We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it.

Every December, towards the end of the month, we start to feel it. We feel the guilt and the peer pressure. We feel unhappy with areas of our lives. Once Christmas passes we start to feel the pressure even more. And then we start to make lists. On these lists, we write down our New Year’s resolutions. A high and lofty list of things we want to change in order to create a perfect life for ourselves. New Year’s comes and passes and about two months later, we are all back to the same old bad habits we were so frustrated with recently. According to this article, only 8% of Americans successfully stick to their resolutions. And another article states that a whopping 86% of people break their resolutions in less than a year.

I get it. It’s hard. Like, really hard.

But what if there was a way to change your life without feeling the societal pressure to do so? No, I’m not offering a pie-in-the-sky/fix-all solution, but I have found something that has changed my own life dramatically.

Personal Goals

In the middle of 2015, I began studying the art of setting goals. There were several things in my life I wanted to change. I want to lose a little weight and gain some muscle. I wanted to stop biting my fingernails (a habit I have clung to my entire life.) I wanted to have more free time to spend with my family. I wanted to spend more time in prayer… There were several others as well.

“Don’t wish things were easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills.” – Jim Rohn

In my wandering of the internet, trying to find ways to succeed at the things I wanted to change, I came across Jim Rohn. Jim was a motivational speaker who, sadly, passed away in 2009. But so many of his videos and articles still live on in the archives of the web. Here are some practical tips that I learned from him regarding setting goals.

Evaluate and Reflect

Think about and decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish. When things don’t go the way I want them to, it’s very easy for me to come home from work, sit on the couch and mentally pout my way through life. But that doesn’t fix anything. I realized by listening to Jim that I needed to decide exactly what I wanted to change, get to work and stick with it.

Write It Down

Things become much more real when you physically write them down. I bought a pocket-sized journal and wrote down my goals. I carry it everywhere I go as a reminder of my mission. I made a few different categories (long term, short term, family, health, financial, business…. etc.) and wrote everything down in the appropriate category.

Have Accountability

Seriously. Tell someone about your goals!

I don’t care how silly it may seem. Without telling someone about what you want to do, you are giving yourself the option to bail out at any moment.  I told my wife and some of my closest friends that I wanted to lose twenty pounds and stop biting my nails. (These were two of the highest on my list.) There were many times I wanted to give up and forget about my goals, but by telling others about them, I lost that option.

Re-evaluate

Once you start achieving some of your goals, look at your list again and decide if anything can be crossed off or if anything else needs added. I check mine at the beginning of every month and it is so fulfilling to be able to cross things off! It gives me the motivation to add more to it and get to work.

I can proudly say I have gone almost two months without biting my fingernails and have lost fourteen pounds. It wasn’t easy, but these steps are what helped me along the way. I hope these help you define your goals and lead you to a better lifestyle. How do you set and achieve your goals? Have you failed at your New Year’s resolutions in the past? I would love to hear about it in the comments section or on my Facebook page!

Until next time, stay awesome.

Ethan

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