It’s still December, but this month is going to fly by like it seems to do every year. And while many of us are attending holiday gatherings, dinners and checking out other Christmas happenings in Springfield, I think it is just as important to take a little time for yourself and reflect on the last year. Did you achieve what you set out to achieve this year?
One goal I’ve had each year is to travel someplace new, and last year was no exception. I took my daughter to Bangkok in March to visit my bestie and her family and the year before I visited Seattle, Washington – a place I have always wanted to visit but never dreamed I would. For 2017, I am not sure where I want to go, I just know I would like to visit another country whether that be India, Cambodia or the Philippines…I guess it doesn’t have to be Asia, but a big part of my heart does reside there.
Sometimes it happens that our New Year’s Resolutions don’t come true – either we don’t stick to them, or our motivation dies down sometime in March, etc. According to an article in Forbes, only 8% of people who set New Year’s resolutions actually succeed. Why? Why do some people succeed at their resolutions and others don’t? What are the keys to achieving our New Year’s goals? I knew you’d ask….
5 Keys to Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions
One big reason people don’t achieve their New Year’s Resolutions is because they fail to change their behaviors. Their resolutions turn into more “wishful thinking” than actual goals and this often leads to disappointment. I would know (I still have things that I wish for). Luckily, with a little help from psychologytoday.com and forbes.com, I’ve compiled a few keys to help you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions.
- Set clear and concise goals.
For example, don’t write down “I want to make more money.” Instead say, “I’d like to increase my income by X% by April.” This helps your brain find avenues and solutions to the challenge at hand.
- Set goals which are challenging, but are possible and achievable for you.
Roman Abramovich has a very different reality box than I do – he could wake up one morning and say, “I’d like to make an extra $500,000 before noon,” and it be a feasible goal for him. For me, that is out of my scope of ideology. Sure it’s possible, but my brain can’t wrap itself around a goal like that – it isn’t in my reality. But I CAN contact three or four organizations before noon looking for sponsorship for the next Ladies’ Night Out – that is definitely feasible for me.
- Focus on your execution.
Goal-setting isn’t about wishing and hoping something will happen, it’s about changing your behavior. Humans are creatures of habit, and unless we consciously do something different, we will always get what we have always gotten. If I set a lofty weight-loss goal, a good way to measure my success would be to eat more natural foods and cut out soda and potato chips. Maybe taking a homemade salad every day with me to work will help me in achieving my goal, or adding 15 minutes of exercise to my daily regime will support me. The point is to focus on your execution by changing one small behavior.
- Don’t change too much too fast!
Sometimes we get motivated and we try to change too much too fast – this leads to burnout and eventually giving up on the goal altogether. This is why dieting doesn’t necessarily work for everyone – some people do a complete 180 on the way they live, and while it may work for a month or two we usually go back to how things were. Some people can do this, but for the majority it is overwhelming. Take it slow and steady.
- Set mini-milestones and celebrate every time you reach one!
Don’t wait for the goal before you celebrate – cheer yourself on! If your goal is to quit smoking and you go from half-a-pack a day to three cigarettes a day, commend yourself (just don’t do it by smoking another ciggy). Take yourself to a movie, splurge on a netflix series or buy yourself that book you’ve been wanting to read. You’ve earned it!
All-in-all, if you are one of those who has set goals in the past and hasn’t reached them, it probably isn’t the goal that is the issue – it could be the failure to change unsupportive behaviors. Start there and see where the road may take you! Happy goal-setting Springfield, Mo!