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How to Make the Leap From Unfinished Goals to Good Habits

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It’s nearly the end of February, and by now you’ve likely slacked off on your goals or completely ditched your New Year’s resolutions. That’s okay, because this Saturday is Leap Day, a chance to start again. Every four years we get an extra day to use as a do-over. Look at it as a goal mulligan as opposed to a golf mulligan.

You can re-commit yourself to the unfinished goals and resolutions you set at the beginning of 2020. Not only that, this time around you can develop habits with staying power so you can achieve those goals.

But first let’s re-assess your unfinished goals to see why you haven’t been able to stick to them.

Re-assess your unfinished goals

Have you not forgiven yourself for failing?

If this article applies to you, then make sure you’ve forgiven yourself for the goals you’ve given up on.

You won’t be able to pick up and start again if you don’t take this first step.

Have you set too many goals?

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of goals or resolutions you set in January. And giving up on a few has caused you to give up on all of them.

Take another look at your list and circle just one to three goals for you to focus on this year. You can choose the most feasible ones for you right now so you can start to see results quickly and therefore restore your confidence.

Have you been realistic about your unfinished goals?

Perhaps you didn’t go overboard with the number of goals you set, but you set them too high.

If this is the case, then go back and see if you can break those goals into smaller, more short-term goals. This will make them more doable.

Have you not been specific in your unfinished goals?

Maybe you weren’t specific enough with your goals. For instance, you may have said your goal for 2020 was to lose weight, but you didn’t indicate how much weight or by what deadline.

Go back and add some specific, measurable, and realistic details to your goals.

Have you set good goals but didn’t set good boundaries?

Maybe you’ve set good goals and you’ve been working at them, but the work has been slowed down by easily avoidable distractions due to a lack of boundaries.

It’s not too late to set the boundaries you need to accomplish your goals. But this time around, be firm in your boundaries by communicating them clearly to those who need help respecting them.

Have you made other people’s goals your own?

Sometimes we set goals at the expectation of others. This can happen both in our careers and in our families.

For instance, you may be looking for a new job or considering a career change, but your spouse is trying to direct you to the job they want you to have, instead of the one you want to build your career portfolio with.

Your boss may have goals already set for your job, which you must honor, but you should also set some goals for yourself within your current role, especially if you want to get promoted.

Develop good habits

To make the best use of your second chance at your goals, you’ll want to develop good habits by:

1. Making the decision to start again and being firm in this decision.

2. Not allowing exceptions in the first 30 days. This is a formative time for the habits necessary to achieve your goals.

3. Tell others so you are held accountable, they can encourage you, and you can set necessary boundaries.

4. Visualize yourself doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals.

5. Use positive affirmations if this helps you. It’s especially helpful to say them to yourself in the present tense instead of the future tense. For example, “I have started my own side hustle,” instead of “I’m going to start a side hustle.”

6. Practice the behavior until it becomes second nature for you.

7. Reaffirm and reinforce the behavior by rewarding yourself.

Don’t use your Leap Day as a day to goof off. Instead, use it as a launching pad to start again on your goals. Then imagine all you’ll have accomplished by the next leap year in 2024!

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