Many of us started this month with resolutions to make changes in
2021. In December’s blog Planning for 2021, I suggested ways to articulate
your goals that would help you achieve them. If the changes you’re hoping
to make now are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time
Bound,” you have a head-start.

Even if they’re not, here are some ideas to help you accomplish them:

1. Set reasonable expectations. Any goal will take time and effort to
accomplish. Remember that an ice cube starts to melt only when the
surrounding temperature reaches 32 degrees.

2. Be consistent. Each day take some action – even a small one –
toward reaching your goal. For example, the goal of speaking Spanish
(one of my own resolutions) requires incremental progress. That
means opening Babbel or DuoLingo and taking a short lesson every
day. But when I fail to do it daily, my mind blanks on vocabulary.

3. Identify a routine. Routines are one way to manage disturbances.
They also help create certainty and reduce anxiety. If you’re
wondering when you’ll get your run in tomorrow, pick the most certain
time and plan to do it then every day.

4. Create some “carrots.” Put some “carrots” in your plan to
incentivize you to do the work. Maybe it’s a mani-pedi after you’ve lost
5 pounds or maybe it’s new shoes after you’ve run your first 10K.

5. Remind yourself. Print out slogans or images to remind you of the
goal and slap them onto your mirror or your monitor. My favorite
slogan is “Can do, will do.”

6. Be mindful of your environment. Your progress toward achieving
your goals won’t occur in a vacuum. Consider the individuals around
you and your physical setting. If you’re trying to avoid smoking, taking
your break with smokers won’t help.

7. Cut yourself a break. Inevitably, you will slip up. Maybe you’ll miss a
day or several days. All of us do. Don’t beat yourself up. Remind
yourself of your motive to change and recognize the upside of change.

Onward and upward to reaching your goals for 2021!