily Bible.
And of course, my suggestion for a plan for fitness and weight loss is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss. Otherwise, there are certainly other great programs out there. The main thing is to find a plan that you can stick with and that works for you.
If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, I hope you’ll pin it to one of your Pinterest boards and/or share it on your Facebook feed. Thanks so much for spending a little time here today. You may want to check out the other post I posted today here.
Blessed for My Day
While Jesus humbled Himself to be born into this world in flesh and bone, may we never reduce the Savior to just a babe in a manger. After singing Silent Night and Away in a Manger and Oh Holy Night, we do well to remind ourselves that this babe created the world and holds it in His hands. He overcame the grave and He has provided a way for each of us to overcome every obstacle and sin that grabs hold of us, too. He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. He is the Light of the world…and the Light that banishes darkness. Nothing is impossible for Him.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~ John 1:1-5