Happy 2018! New Year’s resolutions, like many topics these days can be pretty divisive – you either love them or hate them. According to data from the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them. Needless to say, this statistic does not provide much hope for future success – or does it? Maybe a better question to ask is what did the 8% of people who achieved their goal do to be successful?
When you set a goal, how clear are you with regard to the details? Most people set a goal by saying something along the lines of “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save more money.” While identifying what you would like to accomplish in a general sense is a good start (many people struggle to name and claim what they want) – it is insufficient to achieving your goal(s). Being too vague is one of the top reasons why people fail. What if you said, I want to save $2,000 more this year – is that clear? Of course, setting a goal of saving $2,000 by August 31st is more specific. Identifying what you would like to do, is only part of the equation.
Your powerful why
While setting a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time-oriented) goal is certainly part of successfully achieving goals, many people jump to identifying WHAT they want to accomplish without first getting abundantly clear about WHY they want to accomplish their goal. There is a science to goal setting. Recent research supports getting clear about the meaning and purpose of your goal for your life. This clarity will serve as a foundation for your goal. In the saving more money example, connecting wanting to save more money with why it is important to you is a critical and often overlooked first step.
Regardless of your specific goal, questions you should ask yourself:
- Why is this important to me?
- Why now?
- How do I imagine my life will be different?
- How will achieving this goal benefit me/my loved ones?
You might be thinking, these questions are ridiculous; I don’t have time to do that! If so, try it out and see if this exercise helps you. Only you will know whether or not this step is important for you. The alternative is to do more of the same and possibly achieve results similar to what you’ve achieved in the past. The key will be to find a way to keep your powerful why present in the forefront of your mind. Some people use screensavers, sticky notes, images on their phone, etc. to remind themselves daily of why what they set out to accomplish is important to them.
Set a timeframe
You may be familiar with the concept of reverse engineering. It is a process whereby you identify a longer-term goal and work backwards to accomplish it.
If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail.
– Benjamin Franklin
It is important to create a detailed plan clearly identifying when will you accomplish your goal in combination with what specific actions you will take on a monthly, weekly & daily basis that will enable you to make progress toward achieving your goal.
Hint: Many people overlook the daily habits necessary to achieve their goals.
Saving more money is a top priority for many people. Most people don’t take the time to develop clear strategies to help them achieve their goal. When we give something up it is often important to have a replacement. If you’re giving up drinks with friends after work, what low cost or no cost alternative will you implement to meet your need for socialization?
Publicly declaring your goal(s) and connecting to a support person who can be an accountability partner is a wonderful way to stay on track with achieving your goal(s).
The 8% of people who successfully achieved their New Year’s resolutions did so by moving forward with absolute clarity, conviction and an unwavering commitment to overcoming obstacles and accomplishing their goal(s).
Ask yourself – Are you interested in achieving your goal or are you committed to achieving your goal?
If so, your plan should include clear and specific steps carried out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis based on your powerful why. Only you can decide to be part of the 8% who accomplishes their New Year’s resolutions.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy a very prosperous 2018!
Jennifer Lauretti-Robbins, PhD, ABPP