It’s a new year.

Everywhere you turn, advertisements encourage you to change and become a “new” you.

It’s on billboards, television commercials, and even social media ads.

These advertisements push you into addressing your goal to lose weight, exercise more, or even become organized.

You may have already identified what you want to do this year.

And you may have already fallen short of achieving that goal.

Or you may have not even started steps toward your goal.

So, how do you stop setting yourself up for failure?

First, re-evaluate what you want to achieve and make sure it’s realistic. Look at your current lifestyle and commitments.

If you have many things you want to change, just focus on one item.

You may need to break your goal into smaller achievable steps, or you may need to extend how long it will take you to reach your goal.

For example, if you want to organize your home.

Start with one area, such as a kitchen drawer.

If you pick a room to tackle, you may lose momentum because there’s too much to do in one room.

Organizing a kitchen drawer is a small project to accomplish. It may take you one day, a weekend, or even a month – depending on your hectic lifestyle.

Keep in mind there’s no gold star to get it accomplished quickly. It’s your deadline.

Once you’ve tackled one drawer then move on to the next one.

How often have you gone to the store or ordered online things to accomplish a project?

And how many of those items are still in the box untouched?

Do you have shelves that still need to be hung on the wall?

Do you have boxes of file folders waiting for you to organize your office?

It’s normal to be energized when initially tackling a project. And it’s normal to lose momentum when the project takes too long or requires more effort.

For that reason, it’s helpful to focus on one item in a room or break the project into smaller phases.

Making these changes to your expectations will help set you up for success instead of failure.

Another example is destressing your life.

But your life is jam-packed with commitments. Where do you begin?

Start by looking at your day.

Do you have five minutes to sit in silence and breathe deeply?

Pausing your day – even for five minutes – makes a difference.

At first, your mind will wander, but force yourself to envision a peaceful setting – sitting on a beach, near a waterfall, or watching the sunset. 

Your peaceful setting can be anywhere. If you need help, find a picture of a setting that takes your breath away.

If pausing every day for five minutes is too much, try every other day or once a week.

Eventually, you’ll look forward to these pauses in life and find yourself refreshed enough to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Finding five minutes is much easier than committing to an hour-long meditation class.

Striving to change for a more positive you is commendable. We all begin with good intentions, especially when the new year begins.

However, we lose momentum quickly when we’ve over-committed or picked a change that takes longer.

Stop setting yourself up for failure and reframe your expectations.

It’s your life. You control your deadlines. You control your happiness.

(Update to original post from January 18, 2018)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”