Each new year offers a fresh start and a chance to recommit to the things that are important to us. Many people do this through a New Year’s resolution, whether it be working out, spending more time with family or staying away from the dessert aisle. But how do we make those goals stick? With the many changes of the past year, I think a great number of us are ready to take on new adventures and make positive impacts on our lives.

Start Slow

Before you commit to anything, take some time to reflect on what is really important to you. It’s tempting to take on thousands of ideas and plan to fulfill them all, but try to narrow down your ideas to focus on what you think is most important. It doesn’t have to be big, and perhaps it is just one thing. Your goals are unique to you and nothing is going to be too small.

Remember to be specific as well. The more clear your goals are, the easier it is to find the specific steps you need to work towards accomplishing them.

Distinguish Between Your Long and Short-Term Goals

Dreaming big is a great thing and challenges can be really healthy! I would encourage you to push yourself with the goals you create. However, if you’re looking to set a goal with more immediate results, it’s important to be aware of logistical constraints. For example, you might not be able to become a millionaire in a year, but maybe you can start saving $20 every month from your paycheck to put toward the future.

In addition to long-term goals, it’s important to set small goals that you can achieve. Setting quickly achievable short-term goals can help keep you motivated and determined. Celebrating the small wins is a great way to keep up a positive attitude. This positivity and motivation can help you in eventually accomplishing those long-term goals as well.

Take It One Step At A Time

First graders don’t jump directly from elementary school to college. Bodybuilders don’t gain hundreds of pounds of muscle overnight. Stuff like this takes time and training. There are a lot of things in life that you can’t just jump into and be done with, though we may often want to. You have to build up to it.

It’s okay to start small. Eat one more vegetable every day, go to bed ten minutes earlier, go for a short walk and then build up from there.

It’s the same for trying to cut something out of your life. Let’s take Cornerstone’s warm chocolate chip cookies— they are seriously good. Say I am eating six every Friday at lunch. That’s quite a few cookies, and as deliciously melty and warm as they are, eating that many cookies in one sitting is not going to be good for me. If I have done that every Friday since I started school here three years ago, it is probably pretty ingrained in me at this point. So, my friends decide to stage an intervention and we come up with a plan to start cutting down on the cookies. The next Friday, I get six cookies and give half of one to my friend. After a month of that, I start getting only five cookies. Another month and I’m down to four cookies and so on. By the time I graduate, I should be ready to let go, though those cookies will always have a special place in my heart.

Taking small steps is okay. The world wasn’t built in a day. Take your time, create healthy habits, build up that muscle and learn from the process.

It’s still early in the year, meaning it is definitely not too late to set some new goals for yourself. If you’re a high school student and one of your goals is to be on top of college applications, or if you just want to try our amazing cookies, get started now by checking out Cornerstone. Apply today, check out our admissions web page, or plan a visit. It’s never too late for change and never too early to start.