In theory, I am all about resolutions. As a Capricorn and Type Three Enneagram, I thrive on setting goals and succeeding at whatever I put my mind to. However, after many years of setting resolutions only to look back at the end of the year and be dismayed at my lack of results, I’ve realized it wasn’t the goals I was setting for myself that were the problem. It was the social pressure of setting an often large, unrealistic resolution or two and trying to carry them out all at once. So I say we ditch making resolutions in the traditional sense this year and, instead, try to implement a different approach: making smaller changes we can see through little by little. Ahead, six practices healthy women use every year to set health goals and actually stick with them.
1. Schedule smaller goals throughout the year
Even before the clock strikes midnight, we come across “new year, new you” marketing everywhere we turn. Whether it’s via social media, articles, or commercials, we’re encouraged to become a new person right off the bat. What’s more, there’s a mentality of we’re all in this together, making January the easiest month to stick with your health goals. But healthy women know that in order to set themselves up for success in the long-run, breaking up their goals into smaller micro goals is key.
Maybe you start by setting one large goal in January and identifying the actionable steps you need to take to achieve it, then set micro goals accordingly. For example, if you want to drink more water, start by increasing your intake by two ounces a week (perhaps with the help of a motivational water bottle), then another two ounces, and so on. The little wins you get every time you improve will be the encouragement you need to make it to the finish line. No matter when you decide to set goals, you can evolve a lot in one, three, or six months, so keep setting goals as you progress throughout the year.
2. Categorize your goals
If you have a long list of health goals and feel overwhelmed by how you will achieve them all, categorizing is a great place to start. We all want to better our health, but it doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes too much too quickly can lead to burnout and defeat. Try categorizing your health goals by physical health, mental health, sleep, nutrition, etc. Then pick one goal from each category to start with, and start slow. By separating your intentions into different categories, it’ll help create balance in your wellness routine. And focusing on one goal at a time can help get you closer to reaching others. For example, improved mental health is likely to give you more energy for exercise and eating a well-balanced meal after a workout can help with muscle recovery.
3. Keep a journal
Keeping yourself accountable to your goals is one of the biggest challenges and why so many resolutions fail. So the healthiest women know that tracking their progress (without shame or pressure) while staying curious about their intention can help them stay motivated when the newness of resolutions wears off. By keeping a progress journal, you’ll have a dedicated place to update and keep track of your successes, giving you clarity on what areas you might need to work on more or what goals you need to adjust. Journaling is also a great way to reflect on your intentions behind the goals you make and whether or not they will actually help you become your highest self. Think of your journal as your sacred space dedicated to your self-improvement—a safe space where you can ask yourself tough questions, push yourself to improve, and look back on weeks, months, or years later to see how far you’ve come.
4. Plan monthly check-ins
Healthy women always treat their goals like monthly check-ups. Sure, you feel empowered about keeping a goal when you first set it, but a month or two goes by, and it’s easy to let it fall by the wayside. By checking in with yourself on your goals and progress once a month, you can assess what is working, what needs to be changed, or if you need to set a new goal entirely. For example, setting the goal of going to a HIIT class twice a week might work great in January, but when summer rolls around and you’re traveling or busy with other activities, that goal may be harder to achieve. And that’s OK. By checking in monthly, you can adjust to your life circumstances and still feel good about your progress.
5. Set a positive environment
PSA: Your environment plays a huge role in whether you achieve your goals. So set yourself up for success by eliminating distractions. For starters, survey your home and office and identify anything that could hinder you from sticking with your goals. If you want to cut down on your screen time, try placing your phone away from your bed. That way, you won’t engage in the ever-tempting morning or pre-bedtime scroll. Or if you want to get rid of tech neck, set up your desk with essentials that your body will thank you for. If you want to meditate every morning, write a sticky note reminder on your bathroom mirror so you don’t forget. Even the healthiest women need a little help in achieving goals, and these little changes in your environment can go a long way.