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Big Picture, Baby Steps, and Barriers: Reaching Your Goals in the New Year

Tips for Reaching Your Goals in the New Year

Lots of people kick off the new year with new goals, resolutions and intentions. Maybe you’ve made new year’s resolutions like this:

  • I’ll publish my first novel.
  • I’ll run a marathon.
  • I’ll eat better.

If you’re like most people, you’ll begin full of optimism at the fresh start.  You’ll sit down at the computer for a day of writing, set your alarm for a 6 AM run, or buy some big bunches of kale for smoothies.

By the end of January, though, you’ve fallen back into your old habits. You’re finding excuses not to write, hitting snooze, and ordering take-out.  You’ve only written one chapter, the marathon seems impossible, and the kale is turning to mush in the bottom of your fridge.

How can you make these changes stick more than a few weeks?  Your goals are real, but how can you reach them?

Big Picture vs. Baby Steps   The good news is you’re halfway there.  You’ve taken the first step by thinking big and aiming high.  It’s important to know where you want to end up, and that’s the time to be bold and creative. Holding this vision in mind gives you important motivation and meaning to the process.   However, the big picture isn’t enough to get you there. Just as you can’t get to your vacation destination without fueling up the car and planning your route, you can’t reach your goals without taking baby steps.   How does this work? Your baby steps are the minimum amounts of work that you must get done every single day to make the big picture a reality. For the big picture goals we looked at earlier, the baby steps could be:

  • Big Picture: I will publish my first novel. Baby Step: I will write 100 words a day.
  • Big Picture: I’ll run a marathon. Baby Step: I’ll lengthen my run by a quarter-mile each week.
  • Big Picture: I’ll eat better. Baby Step: I’ll have a UB Protein smoothie for breakfast instead of a bowl of cereal.

Choose your baby steps carefully, and remember to go small.  It’s important to achieve success that you can build on.  Once you’ve mastered one baby step, take another, and another. Soon you’ll be well on your way, and your big picture will be in sight.

Identify Your Barriers   The other piece of the new year’s resolution puzzle is to identify your barriers. Examine your baby step closely.  Where are things going to break down? How might you go off track?   Once you figure out how things will go wrong, decide how you will make them go right.  What will you do when you run into the barrier?  Try using If/Then statements to clarify your plans.

  • If I am too tired to write 100 words after work, then I will take a 20 minute nap before I write.
  • If the weather is too bad to run outside, then I will go to the gym and run on the treadmill.
  • If I don’t have time to make a smoothie for breakfast, then I’ll have some of the energy bites I keep in the freezer.

The more specific you can be, the better.  Where will you nap?  What gym will you go to?  Think through all the barriers you may encounter.  (If you’re finding lots of barriers, it might be best to revisit your baby step and break it down even more.)

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your solutions. This may be a good time to reach out to people who can support you on your journey.  Let them know what you need and how they can help.

If your big picture goal includes a focus on your health, you can make UB Super one of your baby steps.  We’ve got lots of delicious ways to support and sustain you as you move through the new year. We can’t wait to hear about your journey and your goals!

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