February is in full swing, and for many people, that means looking ahead to spring and forgetting all about those New Year’s resolutions from last month. In fact, approximately 80 percent of folks admit to giving up on their resolutions by February.
However, before you totally abandon all hope of achieving your goals, you can still press on if you change your habits and mindset. So, before you leave those resolutions in the dust, here are seven tips to try before totally ditching your 2022 New Year’s goals.
Rethink your starting date.
Although a new year is a catchy time to start working toward improving, it isn’t the only chance to begin a fresh routine. Many things, such as the dreary weather or post-holiday blues, can severely hinder progress. “January 1 can sometimes feel like the only opportunity to make a lasting change,” says Jennifer Hettema, PhD, senior clinical director at LifeStance Health. “The truth is there are no hard and fast rules about New Year’s resolutions. If you don’t feel ready to start working on a goal in January, don’t.” Instead, she suggests resetting your intentions and starting when you’re ready, which could be on a Tuesday in mid-March.
Show compassion toward yourself.
You’re human, which means that schedules can change, priorities will shift, and you may not feel up to performing tasks on certain days. It’s easy to get frustrated and overcome with guilt when you have setbacks. “Falling into a guilt-trip mindset won’t necessarily lead to productivity and may even keep you from tackling that to-do list tomorrow,” says Bara Sapir, an educator and life coach. Realizing that failures are a possibility and allowing yourself the flexibility to blunder and then pick back up where you left off can be freeing. “Be kind to yourself, and remember that we are all taking this thing one day at a time,” says Sapir.
Work toward your goal slowly.
An all-or-nothing way of thinking can hinder your progress, especially if you try to quit something cold turkey or perform a task every day. Life happens, and some habits are hard to break, so take baby steps toward a larger goal. “It can be more effective to work your way towards your end goal rather than burning out because you set an incredibly difficult goal early on,” Hettema says.
For example, if you want to be on your phone less, work toward decreasing the amount of time you spend on it gradually while finding something else to occupy your time. “Incorporate new hobbies slowly into your routine, like reading or hiking, so that the time away from the screen is something that you enjoy and look forward to, rather than feeling like a chore,” recommends Hettema.
Spend your time purposefully.
For many, working from home has upended schedules. If your day used to be broken down into chunks — getting ready for work, time at the office, and then an evening filled with to-dos — you may be struggling with a lack of structure. Sapir says it’s imperative to stop being aimless with time and make a weekly schedule to map out your days.
“By organizing your schedule each week and checking it each night before you go to bed or when you awaken, you start each day with an action plan,” she says.
Consider what is hindering your progress.
Think about your goals and what’s keeping you from attaining them. Maybe you had a hectic month or were traveling, which kept you from starting that organization project you wanted to complete by the end of January. Schedule each week to look back on your progress and assess what’s keeping you from taking steps forward.
“Taking time for reflection each Sunday before you begin the next week allows you to make a solid plan to move forward, assured that it’s a plan that moves you closer to your goals,” says holistic life coach Kimberly DuBrul. Assess what went right and wrong in the past week, and give yourself permission to readjust.
Keep your goals top of mind.
Part of successfully reaching your objectives and making changes is not to lose sight of them, and forgetting them is easy to do when schedules get bogged down. Work, family, and day-to-day priorities can take over, so plan to give yourself simple reminders. “Set aside a few minutes at the start of each day to set daily intentions,” suggests Hettema. “It can be helpful to write a reminder and put it in a place that you frequently see, like a bathroom mirror or dresser.”
Formulate a new plan of action.
Did you make your 2022 goals without breaking down the steps needed to attain them? That could be part of the problem. If you did create an action plan, you may need to make minor adjustments based on your experience. “In goal-setting and setting up your schedule, consider all the steps you need to take to materialize them,” Sapir says. “Break down everything — even small things — into easy-to-accomplish steps.” Her final word of advice? “Just do something, no matter how small it seems!”