We’ve all been there—making goals then failing to stick to them. Many times willpower has nothing to do with accomplishing what we want. The problem often lies with not being specific enough about what we want to accomplish. For instance, many people say, “I want to lose weight” and then leave it at that. No plan is made, no research into healthier cooking is attempted. Then they sit and complain when they don’t lose weight. The following ideas may help you finally stick to your goals and even see victory:
1. Be extremely specific. Write down your precise goal. For instance, “Eat healthier” is not specific enough. Try to find a workable goal such as “Substitute fruit for sugary desserts 5 nights per week.”
2. Make it bite-sized. For example, if it is your goal to read the Bible more, agree to read, say, 2 chapters per night. You may find yourself so excited when you read the words of scripture, that you may actually increase your goal to more than 2 chapters per night.
3. Be patient. We are all creatures of habit. When we try to trade old habits for new ones, our minds and bodies automatically resist. Pray often to stay on track. The more you practice your new habit the easier it will become second nature.
4. Always make a plan. If your goal is to be healthier, research the subject extensively and find healthy recipes, or find ways to make your existing recipes healthier. Write down a detailed shopping list and stick to it. Never shop when you are hungry as you will be more likely to splurge on items not on your list.
5. Enlist the help of others. Tell a trusted friend that you have made a goal and would like help sticking with it. That way he or she will not place unnecessary obstacles in your path. In fact, your friend may even try to help you by joining you in your goal. Many friends agree to take a half hour walk together if exercise is the goal of both. It makes the experience more enjoyable and easier to stick to.
6. Don’t get overwhelmed! Reaching a goal can be difficult if you simply have too many things to do. You may need to give up something in order to reach your goal. Trying to add a goal to your already jam-packed schedule is a recipe for disaster. For example, if your goal is to get more sleep, you may need to stop checking your emails late at night. You want to create a peaceful atmosphere before bed and watching television or checking emails can cause unnecessary excitement which will keep you awake. Most of all never give up!