US News reports that 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. At the writing of this post, that still leaves a couple of weeks for folks to continue their resolutions! Not a very positive or empowering outlook for all of those good intentions out there.
I think it’s admirable and inspiring that people want to make a difference in their lives, improve their experience and live full out – awesome! I personally LOVE January for goal setting. After holiday break I get clarity and a new perspective on what I want to create in the next year. I am even compelled to take on “spring cleaning” and clean out my closets, re-arrange my office and get re-organized in general – LOVE!
And…I have it that a New Year’s resolution may not be the way to go to actually create what you want. Here’s why:
- They’re generally made at the spur of the moment based on problems or things that are “wrong” in life. For example, I don’t have money, turns into a resolution to save more money. Or I feel bad about my looks equals I’m going to lose weight.
- They are vague and don’t have dates or stepping stones set up to achieve them
- People aim to change right away, cold turkey without putting accountability or structures in place to support these new habits.
So how do you create what you want and use the New Year as a jumping off point?
- Create a goal and look at why it’s important to you. What’s the experience you want to create by having that money saved or by shedding that extra weight? When we attach the results we want to create to the bigger picture of why it’s important to us it creates added motivation and resolve to stick it out through the tough times and keep aiming for the finish line. For example, you might want to lose 30 pounds this year and the experience that would provide for you might be that you love your body, feel self-expressed and joyous.
- Get Specific: what do you want by when? This is where SMART Goals come in. Is your goal Specific? Measurable? Attainable? Realistic and Timely? Using the example above, to lose 30 pounds by October 1, 2019, is much more specific than “I resolve to lose weight this year”. Now with a specific measure of what you want to achieve by when you can break it down into smaller milestones.
- Create accountability. A Harvard business study showed that those that have a written goal are 13 times more likely to achieve it than those who have an unwritten goal, just a plan in their head, or those with no goals at all. Most likely this goal you’re moving towards is going to require you to change some habits and create new ones. What support do you need to put in place while you ‘build your muscles’ in these new habits? Here are a few suggestions:
- Write your goal down including the milestones to get there.
- Ask a friend to check-in with you and ask how it’s going on a regular basis.
- Post your goals up on your wall or make some other visual display – share them with everyone.
- Hire a life coach, personal trainer, financial planner or whoever can support you to get to where you want to be.
While New Year’s Resolutions seem like a great idea, creating goals with intention that connect to what you want to experience in life have a much higher likelihood of standing of the test of time and take you over the finish line where you get to celebrate and relish in your success. Follow the steps above to getting you on the road to creating your year from a powerful and intentional place. Have additional tips for what’s worked for you to create meaningful and lasting goals? Please share them in the comments below.