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I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but everybody else is talking about them right now. After reading half a dozen blog posts about New Year’s goals or resolutions, I can’t help thinking about my goals and all of the things I’ve been meaning to do.

I’m not very old, but I already know that resolving to do something is practically useless. Maybe it works for you–if so, congratulations!–but I will promptly forget my resolutions and not think about them again until a particularly depressing day in March. Goals are a little better, though I’m not likely to remember my healthy eating goal until I’m 7/8 of the way done with my bowl of ice cream.

But this post wasn’t supposed to be failure confession time. Instead of talking about lofty goals for the future, I would like to mention three things that help me achieve goals.

Small Goals

I like bite-size goals because they are easy to achieve. I find that it’s easier to motivate myself to complete a small goal and harder to come up with excuses for not meeting it. Granted, my daily progress is small, but over time, it adds up.

Daily Goals

I operate best when I plan in advance to accomplish things today. This helps guard against distractions and helps insure that I am making progress toward my larger goals. This corresponds to the first area, in that the goals have to be small enough that they are definitely achievable today. It also gives me less time to forget my goal.

Using Peak Energy Times

I’m currently working on making better use of my peak energy times. Like most people, my motivation fluctuates. Of course, my work is much better when I’m enthusiastic, and it is so nice to get things done without forcing myself!

For example, take the matter of washing dishes. I have nothing against washing dishes, but when I have fixed the supper and then stuffed myself with the supper, I have no desire to wash dishes. However, if I will fill my sink with hot soapy water when I start cooking, I can wash dishes as I go along. I save time by cleaning up while the food cooks and I have more time to relax after supper! I definitely have more energy before supper than afterward, so this is wise use of my energy.

It’s a mind game

I firmly believe that accomplishing goals/keeping resolutions/whatever occurs mainly in our minds. We use our minds to set the goal, to plan for the goal, and to motivate ourselves to achieve the goal. So rather than setting huge, unattainable goals, why not craft a strategy to help ourselves make daily progress on the things that are really important to us?

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