Congratulations! You made it to the 22nd of December 2012, and your work so far to set your New Year’s resolutions has not been futile!
Although it’s tempting to wait until you complete your goal to acknowledge your progress, it’s important to recognize your accomplishments along the way, including the small steps you take everyday to work toward your bigger goal.
We talked briefly about SMART goals in the first segment of this series, but I think it’s important to think in terms of WISE rewards: When I Succeed Expressions. Don’t wait until you’ve accomplished your end goal to acknowledge your progress. Once you establish your small daily habits, be sure to recognize yourself at the end of each week for staying with your plan, even if your end goal is still weeks or months away. Giving yourself small bits of positive reinforcement will help see you through to the end.
Obviously it’s important not to sabotage yourself with your rewards, so select something that is meaningful to you, but doesn’t thwart your efforts. So if you’re dieting you might go out and see a movie (minus the popcorn!), buy a new book, sneak in a well-deserved nap on a weekend afternoon, or indulge in a long chat-fest with friends.
If you’ve written daily all week, don’t reward yourself with a day off, but maybe instead buy a new book, go away for the weekend, go for a long walk to explore a new neighborhood, or check out the flea market for a new knickknack to put on your desk to inspire you.
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If nothing else, take a few moments each week to reflect on what you’ve done and be grateful for your own discipline and dedication. Really feel and appreciate your own small successes. And naturally, make sure you take the time to acknowledge your accomplishment when you achieve your end result!
What do you do to encourage yourself to accomplish your goals?