Many people set a New Year’s resolution, determined to get better results than the previous year. Be it more weight loss, decluttering your house or office, or the amount of exercise you get each week—we like the idea of starting over with a clean slate.

And we’ve all been there in the middle of February when we realize we’ve backslidden, fallen off the wagon, and resorted to vegging on the couch with Netflix, leaving our goal deserted and alone.

How can we prepare ourselves to do better this time? Here are five steps to give yourself an edge and make it more likely you’ll stick to your objective.

1.  Make your goal a SMART goal. The acronym is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Setting a goal to “do better” or to “do your best” often leads to failure because it’s difficult to know if you’ve accomplished what you wanted to achieve. In that vein, you must be able to measure your progress. Whether you’re counting the length of time you can hold a plank or tracking how long you take to respond to an email; you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment if you can point to something that shows you met your goal. But you also want to set a goal that you can attain. If you’re doing a couch-to-5K running program, you probably don’t want to put your goal as winning the Boston Marathon. Challenge yourself but be reasonable. Make sure your goal feeds into your life or work aspirations. Your goal should be beneficial and contribute to your success in your home life or work. And lastly, give yourself a deadline. Some people work better under pressure, and a deadline helps stave off procrastination.

2.  Write your goals down. According to Gail Matthews, writing your goals down gives you a better chance of success. Despite our best intentions, we often fail to meet goals because we slide back into old routines. We realize too late that we forgot to take that thirty-minute walk at lunch. If you have it written down, posted in a place where you’ll see it each day, you’ll help yourself train that new habit until it becomes second nature.

3.  Break your goal into smaller steps. Maybe you’ve heard the old riddle: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Spread your ultimate goal over many smaller ones. Not only will the smaller steps keep the objective from overwhelming, but they will also give you plenty of minor victories along the way, keeping your motivation high. Do you have a chore you’ve been avoiding at work because it seems too big? Set a timer and work on it in fifteen-minute chunks. Fifteen minutes may not seem like much, but it’s more than you’re doing now, and it will add up.

4. Develop a plan. What specific steps would you like to take to accomplish your goal? Can you start with clearing out a space or getting yourself organized with office supplies? Scheduling a specific time each day to work on your goal will help. Are there people you can enlist to help you? Try to think of every roadblock, then problem-solve around them so that it will be harder for those stumbling blocks to get in your way once you start.

5.  Be accountable. Tell someone what you plan to do and ask them to check in with you. When we know someone is counting on us or expecting an update, it can often be that small push we need when we want to quit.

Let 2023 be a new year for you. By planning and setting goals, you can make this year your most productive yet. Let Gillman Services, Inc. help you on your path to a successful 2023. Contact us today.