5 Small Ways to Achieve Your Big Goals

I’ve spent a lot of my career thinking about how we can all understand ourselves and create a happier life; I’ve written several books on happiness, and I host the award-winning podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to make resolutions you’ll actually keep, and become happier in the process:

Ask yourself: “What would make me happier?”

It might be having more of something good (fun with friends, time for a hobby) or having less of something bad (yelling at your kids, regretting what you’ve eaten). Or it might be fixing something that doesn’t feel right. But you have to identify this “what” before you can make a change for the better.

Identify a concrete habit that would bring about that change

Think specific and actionable. Instead of “find more joy in life,” try something more like “watch a classic movie every Sunday night.”

Think about whether you’re a “yes” resolver or a “no” resolver

Do you want to resolve TO do something or NOT to do something? Frame your resolution to reflect that: Either don’t do X or do do Y.

Ask yourself: “Am I starting small enough? Or big enough?”

At this point in your life, you probably know what actually works to motivate you. Maybe you’re someone who loses interest or gets discouraged by taking it slow and steady. Or maybe you know that if you push yourself too hard, you’ll screech to a halt. Be realistic and calibrate your approach accordingly.

Come up with a plan to hold yourself accountable

Find a friend to check in with. Or set up a system — maybe a note in your calendar or a journaling practice — that will help you check in with yourself.

The Case for Keeping Your Goals to Yourself

Need a good new habit to stick to? Try the one minute rule: You must immediately do any task that can be finished in one minute as soon as it presents itself. Hang up your coat, read a letter and toss it, fill in a form, put a dish in the dishwasher, and so forth. It’s an incredibly easy, incredibly effective way to boost happiness — but it must be followed consistently if you want to see results.

 

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This article was written by Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project & Happier at Home, etc.



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