Should You Set Goals during the Holiday Season (Or Are You Doomed to Fail?!)

New year, new you, or new excuses? This time of year is notorious for building up hype and then knocking your self-confidence down a peg or two when you feel like you’re lacking in the motivation department.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a fancy way of saying, “I’ll start later.” Hard truth, but the proof is in the numbers, guys. Nearly 74% of the entire population will set some type of goal to begin January 1st, but less than 10% will actually see it through. That means more than 90% of those who set a NYR will quit before they’ve actually made any headway.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be in that 10%.

Believe me, if anyone loves the idea of a fresh start, you’re looking at her. There’s nothing more appealing than a clean slate and a chance to start over and do things YOUR way this time around, right? Another opportunity to be YOU. But is it really the best idea to set goals during the holiday season, or are you doing yourself a disservice and really just setting yourself up failure?

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New Years Resolutions = “I’ll Be Motivated Later”

Most of the time, the reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is because we make them such a big event. We all look forward to the New Year, right? (And come on, especially after the last two years! I can almost feel the pressure that January 1st must be anticipating!). We start daydreaming about our big, lofty goals, and we commit to taking the first steps come the first of the year.

But guys, let me ask you this: What’s stopping you from taking that first step now? If you started now, you’d already be x amount of days ahead of the game, right?

But we don’t do that. It’s very similar to people who say they’ll start next Monday. Or they’ll start next month. And then when something happens that causes an unplanned slip, they wait for the “beginning” of the next period of time to climb back up on the horse. Or, let’s say you are someone who finds motivation in new beginnings. The other obstacle that I often see is that people will set this big goal and then start to think about all the things they have to do to achieve that goal. Or, all the things they’ll have to give up. And they make this thing so restrictive and so unrealistic that it’s almost impossible to stick to. So they quit and walk away with the mentality that, “I can’t do it,” or “It’s too difficult.” And they go back to daydreaming instead of day-doing. Ultimately, people fail with goal setting around the holidays when they make them too big to stick to.

New Year Resolutions: Ritual or Routine?

Repeat after me: New Year’s Resolutions are a ritual. They are not a routine. If you’re wondering, “Heidi, is there even a difference?” The big answer is YES! It’s all about the intention behind the action. You know I love a good routine. Here’s the main difference:

  • A routine is a sequence of actions you follow regularly. I have shared my morning routine with you guys before, and statistics show that when you have a morning routine, you are more likely to be productive for the day.
  • A routine can be made up of…you got it…rituals. One ritual I love doing in my daily routine is journaling.

See how it works? The big one here is that unlike other daily rituals we might have in our routine, New Year’s Resolutions are a one shot deal. The weird part about resolutions is that they are a ritual that is essentially set to create a goal, but they in no way, shape, or form really take into account our daily lives and routines. Seems doomed to fail, right? Many times we shoot for the big screen, pie in the sky, fresh start, new life, achieve anything type of goals, and that’s where we fall very short of actually accomplishing them. So, this year, let’s resolute less and goal set more.

Top Ways to Set a Goal and Achieve It

Clearly Identify Your Goal: S.M.A.R.T. Goals

If you truly want to wait until the first of the year to get to work, that’s fine. But use this time in the interim wisely. Set aside some time to sit and reflect on what your main goal is and why it’s important to you. This involves really digging deep and discovering your reason why. Why does this goal matter? What is the driving force behind you wanting to achieve this goal? What will your life be like if you do achieve it, and conversely, what will life be like if you don’t achieve it and things stay the same?

Once you’ve identified what it is you want to work on, start writing down action items that you can work on come January 1st—things you can do each day that will get you one step closer to achieving that goal.

Pro tip: Start small and start SMART. If your goal is to lose 75 pounds, start by making a micro-goal to lose 5 pounds first. It may seem small, but setting small goals will help you achieve them easier, and they will help you stay motivated to continue your path once you crush them.

Related: Click here to read more about how to set SMART goals

Give Yourself Grace

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to get it right from day one and to never mess up. Because I hate to break it to you, but you WILL mess up. And I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t tell you that. We are all human. We are beautiful, complex, messy creatures, and that’s what makes us so amazing. When we focus too much on perfection, or spend our energy comparing our chapter one to someone else’s chapter 50, we get derailed. We start swerving from our lane instead of keeping our eyes on the prize and remaining focused on what lies ahead.

Have you heard the saying, “progress, not perfection?” Adopt it. Use it as your mantra. Focus on making progress instead of being perfect.

And when you do mess up, learn how to forgive yourself. Distance yourself from an All-or-Nothing mentality and learn how to view failure as a second chance. And a second chance, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Pro Tip: Make a road map of potential obstacles. What are things you can foresee coming up that may be tough to navigate? Write them down and come up with small action plans that you can enforce if and when they do arise. You’ll feel way more prepared planning for the worst than being surprised when it hits you out of nowhere. You can do this through journaling too. This will allow you to see trends and help you navigate those obstacles better next time.

Form a Social Support System

It takes a village, and support groups are living proof of that. Find ways to keep yourself accountable and look for opportunities to accept (and offer!) support. Sometimes, doing things on our own can be liberating. Other times, it can be scary and overwhelming. Find your people and hold onto them tight. Whether it’s your family, your mom, your best friend, or an accountability group, community matters, and it can often be the biggest difference between make or break.

Related: Click here to join our next challenge.

Speaking of support groups, one of the most beautiful things I have seen come together is the sense of community that Dave and I have fostered within our challenge groups. Members encouraging one another, complimenting one another, and being a virtual cheerleader when someone needs it the most. And you know what, guys? It helps! And it pushes me too. When I see this community in the trenches with one another and finding ways to boost each other up, it also motivates me. It motivates me to be a better mother, a better leader, a better coach, and just a better all around Heidi.

Because when I see you doing hard things, I know that I can do them too. So now I want to know: What is a goal you are setting for 2022? Comment below and declare that power promise for our eyes to see. You got this!


Related reading:

Just say NO! My Less Is More Resolution
Two Secrets to Nailing Your Transformation Goals in 2020
Build a life you love: Set Goals + Achieve Them
Reignite Your Fire to Achieve Your Goals!
12 Lessons Failure Taught Me

2 Responses

  1. Thank you very much for the encouraging and inspiring post.
    The suggestion about making a road map of potential obstacles particularly resonated with me. It is original and sounds like a helpful strategy to tackle issues in advance. Will try it. Thanks and have a great year!

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