Here comes a new year..
And with it, a wash of New Years resolutions. Some of them will see the fruits of success, others won’t, some won’t even get off the ground.
It’s this time of year we’re compelled to evaluate our lives. We look back and judge our year, what we succeeded in and what could have gone a little better. Which naturally leads us forward and to the future, to what we want to change and improve upon.
It’s a perfect time to think of a new life, and to set our goal to be fitter, healthier, better paid, or more traveled. We’re driven by this vision of our future selves, and the determination we feel is never stronger than at its first inception.
But even with this motivation, despite our enthusiasm and our drive, too often we fall short, the effect wears off and the inspiration dies down. Worse yet, giving up on our goals creates psychological conflict, the mental equivalent of throwing in the towel and this has negative effects beyond the lack of achievement.
So why do 92% of New Years resolutions fall short?
We have to start on the right foot. Most meaningful goals take time, they need constant effort, and they contain many smaller steps. Yet in our enthusiastic new year splendor, we often set goals that are too lofty, are vague and don’t have quantifiable end points, and then we race towards them as if it’s a sprint.
6 Steps For Setting Clear Goals:
To better our chances of triumph, it’s a good idea to start with a plan, and write it down. So here’s a 6 step plan for setting clear goals this year, following them should help keep your resolutions rolling along.
1. Be clear and specific with what you want to achieve. Don’t just say you want to get fit or healthy, say you want to run a mile in 6 minutes, say you want to lose 10 pounds. Make it a clear goal that you can measure.
2. Break the goal down into steps. Have smaller goals to reach throughout the year, and reward yourself with something when you reach them.
3. Track your progress. We feel good about ourselves when can see our improvements. There’s plenty of great apps out there in which you can do this, I recommend Lift.
4. Acknowledge your weaknesses, and take note of any setbacks. If you know when you’re likely to trip up then you can prepare yourself in advance, or avoid it altogether.
5. Be accountable, and get a friend to make sure you follow through. When you don’t go for your weekly run, or you indulge in that chocolate cake, set consequences–donations to a charity work well, try creating a commitment contract on StickK.
6. Make sure you have fun. If you’re enjoying the ride, that long road to a new you will fly past, and you’re far less likely to give up.
What’s better, with repeated success in achieving your goals, the plan you have in place and the method you use to reach them can form a habit. Each new challenge you succeed in will make the next one even easier. The thrill and rush of success never wears off, instead, with each accomplishment you’ll only increase your appetite for more new and exciting challenges.
All the best in achieving your goals this year!