What’s one thing you could do this year?

journal with coffee on a table

If you can only accomplish one thing in 2017, what do you want it to be?

It’s easy to become overly ambitious with our New Year’s Resolutions. We start dreaming, and next thing we know we have a list a mile long of all the things we plan to do. Then, when we start to fall behind, we grow discouraged. Pretty soon, we give up on all our plans, and at year’s end we find ourselves no closer to where we wanted to be than we were last year.

How can we fight back against this cycle of hope and defeat?

You have one job this year.

Pick one thing. Make it your #1 priority. If all else fails, this is the one thing you have to cling on to. Try breaking that one thing down into pieces you know you can accomplish. If you want to eat healthier, start bringing lunch into work instead of eating out. If you want to exercise more, make a point of going on daily walks. Or if you want to read more, set a book-a-month goal, or aim for a certain amount of time every day.

Intending is not doing.

Sometimes we set ambitious goals because we like to feel as if we’re making a lot of progress. But don’t fool yourself: intending to do a thing is not the same as doing it. And while we can feel good in the moment of writing our resolutions, once we start trying to live the out we soon discover we bit off more than we can chew. Our disappointment makes us feel lazy and unmotivated. We beat ourselves up for not achieving the impossible.

Set yourself up for victory.

Instead of setting yourself up for failure, set yourself up for success. When we win at one thing, we often find our excitement over that goal pushes us on to the next level. So even though you’ve only picked one thing to be your focus, you may discover come March or June that you’re ready to add on another goal.

And if you only achieve that one thing, you will still have won.

So pick your thing. Then make 2017 the year you do it.

Iris Proctor
Iris is the director of ArborWoman.