As another school year goes into the history books, and summer vacation is in full swing, there is an elephant in the room. What about all those goals you wanted to achieve back in January? Since close to half of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned after a month, there’s a good chance you’ve forgotten yours by now.
That’s not to say your goals weren’t grand. According to a YouGov poll, the top three resolutions in 2018 were to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money. Even though the year is half over, there’s still plenty of time to check those boxes. Rather than store them away again until next January, let’s harness the power of the summer and finish 2018 strong. (See also: 10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year’s)
However, doing the same thing and expecting different results is probably not the best approach. If you’re serious about accomplishing your goals in the next three months, let’s change tactics.
Break your goals into manageable chunks
The reason many of us lose focus is that our goals are very lofty. They’re also not well defined. It can be hard to determine whether you’ve had success if your goal isn’t quantifiable. And when we don’t see instant results, our motivation can wane. Instead of focusing on that grand goal of weight loss or debt reduction, start with a smaller interim step.
Set a specific goal to exercise three times this week or drink two extra glasses of water every day. Now your goal is measurable and a feeling of accomplishment can be achieved, in short order. As time goes on and you achieve the smaller goals, you’re likely to sustain the adjusted healthy behavior.
If you have a mountain of debt ahead of you, focus on tracking expenses to see where your money is going, and getting a written budget in place before each pay period. (See also: 5 Steps to Successful Budgeting)
These smaller tasks are manageable and easy to repeat regularly, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Build up momentum during the days of summer so that you can turn this newfound focus into a positive long-term habit way before Christmas rolls around. (See also: 25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to This One Your Biggest Year Yet)
Find accountability partners
Use positive peer pressure as the secret sauce needed to remain vigilant. Whether that’s an exercise partner, someone with the authority to pinch you anytime you reach for a cigarette, or a money club who meets regularly to discuss financial goals and priorities. We are not designed to live this life alone. So recruiting someone who can participate in your journey to goal completion can make all the difference.
Opening up to someone about things we feel less confident about can be scary. It’s hard to be vulnerable and let others in on the big secret that we don’t have it all together. The good news is that people in your life already know you have flaws. We all do. Exchange support with your friends and family members because they might need help dusting off and resurrecting their New Year’s resolutions, too. (See also: This Trick Could Help You Finally Pay Off Your Debt)
Make your bed
Make your bed. Every single day.
That’s what former Navy SEAL, four-star admiral, and former chancellor at the University of Texas — William H. McRaven — attributes to his success. He told USA Today, “There’s a power behind making your bed every morning. Learn to do the little things well, learn to make your bed right. And that transcends into a lot of other things you do.”
His book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe the World, discusses his theory of how starting your day off by accomplishing a doable task, like making your bed, sets the tone for the rest of your day. When you have a sense of accomplishment early on, you create a sense of momentum that will build and help you tackle more complex tasks with gusto.
So give it a try. For the next three months, start your day by making your bed. See if that doesn’t translate into significant progress toward completing those resolutions by Labor Day.