You don’t need to wait until the New Year to decide to change something! Reach your goal, resolution or new habit with these five simple and fundamental steps.

1. Change the Time Frame

Give up any idea of a New Year’s resolution and instead say “hello” to new month’s resolutions. Bite-size chunks are less daunting and more do-able (that is, if you stay focused). In addition, it often takes 30 days to build a habit!

I tape a calendar of the current and next couple months on my mirror and keep a pen ready. Every day, I mark off (or not, if I didn’t succeed that day) my achievement on a certain habit or goal I’m trying to obtain. Consistency is key, and that’s what should be built up first. It’s a pretty narrow and intense chunk of time, but it’s all you really need if you do it right.

2.Treat It as a Chain

Numerous studies have already proved that, as a result of some weird psychological habit, we like to see a chain grow– it’s more visually pleasing and rewarding.

What I mean is, if you resolve to drink more water each day and you’ve already crossed off four consecutive days when you were successful, you’ll be more inclined to continue that streak– don’t break the chain. There’s also an app for that, and probably a bunch of other sites and apps trying to attract the health nuts out there. This technique– building your habit as a chain– works alone just fine, but it works magic in conjunction with all these other steps in this post.

3. One at a Time, BUT…

We all know they say that when coming up with a New Year’s resolution, just stick to one. In order to gain a good habit or scrap a bad one, it needs your full, undivided attention. See, the thinking is that if you try to juggle several resolutions, the quality and success of each one will plummet.

But here’s the twist. It’s not just a matter of full focus on getting into a good habit or reaching a goal; it’s about continuing your good habits from before. So if in January you’re goal was to drink eight glasses a day and you achieved it, then hurrah! But then in February what happens if you totally drop that newly attained habit and instead try to go to the gym more as your new goal? The trade-off just isn’t productive.

The take-away here is that your concentration mostly goes to the current goal you set to achieve, but your effort does overlap with maintaining previous good habits.

4. Keep it Measurable

This one’s pretty straightforward. We earthlings love to dream about the nebulous. Yeah, you want to be happy, but how will you get there? It’s great to think big, but it’s also important to think practically. For example, if you want to be more thankful, consider writing down 5 things you’re grateful for each day. Even better, give it a consistent daily time frame– every morning, for instance. Measurable and consistent steps will trail-blaze your path before you even begin your journey.

5. Remember, You’re Human

One of the obstacles I’ve personally had to overcome is what to do when I miss a day and slash that consistent habit trend. At the beginning, that one day I couldn’t cross off on the calendar would bother me because it reminded me that I “broke the chain” so to speak. The key, as I’ve discovered, is to remember that you’re human. There’s a learning curve, and you will triumph in the end as long as you persist in your actions.

Not meeting your goal for one day does not mean you failed. But giving up because you didn’t meet your goal for one day does mean you failed. For many, this shouldn’t be a problem, but for some, perfectionism it’s an quite a hurdle to leap over. For all, it’s a fundamental reminder of who we are in our pursuit to become a better version of ourselves.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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