Setting small goals can help you achieve your larger goals in 2024

Have you kept your New Year’s resolutions up to date? You’re not alone if you have. People are not very good at making big changes in their behavior all at once. This is why some estimate that 80% of people do not keep their New Year’s resolutions. It is much easier to make small changes over time. The “Couch to 5-Kilometer” program is a great example, as it helps people improve their running fitness by taking small steps.

You may have noticed “in-and-out” lists on TikTok this year. Young people don’t want to make a major life change but rather try new food or fashion trends. Others are urging low-stakes or fun resolutions like trying more pasta shapes.

It is good to set goals, even if they aren’t always achieved. Goals can improve your life because they focus your attention, boost your motivation, and help you learn. The pursuit and achievement of objectives are linked to wellbeing and life satisfaction.

This article is a part of Quarter Life. It’s a series of articles about issues that affect those of us who are in our 20s and 30s. The challenges of starting a career, taking care of your mental health, and the excitement of having a child or adopting a pet are all part of the Quarter Life series. These articles explore questions and provide answers to help us navigate through this turbulent time in our lives.

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Engaging in fun and low-stakes goals can also be beneficial. Creating more opportunities for playfulness and laughter reduces stress and can make activities more enjoyable in the moment. The low-stakes goal of trying new pasta shapes helps you achieve bigger goals of cooking from scratch and eating healthier meals.

Selecting the Right Goal

It’s easy to blame yourself for not meeting a goal. You might think you aren’t dedicated, motivated, or disciplined enough. The problem may be more with the choice of goal: choosing the wrong one or setting up too many goals at once.

According to research, there are two types of goals: learning goals and performance goals. Performance goals are short-term and focused on a specific result, such as achieving the presentation or gaining a promotion. Learning goals promote long-term skills development and improvement that leads to better results over time. For example, learning a new language. Combining the two types of goals will increase your chances of success and personal growth.

To achieve goals, you must invest personal resources, including time, money, and skills. It would help if you also had social support. It would help if you decided how to direct your energy. Do you want to focus on one or two large goals, or do you prefer to adopt a few smaller goals?

How to achieve your goals: Tips

1. Be Smart

It has been proven that writing a plan based on SMART goals theory can help people achieve their goals. SMART stands specifically for specific, measurable, and realistic. As an example, you could say: “I’ll walk 10,000 steps every day by taking my dogs out for a stroll in the evening and walking during my lunch break.” Or “I’ll write three things that I am grateful for each night in my journal before I go to bed.”

Structured approaches can help you focus on a single goal while you are aware of what it takes to reach your goal.

2. Stay Positive

Instead of “avoiding” junk food, set an “approaching” goal. “I’ll eat an Orange as my midafternoon snack” instead of “I won’t snack on junk foods.” Positively framing your goals will increase positive emotions and motivation. Avoiding things is not as motivating.

Try a different pasta shape to help you reach your goals. ViDI Studios/Shutterstock

3. Prepare for failure

A coping strategy is essential to achieving your goals. It’s okay to struggle rather than give up when you hit the first obstacle. You are also allowed to fail, mess up, or miss your goals because you are human.

It is important not to give up and not beat yourself up. Talk to yourself like you would a friend or coach. It may be necessary to refine your goal or make it more realistic. You can also add some rewards that will help you to stay on track.

4. Celebrate the Holidays

When setting goals, you should consider not only the rewards that you would like to receive but also what you are willing and able to pay. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits suggests that instead of waiting for the next milestone to be reached, you should set goals you are happy working towards.

You don’t need to be a marathon runner, a new parent or a promoted employee to celebrate. Celebrating small victories and unconventional milestones, such as low-stakes New Year’s resolutions, can increase happiness and well-being.

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