Repeat after me: “I can change my world and I will.”
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How many of you said you would go to the gym everyday this year? Or who said they would pay off their credit card? Drink 8 glasses of water everyday? And how close did you get to reaching those goals? No shame in saying you quit two weeks in. It’s common and you’re in good company.
Well, after years of setting large goals and barely coming close to them, I’ve learned the fool proof way to actually accomplishing them. The secret is to simply stop chasing these goals and start small.
No, I’m not saying you have to stop dreaming big. I’m just saying think realistically about what you are capable of. The truth is the drastic weight loss stories, quick debt payoff videos and quickly organized Marie Kondo fanatics are motivating but they aren’t always realistic. It’s extremely difficult to go from eating bagels and subs everyday to suddenly cutting carbs from your diet. And it’s unlikely to suddenly put an extra $700 a month towards your mortgage when you struggle making the payment on time every month. It’s even difficult to go from doing laundry once a week to doing two loads of laundry of day.
Yes, they’re all great ideas but they are all drastic changes in comparison to your daily routines and habits. All it does is set you up for failure. And when you can’t stick to those drastic changes you end up feeling defeated and giving up on your goal completely.
Instead, come up with small easy to attain goals while keeping your larger goals in mind. These small wins will only motivate you to do more and have you reaching big goals in time.
To help you out, I’ve come up with a list of small easy wins anyone can reach for some of the most common goals. Pick ONE and focus on it. Doing too much at once can result in defeat. So pick what feels right to you and go with it. You’ll see results and reach big goals in time.
Lose weight and be more fit
Start each day with a glass of water
Everyone knows that you should drink at least 8 glasses of water or day or half your weight in ounces. But how many of us really do that? And even once you say it’s gonna be your new goal to drink glasses of water everyday, you always fall short. Instead, simply start with the habit of making sure the first thing to touch your lips in the morning is a glass of water. Skip the tea, coffee, and orange juice and go straight for the water. If you commit to starting your day with it for a week chances it might develop into something bigger. Besides, that small win of knowing you at least had that one glass before your day even started will make you feel like a champ.
Take daily vitamins
Most people don’t eat a healthy, balanced diet but know they should and come up short every time they try. Choose to take a daily vitamin daily, feel the difference and use the success to help inspire you to build a healthier diet.
Commit to eating something green twice a week.
Whether it be a smoothie, a green apple, some kale or cooked spinach, start with a commitment of doing it only twice a week. Yes, you probably could and should do it more, but the trick is to start with something easy so you’ll be motivated by the small win to continue onto something a bit harder. Regardless, eating something green only twice per week is better than nothing at all.
Ditch eating meet for two days a month
Meatless Monday sounds great but if your family is full of hard core meat eaters it could be hard to stick to every week. Start small by aiming to skip meat products for only two days in the month and you’ll soon reach big goals.
Spend 5 minutes stretching before bed.
So you may have dreams of going to yoga after work everyday, but realistically that never happens. Start small by sticking to a few stretches for only 5 minutes right before bed. It will help you wind down. Besides stretching, helps you get more limber and prevent injuries.
Do only 10 pushups/squats/crunches a day
Your favorite Instagram influencer may inspire you by doing 100 squats everyday and you know you are capable of doing at least fifty. That doesn’t matter. Tell yourself that you’ll only do ten squats a day everyday for five days straight. Yes, it’s crazy simple and a short amount of time but that small win will motivate you to do more later on and help you keep it up throughout the year.
Reach financial freedom and be completely debt free.
Spend 10 minutes a day reading a financial book
Financial freedom may be the goal to end all goals, but you can’t get there until you have some kind of financial literacy. Instead of going after the complete “getting out of debt and fix my credit score dreams” take the time to learn about money. Just the commitment to reading a book about money for a few minutes can make a world of difference in reaching financial freedom and lead to much bigger wins. . I’m a huge fan of of The One Week Budget and You are a badass at Making Money. Or if books aren’t your thing, subscribe to the emails of a personal finance blog. (I highly suggest J.Money of Budgets are Sexy.) Reading that little nugget of knowledge in your inbox can make a world of difference in your financial literacy and long term financial health.
Commit to throwing an extra $5 towards your debt
Ignore the big players in the debt payoff world. I know paying an extra $1,000 to debt each month is truly inspiring and will definitely help you become debt free much faster. However, the truth is that’s just not realistic to everyone. Some people are working three jobs and still can’t make the minimum payments on bills. Instead, just start with an extra $5. That extra $5 each payment can make a big difference.
Automate your savings
Having $1,000 in your emergency fund may be the goal, but start by automating your savings. Set your bank to automatically transfer $10 to your savings account on every pay day. Eventually, you can do more and you’ll get to $1,000 really soon.
Check your bank account frequently
Say good bye to paying at the store and breathing that sigh of relief because you’re not sure if your card would be approved. Simply committing to checking your bank account daily, or every other day can make a world of difference in your finances
Keep your home company-ready at all times
Wipe down the countertops before bed each night
Keeping countertops clear and wiped down is a small task that can help you lead to big wins. Make it a goal to wipe down countertops before bed everyday for a week. Once you accomplish that you’ll feel motivated to move on to something bigger.
Get rid of the pile of clothes on that chair.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this. I strongly believe that your bedroom is your palace and it should be treated as such. There’s a reason why they call it the main bedroom. Despite always “committing” to keeping my bedroom clean, it never happens. Keeping my bedroom clean means committing to a lot of small tasks at once which could get overwhelming and make you want to give up. So instead, commit to simply keeping that one chair clear of clothes so you can actually sit on it. Once you tackle that, it just might inspire you to work on the rest of your room or home.
Throw out the junk mail right away.
Even though we know we don’t want it, junk always seems to pile up. Instead, just open and toss in the trash right away. It might help to simply keep a small trash bin where you store your mail and important papers.This small gesture can definitely lead to big changes later on.
Stop eating in the bed right before you go to sleep
It’s a disgusting habit, but a habit nonetheless. If you’re like me and like to eat small snacks and drinks in bed right before sleep, then get too tired to take dishes back to the kitchen — stop it now. That extra glass on your bedside is just additional clutter that it not helping you become company ready in any way. Once you master this habit, you’ll be able to move on to something else
Find balance and peace
Set a specific time to stop checking and responding to emails
Everyone says they want to work less and maintain better work life balance, but it’s so hard when you feel pressured to respond to emails instanteously. Reserve a specific time daily in which you stay away from emails. Then, set an email autoresponder that specififically states what your response time. Setting these boundaries in this small way will make it easier for you to find balance at work in time.
Schedule time for what you love
At the start of each month, take out your calendar and set aside time for something you love to do. Aim for once a month. Once you master doing something for you atleast once a month, it will become easier for you to do something just for you weekly or even daily without the guilt.
Text a friend whenever you think of them
We may long for the days we were able to hang with our friends everyday after school and hope to spend every weekend with good friends now. But that’s just not realistic when you have work, family and health matters to tend to. Instead, text a friend everytime he/she crosses your mind. A simple, “Hey, you were on mind and wanted to wish to you well,” can be all you need to keep that connection between good people in your life. It’s a small win, that will help you reach that big goal of being surrounded by friends and maintain balance in your life.
Have you found success setting very large goals or do small wins help you reach big goals more?
TERRIfic Quip: People do not decide their future. They decide their habits and their habits decide their future.