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6 Goals Most People Ignore That Make the Biggest Difference

by
author image Natasha Burton
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and WomansDay.com, among others. The author of "101 Quizzes for Couples" and "The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags," she is regularly called on as a relationship expert by various media outlets around the world.
6 Goals Most People Ignore That Make the Biggest Difference
Spend more time making goals that you know you can achieve this year. Photo Credit nenetus/Adobe Stock

Every time the end of the year rolls around, many of us start making goals for our next trip around the sun. New Year’s resolutions are fun to dream up, but it’s not terribly unlikely that these aspirations will be abandoned before the end of January.

To implement changes in your life that will really stick, you may need to rethink the changes themselves. The following six resolutions aren’t the ones people typically make, but they have the power to transform your life for the better.

1. Drink more water.

Following through with this goal, life coach Kali Rogers says, will benefit you both inside and out. “A lot of people do not drink enough water because they don’t think about it and instead focus on ‘fun’ drinks like coffee or soda,” she says. “Water is good for your skin, mood, performance, health — you name it, water helps it.”

The best part? This resolution is a cinch to implement. “It’s easier to add something to your life than to extinguish something from your life,” Rogers says. “Start out drinking a certain amount of ounces a day, and then build it up over time until you are drinking your ideal amount daily.” Grab a big water bottle that contains the number of ounces you want to consume (or close to it) and tell yourself that you have to finish it by the end of the day. Piece of cake.

2. Implement positive self-talk.

Your inner monologue can dictate your emotions — from your mood to your feelings toward others. It’s even responsible for your self-esteem and worldview, Rogers says. Therefore, it’s crucial to your overall happiness and outlook on life to orient your self-talk toward the bright side.

“Even if your self-talk is relatively positive, there is always room for improvement,” Rogers explains. “A goal for every year should always be to work on your self-talk and make sure that voice inside your head is cheering you on and finding the positive aspects instead of tearing you and everyone else down."

To accomplish this goal, monitor your self-talk for a week to pick up on the negative things you say in your head. “Notice what you call yourself, what you are hard on yourself for, what you are hard on other people for and what really gets your negative self-talk revved up,” Rogers says. “Find trigger words that you use and replace them with positive words. For example, ‘failure’ or ‘struggle’ or ‘mess up’ could be called ‘opportunities.’”

Put a positive spin on your thoughts.
Put a positive spin on your thoughts. Photo Credit santypan/Adobe Stock

3. Have more fun.

According to life coach Lauren Cook, it’s rare for people to put this item on their New Year’s resolution lists. “After a harrowing 2016, you deserve to have a stellar 2017,” she says. “You do you this year — no apologies.”

If you’ve always wanted to travel, to go back to school, to take a cooking class — whatever it is — now’s the time to give yourself that chance. Allowing yourself the opportunity to find joy will put you in a mindset to shine in all the other aspects of your life and accomplish the rest of the goals you may have.

4. Save for a just-in-case situation.

A desire to save more money is a fairly typical goal, but it’s vague. That ambiguity keeps most people from sticking with it. Instead, Rogers suggests pinching pennies for a purpose: specifically, building a healthy emergency fund. Surprisingly, the majority of Americans do not have one. Consider the unexpected, yet inevitable, financial situations that crop up, such as needing new tires all of a sudden or an astronomical vet bill. While it’s not fun to think about these things, you’ll be glad you have the cash when you need it.

“Know when you have ‘trigger’ months that are full of money-draining events — weddings, birthdays, home repairs, tax payments — and work around that,” she says. “Save more money in months and weeks that aren’t as eventful and less in those months you know you’ll need to spend a little more to get by.” Ideally, you want to aim to save $500 or more, if possible.

5. Don’t engage in all-or-nothing thinking.

When it comes to setting goals, Cook says that it’s easy to be tripped up by black-and-white rules. By telling yourself you can never eat dessert again or swearing you’ll give up your trashy reality-TV habit cold turkey, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When you slip up, you might throw in the towel all together. “You’re much more likely to succeed at your goal if you’re willing to pick yourself up after you falter, which will inevitably happen,” she explains. “One mistake doesn’t mean all bets are off: You can keep going even when you miss the mark sometimes.”

Rogers agrees that having an all-or-nothing mindset in general is a trap. “Black-and-white thinking is a common trap we fall into. A situation is either awesome or terrible,” she says. “Reframing situations into ‘pretty great, except for one minor issue!’ is way better than 'this is this worst thing ever.'"

Start small and succeed often.
Start small and succeed often. Photo Credit sdecoret/Adobe Stock

6. Create a healthier lifestyle — in baby steps.

Many of us resolve to work out more or eat healthier when the New Year rolls around, but trying to overhaul your whole life with the turn of a page in a calendar is too big a goal to be realistic. “Instead, start with little goals that build up to the big goal,” Rogers says. “For example, fitness tends to be a typical New Year’s resolution. People say, ‘I want to work out every day’ or ‘I want to lose 15 pounds!’ Instead, say ‘I want to lose two pounds in January’ or ‘I want to work out twice a week in January.’”

Then, she suggests, have a goal set for February that builds on your January lifestyle, add more in March and so on. “By October of the following year, you will not only have achieved your goal, but you will also have a new lifestyle,” she says.

Life coach Patty Blue Hayes agrees, noting that it’s important to be reasonable about the time you think it should take to change your health. Make small steps toward a bigger goal, she advises, by moving at a pace that sets you up for success — that way, you won't burn out quickly

What Do YOU Think?

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Will you be adding any of these goals to your list? How do you go about making resolutions? Do you usually accomplish your goals by the end of the year? Let us know what you think in the comments section!

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