Is the sinking feeling of your goals slipping away starting to get to you? It was easy to rock your resolutions for the first weeks of the year. Now that more than a few projects and demands have piled up, though, the shiny new year is feeling, well, not so shiny. You’re wondering if you’ll be able to stick with the habits you wanted to create. But with a little goal hacking and a lot of support and accountability, nothing will get in your way.
Despite fears of the post-January slump, research shows the new year is a fantastic time to go after your goals. With these five goal hacking tips to make your resolutions stick, you’ll be celebrating when 2020 rolls in and you’ve crushed every one of your 2019 resolutions.
Break big goals into bite-sized chunks.
So those big, amazing goals you’ve been setting? They may actually be working against your brain! If you’ve ever felt totally overwhelmed when working towards a major goal, you know how this feels. But that doesn’t mean you should sideline your awe-inspiring goals. You just have to use a little scientific goal hacking to get there.
In her book The Progress Principle, author Teresa Amabile reveals that perceived progress is the single biggest motivator to achieving major goals. By breaking goals into actionable chunks, you can continually make progress on your big goals and give yourself the motivation to keep going. For example, if 2019 is the year you’re finally running a marathon, tackle a 5K first to maintain your momentum.
Cut out the contingency plan.
While making a backup plan could help you worry less about the outcome of your efforts, it actually decreases your performance. A University of Wisconsin study found that individuals who were assigned to formulate a backup plan before working toward a primary goal performed far worse than those who solely focused on their ability to complete the task. They found that creating a contingency plan decreases the desire to achieve the original goal.
Say your goal is to land a great new job. Before your interview, you might tell yourself, “It’s okay if this doesn’t work out, my current job isn’t that bad.” True? Sure. But you’ve just told yourself that mediocrity is okay, and you’ve given yourself permission to fail. Instead of comforting yourself with a backup plan that’s all too easy to fall back on, trust yourself to do what you need to do and think creatively in order to achieve your goals.
Catch yourself in a stress mindset.
Do your goals stress you out? Of course, it’s tough to stick with them if all you can think about is the massive to-do list you have to complete in order to finally accomplish your goal. When you approach your goals expecting to feel stress and overwhelm, you unknowingly reduce your working memory capacity and may be more likely to make mistakes and lose focus.
Experts have proven that the stress process begins the moment you start worrying about how stressful something will be! Want to cook healthier dinners by meal prepping on the weekend? Even making your grocery list can feel stressful, but don’t let that stop you! If you catch yourself starting to stress, remind yourself to take several deep breaths and focus on how amazing achieving your goal will feel. Your mindset as you begin your task is critical to how you perform.
Remove all possible temptation.
Your environment is key to your success in achieving your goals. No matter how motivated you are, the design of your environment can set you up to succeed — or make habits extremely difficult to maintain.
In The Willpower Instinct, Dr. Kelly McGonigal teaches that self-control doesn’t come from super-human willpower. The ability to stick with your goals has much to do with your environment. She recommends removing the temptations around you and honing in your focus with helpful reminders like calendar alarms and post-it notes. When you cut out all the triggers in your environment, you’ll be able to keep your mind focused on what you really want to accomplish.
Find accountability in a supportive friend.
Many people keep their big goals a secret for fear of embarrassing failure, not realizing that this very action could be keeping them from success. The American Society of Training and Development discovered that we are 65% more likely to achieve a goal after sharing and committing to it with another person.
Don’t wait until you reach success to share your dreams with someone else. The power of support and accountability from a colleague or friend can be enormous as you move forward toward the goals you’re most passionate about.
Ready to rock your resolutions this year? Central Exchange is a place where you can find accountability and authentic community to become your very best self. Come explore!
Join us at our upcoming #2019Goals Workshop with Robin Helget, Millennial Life Coach, on 1/30. Register now >>