Hooray, it’s the new year: time to really start life, to accomplish that elusive bucket list, be more productive and crush goals! Sound familiar? Of course it does because we’ve all fallen victim to these false promises that we commit ourselves too. So why the veil of social media proclaiming #newyearnewyou? Could it be the first step towards actually taking action to your new year’s goals? Maybe. But in reality, #newyearnewyou doesn’t mean anything if….

  1. You don’t set goals: Goals are super important if you want to hit the ground running in the new year. They act as mile markers throughout the months, keeping you on track. Goals don’t have to be other worldly, they can be simple. Simple means easy to work towards, means easy to attain, means a small win for you. Goals are unique to every individual. Don’t worry about having the coolest goals; just set ones that are relevant to your life. Small goals can snowball into big goals. You don’t try to run a marathon without having trained for it, right?
  2. You aren’t working towards your goals: It’s awesome that you got that new notebook to meticulously write your goals in; but are you actually doing anything about achieving those goals? Putting pen to paper is just the first step, but you can’t possibly achieve #newyearnewyou if you are #oldyoudoingnothing. It’s the age old procrastination. Actually, getting started is more than half the battle. Once you realize that it’s not about being the best or the worst and just DOING, than you’ll be willing and ready to work towards your goals. Some studies even show that you are less likely to start and accomplish a goal if you proclaim it publicly (like on social media) than if you keep it to yourself.
  3. You’re flakey: “I promise I’ll start tomorrow.” Three months later, you’re still the 2016 version of yourself. You still haven’t hit the gym, started that diet, taken up that new hobby, traveled somewhere exotic, etc. There’s no follow through. Ever hear of “time inconsistency?” Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. So maybe you value those three episodes on Netflix where you’ll find out who the killer is rather than one hour at the gym and time spent on meal prepping. It’s easy to flake out on your #newyearnewyou goals when you can receive a binge-watching high.

Achieving the best version of yourself can seem overwhelming in it’s entirety. It’s intimidating to look at everyone’s posts and think about how awesome their new lives are (less than two weeks into 2017), while you haven’t even started thinking about yourself. So be realistic. Set small, achievable goals — daily, weekly, monthly — to instill the practice of working towards achieving #newyearnewyou.

Originally published at medium.com