This year, don’t just make a resolution: Start a revolution. Yearly resolutions tend to melt away, but meaningful goals withstand the test of time. Why? Because when you focus on the things you care about, you can change the way you think about goals and success—and change the way your brain works as a result.
meQuilibrium CEO and Co-Founder Jan Bruce is an expert in making goals a reality. We’ve gathered her insights here, culminating in four ways to meet your goals in the year ahead and keep the momentum going for years to come.
1. Start With Your “Why”
Inspiration fuels motivation: The goals that resonate with you will be the ones that you’ll work for. Bruce advises looking your goals in the face and asking “Why?” to get clear on the goals that really hit home. Why is this particular goal worth your time and energy? How will it enhance your life? When you can identify how your life will improve, you can tap into your motivation and get to the essence of what you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you want to get in shape for the sake of getting in shape, it’ll be harder to pick yourself off the couch than if your goal resonates on a deeper level, such as modeling healthy behavior for your kids.
2. Believe You Can
In order to make a change, you must first believe you can change. This requires a growth mindset—the belief that you can evolve—which is heavily influenced by your inner dialogue. “It’s the absolutes that hold you back,” Bruce says, referring to the way you explain ‘why’ things happen, known as your Why Style. If you tend to use words like “always” and “everything” when facing a problem (“I’m always so disorganized,” or “Everything at work is a problem!”), there’s a good chance that you’re stuck a fixed mindset and believe you can’t change. So the next time you notice an “always” or “everything” getting in your way, reframe the problem to find as many solutions as possible. When you can reframe your challenges as something solvable, you become more open to positive change.
3. Aim for Better, Not Best
Bruce says that waiting for the “perfect” opportunity to work towards your goals can cause you to waste time you could be using to get started. If you believe that if something can’t be done perfectly it shouldn’t be done at all, there’s likely an Iceberg Belief at work. Iceberg Beliefs are the deeply held, subconscious beliefs you’ve had since childhood about how the world is or should be, and they can hold you back. There might never be that perfect opportunity to go for your goals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rise to an occasion you create for yourself. Bruce says that tackling your goals head-on requires an “openness to change, to risk, and an openness to hard work and grit.” Creating an affirmation, such as “Mistakes help me grow,” or “I value progress over perfection” will help you stay on track for growth.
4. Stay Agile
While the path to success is often perceived as a straight line, don’t be fooled: Progress is rarely linear. In fact, you might be forced to reroute altogether. “Don’t get discouraged when this happens,” says Bruce. “Instead, frame it as an opportunity. You can build something great if you maintain the flexibility to steer around that thinking.” She frames setbacks as opportunities for recalibration, which will help orient you towards success. Goals aren’t just the finish line—they’re continuously shifting and changing as you do. They might require upkeep, but that’s the beauty of them. The process of nurturing, rather than achieving, is what leads to growth.
The important message to carry into the new year: You are prepared to face the challenges that come your way. So, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dive in. You have the power to change your thinking, giving you have the power to reach your goals.
Elior Moskowitz is the Content Coordinator at meQuilibrium. A frequent Cup of Calm contributor, she also writes for various major business journals and lifestyle publications. Elior holds a B.A. in Psychology and English, with special training in both positive psychology and mental health counseling.