Way to ensure you stick to your goals in the coming year

Every eve of a New Year, you pull out your smartphone (or pen and paper for our boomers) and write down some goals you want to achieve in the coming year. It may be to be more active, to start a new career, save more money, or even to start a new hobby. Sometimes, we can accomplish these goals, and other times not so much. Some of these resolutions may be a tad unrealistic and that makes it difficult to stick to them. We end up giving up in the first few months into the new year and hope to try again next year. However, this becomes an ongoing cycle of making resolutions and breaking them year after year. Be kind to yourself when this happens. Below are a few tips to help you break the cycle and stick to the resolutions you make.
Be Realistic:

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One way to ensure you stick to your resolutions will be to set realistic ones. For instance, if your plan is to quit your 9 – 5 job and be self-employed, you have to make sure you have set up the foundation to do so. I find it best to write out a plan as to how the particular goal will be accomplished. Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive) goals is a sure way to do so. Being realistic also means having a realistic time-frame to accomplish your goals. If the goal is to go to graduate school in the fall, starting preparations in a few months to the deadline may not be realistic because there is a lot that goes into applying. If you plan ahead, you would have plenty of time to prep for any examination needed as well as the application processes. Some of the goals may need to be broken down into subsets to accomplish them. This would ensure that you are not overwhelming yourself with so much, and you have a good amount of time to accomplish your goal. If you want to pay off your debt and build credit, a good way to go about it is using the Snowball Effect.
Keep it simple:

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Resolutions are great but it does not have to be extravagant and complicated. The simpler it is, the easier it will be to accomplish. For instance, if a healthy lifestyle is your resolution for the year, you don’t necessarily have to cut out everything that you love to eat. It can be as simple as enjoying what you love but in moderation or introducing substitutes. If chocolates are your guilty pleasure, you can substitute milk chocolate for dark chocolate, which is a healthier option. Instead of soda, you can opt for flavored sparkling water. It contains fewer calories and you would still have the little fizzles you enjoy. If being more active is the goal you are looking to accomplish, keep it simple. A gym membership is great. However, if you want a cost-effective option, social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube are great resources. Sometimes we sign up for gym memberships and barely use them. You do not have to spend a ton of money on work out gear, clothing, and equipment. If you want to start investing, you do not need to buy stock work $1000 per share. You can start doing your research and start with stocks that don’t cost as much. A great place to start research on investing is https://www.nerdwallet.com. As the saying goes, Rome was not built overnight, so take it easy. One step at a time.
Be Proactive:

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Being proactive means you should have a plan on ways to achieve the resolutions on your list. If your resolution is to go start a master’s program this year, you should have a plan on how to attain this goal. It could be calling the schools you are interested in and to get more information on the program you want. It can be prepping for the GREs and schedule for the examination. Planning out your resolution in advance makes it easier to accomplish and less stressful as well. It also helps to keep you motivated on those difficult days.
Use productivity tools:

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In this age of technology, there’s an app for everything. If financial wellness and stability is your resolution, you can use budgeting tools to accomplish this goal. This would help you keep track of your expenses and hold you accountable as well. I personally love the app Mint (https://www.mint.com) but there are numerous apps available to suit everyone’s needs. If keeping track of your schedule is on your resolution, investing in a planner can be useful. A budget-friendly option would be to use your phone’s calendar to set a reminder a day or even a few hours before an appointment. There are so many apps out there for almost anything and they are mostly free. Take advantage of them!
Celebrate your achievements:

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Sticking to New Year’s resolutions can be hard. If your goal is to be more active, remember to celebrate that extra 5 minutes you stayed on the treadmill today or waking up 15 minutes early to do those dreadful burpees. It may seem very minute but even the small victories should be celebrated because it means you are still pushing through and moving forward. Be proud of yourself because you are one step closer to achieving your goal. Don’t give up, you’ve got this!!

Be your own voice

It is okay to speak up for yourself. Do not delegate that task to anyone else. Who better to express what your are feeling than you? It may seem intimidating but it’s better to be your own voice than to have someone speak on your behalf. This way, the message you want to deliver is not misconstrued or misinterpreted. You are able to say exactly what you want to and exactly how you want to say it. Remember to be your own voice, speak up.

Am I an impostor?

I am at the point in my life where I feel the need for a career change, you know, something new and exciting. After successfully completing my bachelors, I started applying to jobs in the field of social sciences. I love research, particularly social science research. I have worked my butt off to gain experience and exposure through internships and mentorships with people in the field. This combined with all my other work experiences makes me a good candidate for most clinical research assistant jobs. 

However, there have been times I applied to jobs that match my qualifications yet I feel like I’m impersonating someone else or I don’t have the education and experience to even be considered. It is like there a teeny tiny voice in my head that keep making me doubt myself and my abilities. I actually self-sabotaged myself at a job interview without intending to. This is what Imposter Syndrome feels like. You feel you are not qualified to be in the space you are in or share the same space with certain people. You feel the people there belong but you don’t because you are pretending to be something you are not. It may seem irrational to some but it is very real to you.

Recently, I have become more aware of my feelings and certain things that may trigger some of my self-doubt on my part. If you ever felt this way can you share with me how you were able to overcome it? What are some measures you took to help with this situation? Below is a TedTalk video on Imposter Syndrome and some ways to combat it.

 

The “F” word

It is so powerful. It can physically and mentally immobilize you, get your heart racing, sweaty palms and all. The word is fear. It refrains us from trying new things or taking life-changing steps. We feed this until it completely paralyzes us. If the word you were thinking of is fear, you are absolutely right.

You know that guy you always run into when you go for your morning jog. You have run into each other for almost a year now. You like him a lot and look forward to every morning because of him. You also know that he is single. You have come to know that he is kind, educated, down to earth and a proper gentleman. You want to ask him out. Instead of thinking of all the good ways this could go, you let fear prevent you from what could be the most beautiful relationship you could have. You think of all the horrible ways this could go like what if he doesn’t like you like that? What if this ends badly? So now you torture yourself with all these “what ifs”. You end up missing out because fear got in the way. May be you want to relocate to a new state, start a business because you hate the 9-5 routine, try bungee jumping, travel to see the world or even apply for that promotion you’ve been dreaming off.

Let go of your fear and watch how amazing your life will become. If you are reading this, try something new today, you might be pleasantly suprised. If you live in fear you only live half your life. Do not fear failure, but be terrified of regret. Go out there and live your best live. The fear may not go away, you might just have to do it scared. What has fear prevented you from doing lately? Kindly share in the comments below.

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