It’s almost April now, which means it’s been three months since you first started out on your New Year’s goals.
This isn’t a check-in to make you feel bad about how far you are in your goals. Just an encouragement and hopefully a practical tool to help you get back, or stay, on track.
In an article by Harvard Business Review, it’s noted how momentum changes over time in terms of setting new goals. In January, we have the opportunity to start new, fresh. We haven’t had the time to make mistakes or eat poorly. We’re pumped to take on the new year with a new plan, and a new mentality.
Then January passes us by. We’re in February, and we’ve either completely given up on our goals or we are wavering by the day. By March, the enthusiasm we had mere months ago feels like a distant memory.
How do you continue on? Of course, the goals you chose were important enough for you to set way back when, so what’s keeping you from accomplishing them now?
In the same article, HBR recommends checking in on your goals every single day. Now, that sounds a little daunting and a whole lot of extra work. But breaking your goals down into small, daily habits makes it much easier to track. And the easier it is to track, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable.
All it takes is a simple checklist.
To make your own simple checklist, you first have to break your big goals into smaller, tangible practices. For example, if one of my goals is to read a certain amount of books in a year, my trackable, daily practice could be to read one chapter of something a day.
So, Monday through Friday I’ll end the day by checking “yes” or “no” next to “Reach one chapter a day.”
Here’s the example they had in the article based on one executive’s goals:
- Listen better. Attend one meeting a day without devices.
- Micromanage less. Use the delegation dial technique during one-on-one meetings with his staff to loosen his control and empower them to take on new responsibilities.
- Value others’ time. Limit instant messages to two a day among all colleagues.
That executive went as far as creating a table to help him track his progress:
Break down your goals in small, trackable habits that you can check “yes” or “no” on every day. If you need help, I created a “Yes List” template for you to use as well. Just press “file” and “make a copy” to edit it as your own, or “download as – Microsoft Excel.”
Moral of the story is: It’s not too late! You can still get back on track with your New Year’s goals, even in April. All you need to get started is a simple checklist.
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