January has come to a close, and with it, so have many people’s goals! As we get past the “magic” of January 1, it’s easy to place less and less priority on the things we wanted to change. When February rolls around, we find ourselves back where we were before the New Year.
This doesn’t have to be your story, though! You CAN achieve your goals for the new year if you remind yourself of a few basic truths.
1. Goals are accomplished little by little.
Goals are not achieved in giant leaps, but in small, daily choices. Your goals for health, work and relationships won’t happen if you don’t put in the effort each day. Each meal you choose a healthier option, each day you update your résumé, each birthday card you send is an investment toward the goal you want to achieve.
As these little steps pile up, we see real change. But if we get too focused on seeing change quickly, we won’t pay attention to the little steps that get us there.
2. Progress, not perfection.
This is a quote from one of my favorite goal-planning writers, Lara Casey, and it’s so true. If we focus on being perfect and doing “all the things,” we give up when goals get hard. But if we focus on progress, we will be satisfied with any forward motion in the right direction!
Momentum is a big part of achieving our goals. When we focus on perfection, we lose momentum because we can never be perfect! Focusing on our progress—those small, daily steps—shows us where we’ve improved, which in turn motivates more change.
3. Every day is a new day.
Each day we wake up is a new chance at life. If you’ve lost traction with your goals, don’t lose heart. Forget about having a “streak” of success and simply get back up the next day. It can help to keep track of your successes, but if missing a day causes you to backslide, maybe take a break from tracking for a little while. It’s okay to have rest days and times when you don’t achieve your goals; what matters is how you handle the next day! Don’t let one cheat meal result in a binge or one day off turn into a week.
Finally, remember to keep your goals aligned with God’s vision for your life. The goals we set should be rooted in the kind of person Jesus wants us to be, not just the people WE want to be. We need His wisdom to set the appropriate priorities for each season. When we do this, we won’t be operating in our strength alone. We’ll have all the power of God to achieve the goals He has led us to accomplish.
Today, don’t get discouraged if yesterday didn’t go well. Look back at your goals. Set some daily reminders and to-do’s. And give yourself grace for growth!