New Year’s Realization Tiny Goals Equal Big Results

As Ryan Seacrest and his merry band helped us ring in the New Year from New York City’s Times Square, people all over the nation in their respective time zones positioned themselves next to their significant others and started the year with a midnight smooch. Another New Year’s ritual in which many took part – particularly those whose pants were fitting a little more snugly than they did pre-Thanksgiving – was the making of New Year’s Resolutions.

I’ve been known to make resolutions regarding my health, exercise and financial goals. Despite my best intentions, the business of life, temptations of past eating habits, or the after-Christmas sales at the stores have derailed my plan for success. I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one with a problem, and it’s made me realize the two major culprits contributing to our collective downfall.

Unrealistic Goals

Losing 200 pounds, cutting fast food out of my diet, saving enough money to buy a house in cash … do these sound like your New Year’s resolutions? The primary factor contributing to the failure of keeping a resolution is an unrealistic goal. If you set a goal to pay off all of your credit card debt in 2015, but you know it would literally take an act of God to make that to happen, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Why lie to yourself?

Emotional Reactions to Failure

So much of our decision-making is based on emotions and feelings. One thing that almost always creates negative emotions is finding out that we’ve been lied to. When we lie to ourselves, our negative emotions kick in and often precipitate horrible decision-making that just leads us down the road to more undesirable outcomes. I like to call it “The Crazy Cycle,” in which a poor decision leads to bad emotions, which leads to more poor decisions. The sad outcome of the Crazy Cycle is that we don’t trust ourselves to make good decisions and begin to feel hopeless about effecting change in our lives.
“The Awesome Cycle”

So, in 2015, my challenge to all of us is to set a series of small goals that are measurable and easy to meet so that we can start building trust in ourselves. By doing this, we will start to produce the opposite of “The Crazy Cycle.” I call it “The Awesome Cycle,” wherein the goals we are able to meet will start producing the feelings that will bring about self-trust and positive emotions, which will in turn empower us to set more goals that we can accomplish.

For some of us, a tiny goal might be to get off the couch at a specific time on Sunday to go for a walk in the snow with family. But know this: once you’ve set that goal, you have to accomplish it. Take this commitment to yourself as seriously as if you had made the commitment to someone else. If the time we set for that Sunday walk is 2:35pm, then 2:35pm is when we stand up from the couch and start moving. Others may have a goal to put $20 cash in a shoebox every week to make sure that next year’s Christmas gifts won’t be paid for with a credit card.

If you have had trouble keeping your past New Year’s resolutions, whether they were financial, health-related, or personal in nature, try establishing tiny goals in order to build trust in yourself when you accomplish them. Starting down a path of positive emotions will help you make even better decisions later and become the person you know you can be. Happy New Year, everyone! ♦

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