The new year can bring excitement for the future, rekindle dreams, and be a time of ambition. It’s a fresh start! Many individuals, families, and even companies reflect on the past year and set resolutions or goals for the upcoming one. But do New Year’s resolutions really work? According to Inc.com, only 8% of people achieve the goals they set at the start of the year. What gets in the way of goal achievement and how can you set goals that stick? Do you want to be in that 8%?
Click play to hear author Sara Mayer give her three biggest tips to making your resolutions actually stick!
Why Goals Fail
All too often we set goals from a negative mindset. The new year rolls around and we reflect on the past year and all the things we didn’t complete. Things we had as resolutions or aspirations that have been on our list for years. I need to lose weight; I should have saved more money; I want a bigger house; I didn’t get that promotion at work. Then we set our goals around these perceived shortcomings. This results in uninspiring goals that will fall by the wayside before February.
I’ve been there. I set my goals and then life got in the way and the goals were forgotten. I was working all the time, had thousands of unread emails, a packed calendar, and was not achieving any of my objectives.
I set out to learn from goal achievers in the workplace and was shocked at what I observed. Often they didn’t have a magic system for goal setting and time management, they just outworked their colleagues. Yep, one person worked as much as one and a half or two employees would each week. They accomplished their goals in the office but had to put in a lot of extra work to do so.
I then set out to find the employees who were achieving goals without the hustle and overtime. These employees set bold goals—goals that were aligned with their true desires—and then planned their days, weeks, months, and years around accomplishing those goals. It wasn’t about time management; it was about self and goal management.
I’ve spent the last 10 years studying productivity in the workplace. I found that most people believe they have a time-management problem when they really have a self-management problem. The truth is, none of us have more than 24 hours in a day, yet some of us achieve significantly more than others.
Each year, it’s critical to have a process that allows for meaningful reflection on wins, hopes, and dreams. This year, start fresh and implement the process of reflecting, dreaming, planning, strategizing, and implementing to achieve your bold goals!
Start with reflection from a place of positivity. Don’t think about what you didn’t accomplish. Ask these questions instead:
- What are you most proud of this year?
- What was your happiest day?
- When were you the most productive?
- What is your lesson for the year?
- When were you bold?
- What new thing did you try?
When asking positive questions, you create a positive expectation that you will be successful and that your goals are possible.
Time to toss out all the goal-setting rules and tap into your true desires, hopes, and dreams. They don’t need to be specific, measurable, time-bound, or even realistic at this stage. Allow your mind to explore your primary aspirations. What you truly want is likely not easy or something you can accomplish in one year. Be bold!
This step should not be underestimated. You may have a list of tasks a mile long, but do you have a plan for your goal? This is a step-by-step plan to bring your dream to life and take action. This is when you need to create measurable and specific deadlines. Now, if you are truly working on your dream, you will have gaps along the way. Maybe it’s money or knowledge or connections that you need to develop to start on the goal. These are your first steps. Create an action item to learn how to get started. You don’t need to have all the steps listed in perfect order; just jot down the first five to begin.
When you make an actionable plan toward your goal, you cut out the noise and become clear on your direction.
The next and most important step is creating a strategy for achieving your goal, because we know life will get in the way. When you are working on your big goals—your dreams—you may not know what to do. It’s easy to fall back on what you do know, like doing the laundry or cleaning the house. When you focus on these tasks, you get further and further from goal achievement.
It’s time to create a strategy for when you will work on your goals and handle everything that gets in the way. Think about what can be skipped. Is every social event necessary right now? Or are your goals more important? What activities, hobbies, and areas of enjoyment in your life do you not want to miss when it comes to these goals? With achieving objectives there will be some sacrifice, but you should not have to skip out on everything to make something happen. Instead, you prioritize.
When you make an actionable plan toward your goals, you cut out the noise and become clear on your direction.
When you want something to happen in your life, you need to make changes to get it done. Achieving goals is no different. It takes sacrifice, planning, and dedication. Strategizing for each objective is the best step you can take to achieve your life goals faster.
It’s time to implement and bring your goals to life. This is done by scheduling your goals first and conducting regular reviews.
- Schedule your goals. Your goals deserve a place in your weekly calendar. Start each week by reviewing your goal tracker, and then schedule time to work on the steps. Goal appointments are non-negotiable. If you get to the appointment and you are not sure how to do the task or how to move forward, think about who can help you, and reach out. This dedicated time will help create momentum.
- Review your goals regularly. Bring your goals to life with a regular review of each goal, your progress, and your insights on the goal-achievement process. Don’t simply review the goal tasks; really think about the process. What is getting in your way, what are you afraid to move forward on, and what are you learning about yourself? This regular review on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis will keep your goals at the forefront of your life.
The new year is full of inspiration, and you can create a life you dream of and become a part of the 8% who achieve their goals and resolutions. It’s time to reflect, dream, plan, strategize, and implement to achieve your goals no matter what comes your way.
Sara Mayer, DTM is a strategic business consultant who believes you can set and crush bold goals without working double-time. Learn more at www.saramayer.com, and grab a copy of Sara’s Goal Reflection worksheet.