It’s the end of the year, and for every bit of joy and happiness that you are getting from the upcoming holiday festivities, I’m willing to bet that there is an added level of anxiety when it comes to the New Year. I’ve written before about how to reach your potential through setting your resolutions and goals and let’s face it: we put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves when it comes to starting off the new year with a positive outlook and high expectations. We usually sit down and create that long list of all the things we want to change, make an impossibly difficult set of New Year’s resolutions, and then become bummed out when those resolutions don’t make it past the third week of the year.
The good news is that it’s not just you: based upon a 2017 survey about 58% of Americans make some form of New Year’s resolution, but only about 9% report keeping their resolution in the new year. And it’s easy to see why. Many of us make multiple resolutions that are so vague and lacking in detail that it almost seems impossible to attain. When we don’t see immediate results, we have a tendency to lose faith and once the wind is out of our sails, we typically abandon the resolution and chalk it up to just another failure. But, it’s that kind of defeatist attitude that really adds to the depression that many people see this time of year.
So how can you make sure that you are successful in the new year? First, consider making a goal rather than a resolution. A goal is setting a target towards a result, whereas a resolution is a decision to do something or not do something. A goal is a more effective approach, measurable, and promotes transformational change.
There are several actions you can take to ensure your new years’ goals are successful:
Go in with a positive attitude.
Like I mentioned, less than 10 percent of Americans ever achieve their resolution. Are you one of the 90 percent who have failed in years past? Don’t let that bring you down. Prepare to start fresh and set your goals. Realize this New Year is meant to have a new attitude and that with a better plan, you can achieve your goal.
Identify what’s important to you.
Make a list of all the things that really matter in your life and prioritize them. Once you do this, realize that your personal goals should fit into these categories. Pick the ones that will have the greatest impact on your life and areas of importance. Don’t overburden yourself with a dozen different goals that will weigh you down. Two to four goals are more reasonable.
Be Specific and Measurable!
Vagueness is something that everybody needs to get over in the New Year. Let’s look at just one popular resolution: “I want to lose weight.” Thirty-two percent of Americans make this or a similar resolution every year. This goal is so vague that it is almost meaningless. How much weight? One pound, ten pounds, one hundred pounds? Instead, write down a definition of what you want to attain and when you want to reach this goal. If you want to lose weight, define how much you want to lose and set a monthly goal to get there. If you want to lose fifty pounds in the next year, then state that and plan to lose 4-5 pounds a month to reach that goal by next December. (We’ll talk later about how SMART goals can really set up you up for success.)
Once you’ve set your goal, post it where you can see it every single day. Do you really want the motivation to lose fifty pounds in 2018? Put the statement on your refrigerator as a reminder. Or write an affirmation in an app on your cell phone to refer to daily. That will not only help reinforce your drive to meet that goal, but it will also motivate you to change your behavior every time you see it. If you don’t, then you risk the goal falling to an out-of-sight, out-of-mind blackhole; and when that happens, you probably aren’t going to follow through. Another good motivator is to set reminders of why you are doing this. Is losing weight something you want to achieve so you can be healthier for your family? Well, put a picture of your kids or spouse alongside that reminder as an extra motivator to hit your goal.
No one should try to do any of this alone. Know that you should have a support system in place that will give you the motivation and help you need to reach your goal. Find a support group, ask a friend to partner with you, or hire a coach who is qualified to help you in the specific area of your life you want to change. If you would like to learn more about hiring a coach, schedule a Complimentary Virtual Coaching Strategy Session (limited time offer).
In our next post, I will share how you can dive deeper into creating your goal, so you can craft a truly inspiring, productive plan for your continued growth in 2018!