So it is February and by now many of those well laid plans made over the New Year break are already being forgotten or shelved. You have joined the gym, attended once or twice and are now too busy to even to think about it. The office clutter is still there. You haven’t started on the business plan, and now tax time is looming, the BAS has to be done and you can’t see it happening any time soon.
Have you ever wondered why this happens year after year?
Research by the University of Scranton has shown that 45% of all Americans regularly make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% of those are ever successful in achieving their resolutions. 49% have infrequent success, and 24% fail to EVER achieve their resolutions.
Given the statistics, you have to wonder why people bother. However the research also shows that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make resolutions.
So what are the secrets to success?
- The first secret is in that little word “explicit”. Explicit means being specific in setting the goal – and writing it down. A vague goal like “Clean up my office” is less likely to be achieved than a specific one like “Go through the filing cabinet and archive all material before 2011.” Writing it down and placing it in plain view (such as on the wall behind your computer screen) keeps it upper-most in your mind.
- Decide if this is something you really want to do, or something you think you “should” do because someone else has told you to do it. If you are not committed, don’t waste your energy.
- Keep the goals manageable. A big goal like “Lose 15 kilos” or “Write a book” can sometimes be overwhelming. A small one such as “Lose half a kilo a week for the next month” or “Write 500 words a day” is much more manageable.
- Make certain you are operating from an area of strength. If you are an introvert, making a goal of attending one networking event a week will leave you exhausted. Forget it! You might be great with social media and much more comfortable making your connections on line.
- Try not to be too hard on yourself. Success is a matter of two steps forward and one step back. We all occasionally fail to meet a self-imposed deadline; are tempted by a sweet treat when we know we are on a diet; or miss a morning walk when the weather is bad. The secret is just to keep going.
- Celebrate small successes. Decide how you will reward yourself when you achieve the goal. It might be a weekend away, a meal at a nice restaurant or a new outfit. Put a few dollars away in a jar each time you achieve a milestone. Decide the location. Set the date. Check out the menu. The feeling of joy you have in the planning will keep you motivated.
- Finally, look for someone to support you in achieving your goals. We rarely achieve anything alone. Having a partner, colleague or a coach to support you in your goals will multiply your chances of success.