Often, however, we are a little unrealistic in our goals and solid planning is usually lacking too. Large goals tend to overwhelm us, particularly at such a stressful time of year, whereas setting smaller and more achievable goals is simpler and more rewarding and makes larger, longer term goals much easier to achieve as a result.
This year, try making 3-5 mini goals for the year and record your progress toward your bigger goals. Take a look at our top 5 wellbeing mini-goals for inspiration.
1. Learn to love yourself. If there was one mini-goal that everyone should start with, it would be this one. Loving yourself is the foundation of all future success. Giving yourself value makes your goals more achievable as you then truly believe that you deserve it. Learning to love yourself may not sound simple, but it is the first step toward major goals such as weight-loss, curving spending habits, finding love and making good friends. When you love and believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless.
How to make it happen: Start by spending time doing the things you love. Take time to look after yourself. Don’t feel guilty for spending a little time, money and effort on YOU. Make yourself a priority and you will start to feel more positive almost instantly.
2. Pay off one card/loan/debt. Being debt-free doesn’t happen overnight and, for most, it doesn’t even happen in a year. Mortgages aside, the average family debt can take anywhere from 5-10 years to clear with diligent money management. Resolving to pay off one at a time makes the bigger picture less overwhelming and your current financial situation less tight. The benefit of this, is that once you have finished paying the initial debt you can then use the amount of previous repayments on your next target. The first step is the hardest, from there it becomes quicker and easier.
How to make it happen: Join a forum like moneysupermarket.com and get advice from fellow debt payers on the best place to start and which particular debt to start with. You can also get tips on how to make savings without changing your lifestyle, so you can start to gain control of your finances without making unrealistic sacrifices.
3. Take up a hobby. Whether you’re looking to make new friends or change your career path, taking up a hobby in something you love is much easier than jumping in at the deep end. You can meet likeminded people, learn a new skill and explore the direction of your future at the same time in a positive, non-stressful way. It’s also a great self-esteem booster.
How to make it happen: Check your local newspaper and facebook pages for information regarding what’s on in your local area. Many groups and classes offer free taster sessions as a bonus!
4. Cut out one unhealthy food. Radically changing your diet overnight is a fast track to failure for many people. Too many forbidden fruits to tempt you! Whatever you’re looking to achieve, whether it’s a gluten and dairy free paleo diet or a vegan diet, you can start out as slowly as you like. Any progress is good progress. Starting with dairy products can be an easy first step for a lot of people and many report that sugar naturally follows shortly after.
How to make it happen: Try cutting out the thing you will miss the most, first of all. Like ripping a plaster off. However, you will still have the other “naughty” foods to replace it and to offer comfort. Whilst comfort eating isn’t always the best plan, stress has been proven to inhibit weight loss and decrease immune response. So, a little bit of what you fancy as you begin making big changes is a great way to keep things achievable. Make the next step as soon as you feel ready and take time to celebrate the little milestones, you’ve earned it!
5. Personal Authenticity. Ok, so this one is a tough one as mini-goals go but it mainly involves taking time to think things through. It is very much tied in with learning to love yourself, too. If you are somebody who takes offence to things easily; if you’re quite sensitive or if you find yourself biting your tongue a lot through fear of offending others… it might be time to consider that you aren’t being your full, true self and that you aren’t taking responsibility for your own emotions. Being a fully honest, authentic individual takes a lot of time and effort. It’s an emotional journey and it takes a strong and self-assured person to be able to be blunt with a friend or family member, when you are afraid they might walk out of your life should you be your true honest self with them. But that’s not a true relationship and it causes more pain in dishonesty than true honesty ever could. The end goal here is simply being happier and more confident in yourself and freer in your relationships.
How to make it happen: The easiest place to start, is with learning to take responsibility for your own emotions. Accept that taking offence, getting angry or lashing out is a choice. We can choose to let ourselves feel victimised or negative, or we can choose to accept differences of opinion. Accept that a strong reaction usually masks self-doubt on some level. Address that doubt and move forward, with a changed mind or confidence in your beliefs. Once we begin to take responsibility for ourselves, we are better able to see where other people are coming from. The enlightenment that follows this level of self-awareness often has the natural benefit of breeding self-love and appreciations which, in turn, gives us the confidence to be true, honest and authentic.