New Year, New Excuses? No — It’s Time to Fulfill Your Goals This Year


February is just around the corner — say it isn’t so!

Millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. However, did you know only 8 percent of men and women actually accomplish them? For those of us who took part in this annual tradition, realizing we didn’t continue — or even begin — our goals for the new year leaves a persistently nagging thought at the back of our minds.

But here’s why you shouldn’t worry. Just because it’s almost February doesn’t mean you have to wait another year to put effort into your resolutions.

Here are three steps to help you keep up with your annual goals (and feel fulfilled).

Step 1: Pick a maximum of three goals

You need to be realistic and understand that the more goals you have, the less likely it is for you to find happiness. This is because you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If you have 10 resolutions ranging from getting a new college degree, earning a job promotion, and learning how to swim all in one year — you might be so exhausted halfway through the year that you give up on all of them.

The trick is to focus on having one important goal, one you will strive to achieve no matter what. Then, you can set two secondary goals to work toward, but of achievable and realistic degrees.

Step 2: Write your resolutions and post them where you can see them

Humans are visual creatures, meaning many of us process information based on what we see. In fact, 65 percent of people are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network.

Writing your goals on sticky notes and plastering them where you can see them — such as the inside of your bedroom door, refrigerator, or work desk — might help remind yourself of the things you need to achieve. Write them in big, bold, you-can’t-miss-it letters.

Step 3: Stop making excuses

As cliche as it seems, the only person stopping you from achieving your goals is you.

Did you succumb to having takeout for lunch? You might tell yourself that you had a burger with a large side of fries because you didn’t have time to prepare your lunch this morning. Us humans have a knack for picking from the myriad of ready-to-use excuses that limit our capabilities.

But why do we do this?

Changing our excuse-making behavior may be equally challenging as keeping a resolution, if not more difficult. Making up an excuse is second-nature us and often a subconscious process, whereas breaking a habit requires conscious effort. According to Headspace, a brief period of mindfulness meditation can be a quick and compelling strategy to foster self-control, even if we feel inadequate. So, whenever you feel weak and tempted, keep in mind that a minute is enough to restart your mind’s awareness and regulatory abilities.

A Final Word

What are your personal resolutions for the year? — Whether it’s the beginning of February or halfway through the entire year, it’s not too late to achieve them. The New Year may represent a new beginning, but then again, so does every new day.