Congratulations, you’ve survived another year! 🙂
That’s the best news ever because that means that if you weren’t able to keep your New Year’s resolutions in 2013, you have all of 2014 to do so (provided that you follow the tips below).
Are you tired of making New Year’s resolutions every year only to have them fall by the wayside mid February or earlier? If yes, then keep on reading!
If you weren’t able to keep your resolutions, you’re not the only one. In fact, some studies have shown that a huge 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them. Other studies have shown that the resolutions only have an 8% success rate. Personally, I’m tired of watching people become another statistic which is why I sat down to write this article.
I want to take this opportunity to welcome the New Year. If 2013 did not go the way you wanted it to go, now is a good time to reflect on what happened and how to make improvements in the new year.
A moment of reflection of the past year is an opportunity for all of us to learn from past mistakes, celebrate past successes and reflect upon what worked and what didn’t.
Believe it or not, I stopped making resolutions a long time ago because I realized that I too would abandon them before February 1st. So, I’ve crossed out the word “resolutions” and replaced it with “goals”. Then, I created an action plan on how to get there. After that, I followed the steps as defined in the action plan. Sometimes, there were some challenges along the way, but I’ve noticed a huge increase in overall success rate.
I hope that as you read, you will realize that you too can achieve your goals in 2014!
1. Don’t make too many at once. The problem with picking too many resolutions is that you may find yourself overwhelmed and not know where to start. Try picking the top 3-5 that are most important to you and that you want to stick to throughout the whole year.
When you have 3-5, it makes it a lot easier for you to develop an action plan for yourself, as opposed to having 10 of them.
Also, rather than calling them “resolutions”, turn them into “goals”. Yes, there is a difference between the two. Yes, your chance of success increases when you replace resolutions with “goals”.
2. Make them specific. If your resolutions are too vague, like “I want to save money” or “I want to get in shape”, then it’s very hard to keep them. A vague goal is not really a goal that you can shoot for because you are not 100% sure of where you truly want to go.
When you don’t have a clearly defined destination, how can you get there? It’s like if you’re driving somewhere you’ve never been before and all you have is the name of the city or street but not the entire address. Sure, you might get to your destination, or you might just get frustrated, turn around and go back. Sound familiar? I think so.
So, if you want to save money, find out how much you want to save and how long it should take you as well as why you’re saving. If you want to get in shape, be more specific like lose 5% body fat in 3 months or gain 10 lbs of muscle over the year. Also, ask yourself why you want to lose the weight.
3. Write them down. When you write down a goal, it’s a lot easier for you to remember it and to clarify what it is you want. Also, when you write down a goal, you are able to clear up some space in your head so that you can start to take your goal to the completion stage as opposed to wondering what it is.
4. Be accountable to others. A goal is always more easily reached when you have people around you who support you in it. So, tell a supportive friend or family member about your goal and what you’re going to do to get there. Better yet, if you have a friend who has similar goals to yours because then you can motivate each other, discuss your successes and talk about areas for improvement.
If you have to, make your goal public (declare it on social media) because studies show that your chances of reaching that goal increase by 10% if you have supportive people around you.
5. Have an action plan. If your goal is fairly large and requires multiple steps, it’s best to write out all the steps and not just the goal itself. When entrepreneurs start a business, for example, they create a business plan which is supposed to guide them in the right direction. An action plan that you will use to reach your goals will help guide you to success.
6. Document your progress. It’s always good to be able to measure how far along you are. Seeing progress is very motivating. For example, if your goal is to make it to the gym at least 3 times per week, then get a calendar and put a check mark on each day that you went to the gym. Also, if you’re trying to lose weight, take progress pictures and post those in an area where you always see them.
7. Make them realistic. If your goal is to save $1 million in one year and yet your income is only $30,000 per year, short of winning the lottery, such a goal is very unrealistic. Same as losing 100 lbs in one month. Pick a goal can achieve or choose a resolution that you know you can keep, while at the same time ensure that you will challenge yourself in the process.
8. Make them attainable. Setting an attainable goal sets you up for success. After you succeed in achieving your initial smaller goals, you will gain more confidence in yourself. Once you’re confident, you will be able to set more challenging goals.
9. Evaluate last year. Recall what your goals/resolutions were at the beginning of 2013 (since we’re entering 2014 now). Check off any goals that you achieved and resolutions that you’ve kept. Recall the process and the work that it took for you to get there. Find out what inspired you to keep going. Recall any challenges that you’ve faced and how you dealt with them.
You can reward yourself for the goals you’ve reached and learn from the challenges that you’ve faced. What was effective and could be applied to the next goal? What was not and thus should not be repeated?
10. Talk to people. Think of people you know (or friends of friends) who have succeeded in what they set out to do, especially if it’s something that you want to accomplish as well. Talk to them, ask them questions about what they did and how they did it. Most successful people who have “been there, done that” are willing to spend a few minutes to talk to someone about their successes, failures, and challenges. This can help you with your new year’s resolutions too.
ON YOUR MARK! GET SET! GO!
I hope that you found this article helpful. I would be thrilled if you shared it 🙂