Here's How To Set Weekly Goals To Make Your New Year's Resolutions More Doable, According To Experts
2019 has finally made its grand entrance, friends, but if you still haven’t narrowed down your resolutions for the new year, no worries. Trust me — lofty, overarching goals are so last year, anyway. The next 12 months are yours for the taking, so if you have a laundry list of areas you’d like to improve on, but the idea of setting one finite aspiration has you feeling overwhelmed, figuring out a game plan for how to set weekly goals, instead of putting pressure on yourself to make big things happen in a short amount of time (let’s face it, 365 days sounds like a lot, but it flies by), might be a better way to go.
Personally, New Year’s resolutions are my jam. When I know a new year is starting, and that I have an entire trip around the sun to improve on certain areas of my life, or start a passion project I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, it genuinely excites me to see where I’ll end up by the time Jan. 1 rolls around again. That being said, however, I’m not naive. I know that most New Year’s resolutions fail. In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, a whopping 80 percent of all New Year’s resolutions fail, and fail early. And when I say early, I mean, once you’re halfway into February, there’s a solid chance you’re going to shrug off your aspirations because, hey, there’s always next year, right?
Enter: weekly goals. In other words, if you fail to meet a certain goal by Friday, there’s a clean slate waiting for you to take advantage of it come Monday. See, the idea behind setting weekly goals, or “microgoals,” as Nina Rubin, M.A., a life coach based in Southern California, calls them, is more manageable and more easily measurable than traditional New Year’s resolutions. “[Weekly goals] allow you to reframe and adjust each week rather than rush at the end,” she tells Elite Daily over email. “You can adjust them without getting behind each week.”
They say good things come in small packages, but I say good things come to those who make small progress over a long period of time. Think about it: Weekly goals require no fuss, and way less pressure than long-term goals, which can often feel so far away, not to mention unachievable. So how should you go about setting weekly goals? Here's what a few experts have to say on setting and achieving short-term goals in the new year.
Make Adjustments As You Go
Don't sweat it if, come Sunday night, you realize the goal you set out to achieve on Monday morning didn't exactly pan out. After all, the beauty of weekly goals is that you can start again the following week.
Still, keep in mind that history tends to repeat itself, so it's important that you reflect on the reasons why you might not have followed through with plans, or why you haven't seen progress. "You can pinpoint exactly what happened by looking at your diet, sleep, and habits over the past seven days rather than addressing one larger number that feels daunting," Rubin tells Elite Daily.
And this method can be applied to any goal, health or otherwise, BTW. Each week is an opportunity for improvement, so if one week's strategy doesn't cut it, try and try again.
Break Down Long-Term Goals Into Weekly Goals That'll Add Up In The End
If you enjoy coming up with long-term New Year's resolutions, more power to you. No one's saying they're impossible to meet, but you might want to consider breaking down those loftier aspirations into smaller intentions you can work on week to week.
For example, let's say you want to start a business in 2019. Rubin suggests targeting the end result by planning out little, accomplishable steps you can work toward from one week to another. "Little goals make this very approachable and you see lots of wins," she says.
Schedule A Weekly Check-In To Hold Yourself Accountable
I know myself, and as much as I love setting resolutions, if I don't write them down or set some kind of schedule to track my progress, I'll likely forget about them, no matter how ambitious I may have felt at the beginning of the new year.
When setting weekly goals, your time stamp is literally from Monday morning through Sunday night, and with so little time in between your start and finish lines, there's really no excuse not to check in with your goals and track your progress, founder and CEO of INKED by Dani, Dani Egna, tells Elite Daily. Egna built her own business from the ground up, and from her perspective, you'll have a much easier time holding yourself accountable to your aspirations "if you're checking on how you're doing regarding your goals on a frequent basis, versus once in a while," she explains.
Stay Mindful Through It All
As the saying goes, keep your eye on the prize. When setting goals that you'd like to meet 12 months down the line, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. When you create smaller, weekly goals, however, says Brian Ferrari, a fitness expert with Gold's Gym, you're more likely to focus and stay present.
"Weekly goals allow the individual to focus intently on the here and now and encourages them to execute little tasks that ultimately end up allowing the bigger goal to happen," Ferrari tells Elite Daily. "These weekly wins congratulate and motivate the person for doing a good job and help keep the individual on track by showing how small steps lead to big changes." Plus, he adds, checking these smaller boxes every week, rather than just once in a blue moon over the course of a few months, actually "releases a hit of dopamine," causing the brain to physiologically feel good, and motivated to check off the next box.
Keep Your Goals Achievable
This tip might come off as pretty self-explanatory, but think about some of the New Year's resolutions you've set in the past. Some might have been a little out there, and, when you really think about it, probably unachievable. When brainstorming what you'd like to accomplish from week to week, Ferrari says its important to make sure the goals you set out to meet are actually doable.
"Achievable is the key word here," he tells Elite Daily. "Weekly goals aren't good if they're out of touch with reality. Something like 'Get to the gym three times a week,' 'Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day,' 'Walk every day,' or even setting an alarm to wake up early and stretch or meditate, are great places to start."
Make Your Goals As Specific As Possible
Let's say your goal is to start running more in 2019. When you break it down into a weekly goal, the first step might be to run two times a week. It's a start, but it's still pretty vague. Take a look at your schedule, and pencil in what days you're going to run, at what time, and where. This way — says Roberto Mandje, New York Road Runners head coach, Olympian, and celebrity trainer — you're less likely "to put it off and then find yourself at the end of the week scrambling to get your runs in."
Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself
At the end of the day, it would be great to meet your intentions for 2019, but if it takes you a little while to figure out the best game plan, don't sweat it. You're doing the best you can, and if that means the first few weeks are a little scattered and more of a trial-and-error period, that's OK. Life coach Katie Sandler tells Elite Daily it's best to give yourself a week or two with your intentions, anyway. That way, you can decide what works, and weed out what doesn't.