Right about now, like most American’s, you are contemplating your New Year’s resolution(s) and vowing that this time you will stick to it!! A study has found that most people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them within one week of starting. However, this year can be different!
Whether your NYRs are geared towards things like: losing weight, quitting smoking, or spend less time social networking, OR are of a professional nature such as: locating a meeting space, cleaning up your business image, or finally hiring a receptionist to field all those business calls… it all starts with proper planning and here are some helpful tips on successfully sticking to your NYR goals.
Keep it simple:
Instead of creating a long list of things you would like to achieve, select the top three goals that are the most important. From that list select the goal you would like to accomplish the most and start there. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re trying to reach too many goals simultaneously. Plus, you increase your chance of attaining your goals when you put your energy into changing one aspect of behavior at a time. Once you have accomplished that goal… move on to the next one.
Set REALISTIC goals:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – timely
S – setback plan
Have a plan:
Create a plan for how you will approach meeting your goal. The plan should include your SMART goals, specific things you’ll need to do, and your intended result. In other words, your action plan should address what you’re trying to do, how you’re going to do it, and what success will look like when you’ve achieved your goal. For example, if you are an individual business owner and tired of meeting your clients at Starbucks or your local internet café, researching low cost office spaces or even virtual meeting spaces would be a great action item to add to your plans. Being able to cross off an item like this not only will clean up your business image but also add a since of security to your clients in regards to your professionalism!
Chart your success:
Find a way of charting your accomplishments. Keep a journal, or cover your fridge or notice board with graphs or pictures. This way you will also have visual motivational reminders to keep you on track.
Set milestones and reward successes:
While it is important to keep the ultimate goal in view, the chances of success are greater if you set milestones along the way. Reward yourself when you meet a milestone, providing motivation, encouragement, and an added incentive to continuing working towards your ultimate goal.
Many of us like to keep our NYRs private. That way we don’t have to share the shame when or if we fall off the wagon, which just makes it easier to take a break or quit altogether. Instead, share your resolutions with others and ask them to support you. For example, if you want to quit smoking, ask your smoke-break buddies not to invite you, thus keeping you away from the temptation!!
Instead of beating yourself up about your shortcomings towards your resolutions, try motivating yourself by focusing on the positive things you were able to do. This way you don’t start to feel negative about the tasks that you set out for yourself and you are more likely to get back on track if you fall off.
Plan for slip ups:
Having a strategy for setbacks is just as important as a strategy for success. People who maintain their NYRs for at least two years report an average of 14 slips or setbacks during that time. The key, of course, is rebounding from a setback, rather than letting them snowball into a full-blown relapse. Also, try to avoid the all-or-nothing thinking that triggers the snowball effect. If you do have a slip up, remember: don’t beat yourself up because changing years of a learned behavior doesn’t happen overnight.
Change isn’t easy, but it’s a crucial part of life. With some planning, a vision of the results you hope to achieve, workable and realistic goals, and a support system, there is no reason why you cannot achieve success in the New Year!