Just before the door to 2013 closed forever, I spent some time reflecting on the year that was as well as the year that will be. Naturally, like many of you, I started thinking about the changes I wanted to make. I also thought about the goals I wanted to set for myself, which led me to think about resolutions – specifically, my disdain for them.
On paper, a resolution is a key ingredient to success. By definition, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. However, in practice, a resolution can be a futile attempt at change. Harsh words, yes. But proven nonetheless.
According to Statistic Brain, more than 60% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8% are successful in achieving them. However, with that said, people who make resolutions are 10x more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t even try. I, myself, have consistently fallen into the 92% bucket of people who fail to achieve their New Year’s Resolution. Why is that?
First, the resolutions I’ve set in the past were not well thought out and were too aggressive for me to follow through on long term. Also, none of my resolutions included an action plan on HOW I was going to achieve them. And lastly, I had a terrible attitude about them.
Tips for setting goals:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pace yourself. The accomplishment of a goal should be considered a marathon rather than a sprint. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the accomplishment of your goal.
Stay positive. The only thing you control is your attitude. If you want lose weight, think about it from the perspective of ‘achieving your ideal weight’ rather than ‘losing ten pounds’. The idea of losing carries a negative connotation whereas achieving is uplifting. Start your day with a positive affirmation and return to it anytime your mind starts to wander.
Write down and share your goals with others. A goal you have not written down is only a dream. Setting a goal requires an action plan and writing the goal down is the first action. Over time I’ve found that I am more committed to my goals once I’ve shared them with someone. Sharing your goals with someone you trust will make you accountable. Have you shared your goals with someone you trust?
By setting goals, you are deciding what is important to you. So as we walk through the door to 2014 remember this: Set. Commit. Follow Through.
Happy New Year!
To learn more about setting goals, check out this article from my friends at Mind Tools.