Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? Today’s the day. Happy New Year 2022!!!!! 🎉🎉🎉 As a young adult, I do remember making New Year’s resolutions which basically involved deciding on a few goals which usually were losing weight or exercising and sometimes I even wrote them down. Of course, my efforts were not successful, and when I read the statistics on how many people achieved their New Year’s resolutions, I gave up completely on making them. Research over the years shows that less than 10% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually reach their goals. This was the statistic that stopped me in my tracks in the past, but then I began to view this statistic differently. Although the percentages are low, many people do reach their New Year’s goals. The key for me was discovering how they do it and implementing plans to follow their lead.
New Year’s Day does feel like a perfect time to set new goals, but whether you begin the process on New Year’s Day or any day, the equation for achieving success is largely the same. So if you have set and not achieved your goals in the past, don’t fret. You CAN do it NOW!
Many experts have written about making and achieving your goals. If you’re interested in diving in further on this subject, you’ll find lots of online information as well as many books for sale on the topic.
Here are some of my favorite tips for making your goals a reality.
Be Intentional To Reach Your Goals
First it’s important to be very intentional in this process. Set aside some time and sit down with pen and paper in hand to begin. Writing your goals down is a significant first step in the process. Consider what goal or goals you are ready to work on now. For success it’s important that these goals be yours and not goals that someone else(your parents, your employer, your significant other or even society in general) has for you. Make a list of YOUR goals.
Ideally this process of goal setting should take place over a period of time during which you’ve had the opportunity to consider past goals and their outcomes as well as reflecting on what future goals you want to accomplish.
Once you’ve make your list of potential goals, narrow them down. Trying to accomplish too much at one time can quickly lead to frustration and sometimes giving up on them entirely.
Make SMART Goals
Once you’ve arrived at your goals, make sure that they’re SMART. SMART is an acronym from the journal Management Review in 1981. Although it was discussed in a business context, it is a great tool for personal goals as well. Here’s a list of 20 personal SMART goals from Leon Ho at Lifehack.org to give you an idea.
S-Specific I want to lose weight or I want to exercise more are not specific goals. I will lose 10 pounds in the next 6 weeks or I will do 30 minutes of cardio three times a week for the next six months are specific goals.
M-Measurable In the examples above, the goal of weight loss is measurable by the pounds lost and the time to accomplish the goal. The goal of increasing exercise is measurable by the length of each session, times per week and for how long.
A-Achievable A goal to lose 20 pounds in a week for example would not be achievable. Losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks is.
R-Relevant It’s important that your goals be important to you and that they are in line with your values. If your goal to lose weight comes from a place of self-loathing or as a result of someone else’s idea of what you should look like, take some time to process those feelings before setting weight loss as your goal.
Time-bound A realistic date for accomplishing your goals will make them time-bound. It will also be helpful to establish shorter term time-bound accomplishments on the road to your ultimate goals.
As I’ve mentioned, writing your goals down or recording them in some way is important. You’ll find 10 printable goal setting worksheets from Parade.com here if you need help with this process or you like pre-prepared worksheets as a guide. Some people find it helpful to write their goals as though they have already happened. For example, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’ve lost 10 pounds.
Visualize Reaching Your Goals
Imagine in detail how you will feel when you have accomplished your goal. If your goal is to overcome a social media addiction, imagine how much you will be accomplishing instead when you are no longer a slave to social media, who will you be spending time with, what will your days look like, how will you feel about no longer having to look at your phone when you first wake up in the morning. The clearer your vision is about your outcome, the better your chances of success will be. You can document these future results as a reminder to yourself everyday of the end result of your hard work. Some people find vision boarding helpful in setting goals. Here’s an article from Jack Canfield on how to create a vision board.
Psychologist, Dr. Catherine Jackson recommends making a contract with yourself. Announce your plan to your family or a close friend. Some even find it helpful to announce their goals on social media although I don’t necessarily recommend this especially if you’re trying to cut back on social media time.
Measure Your Success
Part of the SMART goal process is that your goals be Measurable. It’s important that they also be measured. Keep track of your progress along the way. Use the worksheets from Parade above or make your own. Create short term goals toward your ultimate SMART goal to allow yourself to measure your success as you go along.
Be Kind To Yourself
If things don’t go exactly as planned, don’t be hard on yourself. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”-Japanese proverb When my children were growing up, this quote from Michael Jordan was a favorite at times of disappointment or failure. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” That really says it all. Find an inspirational story, song or quote that will help you to get back on track. You WILL reach your goals.
Congratulate Yourself When You Reach Your Goals
As you accomplish small steps towards your ultimate goal, congratulate yourself. You can pat yourself on the back, tell your significant other or a friend about your success or place a checkmark on your goals list to indicate completion. You might even reward yourself with a massage or a special gift.
Reflect On Your Accomplishment
When all is said and done and you’ve accomplished the goal that you envisioned, give some thought to your process. Thinking about your successes and failures and the road to your end result will help you as you continue to set goals over and over again whether they be New Year’s resolutions or not.
Here’s to all your amazing accomplishments to come!
What tips do you have for accomplishing goals? Let me know in the comments below. I love to hear from you.
“Cultivate an optimistic mind, use your imagination, always consider alternatives, and dare to believe that you can make possible what others think is impossible.” Rodolfo Costa