This year, like every previous year, millions of people will set fantastic goals at the beginning of the year, and every year most of those millions will fail. A large number set the same goals every new year and fail time and again, because making resolutions stick is difficult because we are forcing ourselves to change old habits and it is our nature to lose enthusiasm and revert to comfortable old habits and routines. So, what is the secret sauce for those of us who can accomplish their goals and persevere with their resolutions: They follow the following steps:
Consider the Reasoning of Your Goal
When setting a goal, it is important to consider why you are making it and if you are making it for the right reasons. Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and author of two self-help books told the New York Times, “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” he said. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Big
Setting big goals is instrumental to major accomplishments, and according to Harvard Medical School having a big goal in and of itself can inspire you to accomplish it, whether it is running a marathon, starting a business, writing a book, landing that big Director or C-level role or getting into graduate school. Experts say a big goal often inspires your inner circle, who will offer encouragement and support to assist you in achieving your goals. Lean on this network and ask for help when you need it.
Make A Short To-do List Every Day
Experts say that setting a short daily to-do list helps accomplish the most essential tasks. Do not set to-do lists that are too long or complex, if so it is human nature to simply go for the easy items and avoid the harder tasks. Rather, go for 3-5 important tasks each day; our brains are wired to desire that “feel good” completion we receive when checking items off that all important to-do list.
Measure Your Progress
Like business performance measurement. You need KPIs for your personal and business goals. Some goals are easily measured, like weight loss or miles run per week. Other goals are tougher to measure, such as a promotion at work or a new career. In those cases, break down your goal into smaller and calculable goals. Track what you are doing to either land a new job or advance your role at your current company. Track weekly the new clients you are working towards, or the number of projects you are completing or maybe you need to complete a certifications or new training to advance. If you are looking to change companies track how many applications, you are submitting, or recruiters have you emailed? These are ways you can calculate a goal that is difficult to measure, by breaking it down into tasks and tracking your progress.
Remember that we are always seeking “PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.” The American Psychological Association writes that a key part of success is how you treat yourself when you fail, and you will inevitably fail. Failure is the process of success. Whether you forget to journal one day, are too busy to work out the next, or eat the thing you are trying not to eat, etc. everything is part of the process. Learn from it. Could it have been prevented? If not, forgive yourself and start tomorrow. If it could have been prevented, consider why, and make some easy tweaks to your success plan and move forward. Start again tomorrow and do not let disappointment derail your progress. Each and everyone of us is only human.