With only an estimated 8% of people living up to their new years resolutions, it seems we’re all doing something wrong. Before setting my goals for this year, I did a little research in how to make it more likely I’ll reach my goals, and thought it would be helpful for anyone else looking to do the same. Here’s what I found.
Pick One Important Goal
Taking on too much at a time is a recipe for failure. Pick something that is already important, and you’re motivated to get done. Wait until you have your initial success, then use that momentum to tackle your next goal.
Make Sure Your Goal is Something You Really Want
This sounds like common sense, but if you don’t TRULY, DEEPLY want to achieve a goal, you probably won’t. I heard somewhere that motivation to complete something doesn’t come from willpower. It comes from “wantpower.” What do you really want? A six-pack in time for your next vacation, to buy a house, pay off your credit card debt, have a better relationship with your significant other? That drive to REALLY want that thing is going to keep you pushing to reach that goal. If you set a goal to achieve something that you truly aren’t motivated to achieve, it’s very unlikely you’ll follow through when it become more difficult or boring.
Make a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
Goals area easier to achieve when they are:
Don’t Do It Alone
Get someone else involved who wants achieve a similar goal. Want to get fit? Get a friend to work out with you each week. In one study, they found that relational motivation made it easier to achieve progress towards fitness goals.
Create an Environment for Success
Creating the right environment at the start, will make it easier to reach your goals. My big goal this year is the revenue I want my businesses to achieve. To achieve that goal, I’m going to have to put in some serious hours at home, so I created an organized, clutter free, quiet office to work from at home. If you’re goal is fitness related, start off by getting rid of all the junk food at home, so you don’t have the temptation to eat it throughout the day.
Limit Each Goal Period to 12 Weeks
When you set too long of a time to achieve your goal, it can be too easy to procrastinate. If you’ve been honest with yourself, and this is a goal you can achieve, you should be making progress continually. By limiting each goal to 12 weeks, you don’t have time to procrastinate, and it’s easier to track if you’re making the right progress. By 3 weeks, you should be 25% there, by 6 weeks, 50% there, etc. Just because you’re limiting your time to 12 weeks per goal, doens’t mean you need can’t set lofty goals. This just allows you to break them up into manageable chunks, so you can see real progress, and won’t allow yourself to create the illusion that you can make up for it all near your deadline.
Don’t Be Overcritical
Studies have shown that being hard on yourself after missing a step in your goal is counterproductive and can make you less likely to achieve your goals. Don’t let missing a single step or having a set back derail you. It’s ok to make mistakes or have a lapse in willpower. Being self-compassionate will help you to see your goal to completion.
Plan It Out
Any goal is easier when you break it down into steps. I’ve created this handy printable PDF you can use as a starting point for planning out how to achieve your goals.
Do you have a goal you want to reach? The biggest obstacle to not achieving a goal is not taking immediate action. What action can you take today?