Sadly, statistics show that three out of four people will not achieve their New Year’s Resolutions this year, and it’s likely due to a failure in proper goal planning. Don’t let that be you, follow these steps and put yourself among the success stories of 2012:
1) Set goals within your reach. Many people fail to set a realistic standard for themselves. Be true to yourself and what will make you feel successful this year. Are you really someone who’ll run 3 miles a day, or is a daily 30-minute walk more your speed right now? Also, check your goals against your values. What’s more relevant to you, owning a new sports car or starting your child’s college fund?
2) Commit to your dreams in writing. Writing your resolutions out by hand is a powerful activity that transforms your thoughts and desires into a tangible, physical declaration. Use words that clearly describe what you want to achieve, when you want it done by, and remind yourself why you want it. This will be your motivational marching orders for the entire year. Be sure to keep them in a visible, everyday location like your day planner, bathroom mirror, computer monitor, or in your wallet
3) Be ultra-specific. Most resolutions fail on the launching pad because they aren’t specific enough. You must state clear directions how you’ll achieve your goals or you’ll find yourself unable to get started. It’s not enough to be specific – you must be ultra-specific. A good resolution answers the how, what, when, where and why questions. For example: Want to lose 25 pounds this year (specific)? Or, do you want to lose 2 pounds a month by cutting out snacks and starting a daily fitness routine (ultra-specific)? See the difference. Being specific directly impacts your chances of success.
4) Create weekly rituals. Most often, resolutions fail because there’s a gap between your intentions and your actions. Face this weakness head-on by creating a daily or weekly routine that reinforces your goal. Want to lose weight? Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator each morning at work. Quitting smoking? Then declare your car a no-smoking zone. Having a positive habit is the best way to ward-off the common resolution-killers: procrastination, fear of failure, distraction, and being too-busy.
5) Rebound. A crucial tip used by successful people is to never let setbacks derail you. Pick yourself up and get back on your plan as quickly as possible. Falling off-track for one week matters little in the big picture, so don’t get down. Dwelling on mistakes is a waste of your time!
6) Reward your successes. Don’t wait the entire year for a payoff. Motivation and persistence do not come easy, so treat yourself for each successful month. Set a unique milestone for the end of each month and assign a reward to it. For example, losing your first 5 pounds could earn you a new pair of slimmer jeans. Or, maybe sticking to your workout plan for a month earns you a new pair of running shoes. Choose twelve healthy rewards and make sure you don’t set-back your progress.
Additional tips on achieving your New Year’s Resolutions:
- Start right away – don’t wait for motivation to start
- Start by planning easy tasks and then build-up to more challenging activities
- Use a calendar, mobile app or paper planner to set daily reminders and check off your progress
Remember, setting New Year’s Resolutions is only the beginning – without a solid goal setting plan you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Follow the above steps and get yourself on track to a successful new year.