It’s not for everyone, but writing down goals and resolutions for the new year is something I do every year on my birthday (yes, my birthday is December 31st!). I’ve always been a bit of a planner and organizer, so pausing once a year to take stock in how well I did with my previous year’s goals, and then evaluating what I want to improve on for the new year is something I look forward to.
According to CNN, of those that actually write down new year’s resolutions, only about 68% are actually achieved. In my book, 68% isn’t bad but we can do better! So how can we set them so we get closer to 100% in following through?
There are so many approaches for this, and I’m always trying to adapt new ideas on how I set mine, but there are a few key steps that industry giants like Hal Elrod, Tony Robbins, and Ryan Snow all agree on – set realistic goals, develop a plan, break down the plan into activities and habits that are measurable and in your calendar, and be accountable to someone! Taking all their collective wisdom, here’s what I’ve learned and found most effective:
#1 – Set Realistic Goals
They all agree that this is key and really requires quite a bit of thought for all areas of your life – from business to home. Think of setting goals that aren’t too grand or arbitrary, and ones that reflect what’s important to you and what are your priorities. Start by thinking about your long term vision for maybe 5-10 years ahead, and then think about short term goals for the year, and then for each quarter and for each month. Consider having just one key goal for each area of your life:
#2 -Make a Plan
Breaking down each goal into activities you’ll do to achieve those goals is important. My favorite is that I want to lose 10 pounds, but last year I didn’t really have a plan, so oops, I actually gained 10 pounds! Not this year. I’m making sure that each goal has the supportive actions to help me achieve them. These activities are best broken down into monthly, weekly and daily tasks which turn into habits. This takes time and thought, but without this step, it’s really hard to effect a change to achieve the goal.
#3 – Measure Your Progress
Without a process for tracking your progress, it’s not realistic to think you’ll really achieve your goal. I find that adding “to do” tasks to my calendar and then time blocking the time to do them helps to keep my eyes front and center on follow-through. In addition, or instead of this calendar approach, create a tracking checklist for your daily tasks or habits, and then at the end of the week and month, look back and see what went well and where things need to be tweaked. I like to get a little fancy and color code my calendar for business, personal and events. No matter how it’s done, it’s important to track your progress so you stay on track.
#4 – Be Accountable
Being accountable to ourselves is only as good as our own self discipline and drive. I always feel that I’m pretty good at this, but then unplanned things happen, new priorities surface, and then I completely miss the mark and goal. Having someone you’re accountable to for your goals is really the game changer. You may find you need more than just one accountability partner, because the goals cross different areas of your life. So depending on your goal, you may have a friend, a family member, a personal trainer, a business coach and/or a life coach. This helps in two ways – first, it hits at an emotional level because who likes to disappoint people? For me, if I tell someone I’m going to do something, then it’s important to me that I follow through. Secondly, there are a lot of people that have achieved what I want to achieve and can offer wisdom and support. There may be an easier way to do something, or I may need to add something into my tasks or habits that can help me to accomplish the goal for less money, faster or with less stress!
So for those of us that think we have the discipline, but then part way into February we realize we fell way short, then this final little step might just be your golden ticket.
Message me if you have found some great ways to keep your new year’s resolutions on track! I’d love to learn and share those!
Happy new year and happy planning!