Body & Mind

New Year’s resolutions: how to achieve your goals in 7 steps

New Year’s resolutions often fail because we start with vague goals and don’t know how to put them into practice. To make your next resolutions a success, we show you 7 simple steps you can take to actually achieve your goals.

Woman jumping and smiling.

1. Set clear goals 

The SMART formula will help you. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timed. If your goal meets all 5 criteria, it will be a lot easier for you to implement it in your everyday life.

Specific: 

Be as clear and specific as possible. Instead of a vague resolution like “exercise more” commit to a goal like: “I will exercise twice a week for 30 minutes. And I’ll make time for that on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.”

Measurable: 

Establish criteria by which you can measure your progress. Want to eat healthier? Then make a commitment to eat at least one healthy meal every day. That way, you can easily track your progress.

Attractive:

Find a goal that you really want to achieve. The stronger your intrinsic motivation, the more likely you are to keep at it.

Realistic: 

Find a goal that is feasible for you within the limits of your abilities and time resources.

Timed: 

Set a time frame – if possible even an exact date – by which you want to have reached your goal. 

2. Break your goal down into actionable steps

You want to run a half marathon in 6 months? Then set yourself intermediate goals that will support you on your way. The first month your target is e.g. to run 2 km at a stretch, in the 2nd month 4 km and so on. This way you can measure your progress and even big goals are broken down into manageable steps.

3. Write down your goals

Writing down your goals not only helps you to formulate them clearly and precisely, it also makes your goal seem more real once you see it on paper.

Our tip: You can keep your goal in mind every day by writing it on a Post-it and sticking it on the fridge or carrying it around in your phone case. Just pick a place where you’re guaranteed to see it on a daily basis.

4. Set one goal at a time

Even if you’re bursting with enthusiasm at the beginning of a new resolution, setting too many goals at once usually means that you won’t achieve any of them at all. Start with one goal and move on to the next as soon as you’ve accomplished your first goal.

Man doing a live class in front of the VAHA fitness mirror.

5. Define obstacles on your way

What might keep you from achieving your goal? If you think about what challenges await you early on, you can plan ahead.

For instance, if you want to work out in the morning, but you’re always slow to get going,  lay out your workout clothes the day before. That way, you can start right away when you get up, without losing time and motivation rummaging through your closet.

6. Reward yourself for your successes

Reward yourself for your milestones by treating yourself to a feel-good bath or a nice meal out. Celebrating your successes will not only keep you motivated, but it will also help you have more fun on the road to reaching your goals and developing new routines.

7. Stay patient

Change takes time, so don’t let setbacks get you down. After all, a big part of your success depends on perseverance and a positive mindset

Don’t pressure yourself to do everything right the first time, but celebrate every little step in the right direction. At VAHA, we have a favorite mantra for this: progress over perfection.

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