Okay. It’s accountability time.
You didn’t think we were going to do this, did you?
You thought pop quizzes were only for school?
Well a) we are and b) they’re not.
Here’s your question:
How is your New Year’s resolution going?
For those of you who weren’t here for that last post, don’t worry, we’ll give you an A+ on this quiz—but you’d better study for the next one.
As for the rest of you, it’s February—one month down, eleven to go. So, seriously, how is your resolution going? Great? Good? Maybe-not-so-good? Have you stuck with it? Has it been an on-off sort of thing? (Be honest, did you completely forget about it?)
Well, we’re reminding you. So pick up that goal for 2019 and brush the dust off it, because you’re not done with it yet. There are still over ten months left in the year. That’s over 80% of the year remaining. It is by no means too late to achieve your New Year’s resolution—but it is too early to give up on it. Just think of February or March as “Second January.” So let’s get started!
Step 1: Review
It’s hard to keep your goal if you’re a little fuzzy on what it was to begin with. If you read our post about making New Year’s resolution (and actually followed the advice), then you should have either written or typed your goal somewhere. That’s a great place to start.
However, there’s still more you should refresh yourself on. For example, why did you make that resolution? You probably had a strong reason for choosing that goal. Is there something in your life that desperately needs to change? Are you working toward a larger goal that you want to achieve? Spend some time reminding yourself what motivated you to make your resolution in the first place.
You’ll also want to refresh your memory on how you planned to achieve that goal. What practical steps were you going to take? This will be very important for our next point.
Step 2: Evaluate
So how are you doing on your goal, really? The more concrete you can be in evaluating your progress the better. For example, if your goal/plan is trackable, great! How many times have you followed through on your plan? How did you feel when you did follow through? How many times have you skipped or stopped short on what you planned to do?
Of course, some goals are harder to track than others. You’ll still want to take the time to evaluate at least how you feel you’re doing. Do you feel you’re succeeding, failing, or somewhere in between?
If you feel you’re sticking to your plan and on your way to achieving your New Year’s resolution, great! However, since you’re reading this article in the first place, there’s a good chance that’s not the case. What do you feel is the biggest obstacle keeping you from following through with your goal? Is there something externally keeping you from following through, or is it something internal? Even if your goal is going well, you’re still probably reading this for a reason and things could surely be going better in some way. So what parts of your goal are you still struggling with? Where can you build on your current progress?
The first step to fixing a problem is figuring out what it is, so define what you feel are the biggest obstacles between you and your goal, then write them down.
Step 3: Problem-Solve
Now that you’ve defined your problem, it’s time to solve it. Spends some time brainstorming solutions. You can ask friends and family for suggestions too, especially if you know they’ve had success in that same area.
If you’re struggling to imagine what this looks like, let me provide a personal example. One of my goals for 2019 was to get up by 7 every morning, but I was struggling with two main obstacles.
The first was that, no matter how much I wanted to get up early, it just wouldn’t happen for me when I was consistently not getting enough sleep. On my path to getting up earlier was a neglected step: getting to bed earlier. After realizing that, I set a specific time to be in bed by and stuck to it—well, for the most part. It doesn’t happen every evening, but getting to bed earlier most nights has made it so much easier to get up early the following morning.
The second obstacle was that, while I genuinely enjoy being up early once I’m out of bed, I couldn’t always find the motivation to physically get out of bed by 7. I solved this internal problem with something external—a phone app recommended by a friend. The app won’t let me turn off the alarm until I complete a task that requires me to get out of bed. It works great—I hate it. That being said, it has been extremely effective in getting me out of bed.
The best solution for your problem could be common sense (if you want to get up earlier, go to bed earlier) or it could be more outside of the box (try a new app designed to creatively solve your problem). Once you have a solution in mind, you can move on to the most straightforward step.
Step 4: Act
You know what your goal is and how it’s going. You’ve figured out where you’re struggling and how you might overcome it. Now implement your strategy.
Seriously, it’s pretty straightforward. But those last three steps will be of no use if you don’t follow through. As the last article said, after all this planning and build-up, you should have no excuse.
Step 5: Repeat
Maybe your solution will work. Maybe it won’t. Or maybe your results won’t be that easy to straightforward. Set a day to evaluate your progress (a week from now, a month from—whatever works best for your personal goal) and repeat the process. Remember, you’re only two months into the new year—it’s not too late to achieve your resolution, but it is too late to give up. You don’t have to wait till New Year’s Day of 2020 to start one small habit or work toward one personal goal that could change your life for the better.
For more ways to thrive during the awfulness that is February (because let’s be honest, February in the Midwest is terrible), check out CedarCreek’s February series! You can find service times and locations on our website and watch past services here.
This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently an intern at CedarCreek and works part-time at her local library. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.