It’s February, and for many of us, that may mean that we’ve sort of dropped the ball on our new year’s resolutions. No judgment here! It’s difficult to stick with a goal while also taking care of all of our other responsibilities.

But accomplishing a great goal can do so much to help us be the happiest, best version of ourselves. So we wanted to take a look at how to restart the goal-setting process when it’s fallen by the wayside. Here are three steps to take:

Step 1: Determine Why Your Original Goal Didn’t Work Out

This article dives deep into why goal setting sometimes doesn’t work out. Check it out if you’d like more details, but in the meantime, here’s a summary:

  • You didn’t really care about the goal.
  • You set too many goals and got burned out.
  • You didn’t think through the exact steps to achieving your goal.
  • You let other people bring you down.
  • You set a goal that was too hard.

Let’s say David’s original goal was to learn 1,000 new Mandarin Chinese words by the end of the year. He figured that would break down to about 20 words a week, which seemed doable at first. But by the end of January, the 80 words he hoped to learn were all jumbled in his mind, and he honestly only really knew about 30 of them.

What went wrong? Maybe the goal was a little too hard, especially since he only started learning Chinese recently. Maybe he didn’t find specific methods for how best to do it. Either way, it just wasn’t quite the right goal for him.

Evaluate why your goal didn’t work out. Then reset the goal with that element fixed. For example, if you chose a goal that you didn’t really care about, choose one that you do care about. Or if you set too many goals and got burned out, narrow down your goals to just one that you would really love to accomplish.

Step 2: Make a Realistic Plan

Once you figure out what went wrong with your original goal, it’s time to make a realistic goal setting plan that will help you to reach your new goal. 

If you want to work out regularly, for example, “Commit to your workouts by scheduling them and prioritize those ‘appointments’ with yourself,” suggests Mercy Fitness Center. And “Set smaller goals that will help get you to your big goal while helping you develop better habits along the way. Remember that good health is a lifelong commitment.”

The same goes for any goal—if you want to become a better sketch artist, set appointments with yourself to work on it, and remember that creativity is a lifelong commitment! Or if you want to be better about calling your loved ones regularly, prioritize the time to call them, and set small goals that will help you along the way. 

Step 3: Find Your “Why”

Why do you want to achieve the goal? Let’s say you want to get up earlier because it will give you more free time after work, a more peaceful start to each day, and better self-discipline. You want to keep these benefits top of mind, so put them on paper!

“Write down all of the reasons you committed to that goal in the first place,” says Kaylee Rupp at Lifehack. “It also helps to write down what benefits you’ve already seen; this motivates you to keep going so you can see more.”

No matter what you want to achieve, you can do it, even if goal setting has been challenging so far. By figuring out why you struggled with your original goal, making a realistic plan, and finding your “why,” you can achieve your goal and feel all the satisfaction that comes with it. We believe in you!