The New Year is fast approaching and you’re all excited and geared up about the new habits you’re going to start, and the old habits you’re going to leave. You know you’ve failed before but you also know that this time you’re going to stick to your decisions, no matter what happens. You are 200% confident that you will make it happen this time. Only that…
You said it last year, too. In fact, you’re probably setting the same goals every year, since the past several years. Maybe you’re fed-up of failing now and have stopped setting goals and resolutions altogether. If this is you, it may not be your fault. It may also be nothing to do with your willpower, it could only be a flaw in your approach. Statistics say that 93% people fail in their New Year Resolutions, and the percentage increases with age. Let me help you, so that you can finally stick to your new year resolutions this year, and further years to come. Ready? Read on!
Your list is too long.
Most people have a goal list like the one below (can you relate?):
- Stop smoking.
- Stop drinking.
- Make more money.
- Be more productive.
- Lose weight.
- Start exercise (join a gym).
- Eat healthy food.
- Drink water regularly.
- Learn a new language.
- Stop your television addiction.
- Travel more.
- Spend more time with friends and family.
- Read more books.
- Create more content for your blog / website.
- Learn new skills.
- Learn a new instrument.
- Start waking early in the morning.
- Enroll in a new course / seminar / workshop.
And the list goes on. These are common goals and resolutions set by 99% of the people and most of them fail. If you’re one of them, it’s probably not your fault, no one taught you to do it correctly. Your goal should be to have a list between 3 to 7 goals maximum. Otherwise you will get frustrated, burn out and finally give up. You see, old habits take time to change. The minimum duration is 2 to 3 weeks and sometimes, a few months. Another mistake people make is try to do too many things at once. First change one habit and then move on to the next. Create a micro goal and achieve it in a few days or a month.
A goal without a plan is only a dream, not a goal. You need to make a well researched, logical and realistic plan on how you will achieve your goal, and by when. Open ended goals fail to motivate you or create any sense of urgency. You have to decide by when you will achieve your goal, so that you are on your toes.
How big? How small?
Another mistake in choosing a goal is that they are either too big or too small. Goals must be challenging and stretch you beyond your comfort zone and not easily reachable. If they’re too easy to achieve, it would become boring as there won’t be any passion or drive to put in consistent effort. If they’re extremely far-fetched, you’ll suffer a burn-out and subsequently give up.
In most cases, the timing is wrong!
New year is a time to celebrate and have a good time. You do things that you enjoy doing. So if you try to stop drinking (or go on a diet) on New Year, it’s counter intuitive. Why not have resolutions on other days? As I write this, it is the 9th of December’2018 today. Considering that it takes about 21 days to change a habit, why not make a resolution TODAY?
Let’s say, you want to stop smoking. If you start today, you will most probably leave the habit by 1st January 2019! Your goal should be to be smoke-free from 2019 and beyond, not to stop in 2019. I highly encourage you to make a resolution TODAY and not wait for New Year’s day.
Another problem with the timing is that people are just back from their holidays and are now facing the harsh realities of life. Their immediate tendency is to tackle urgent matters that have piled up, leaving no time for their resolutions which they were so excited about. And summer is still far away…
What about accountability?
When you work at a job, your boss or superiors are always on your heels, making sure you do whatever work you’re employed and paid for. It means that they ensure you’re accountable! But what about your resolution… how do you make yourself accountable?
The best and cheapest way is to have an accountability partner and discuss with him/her. It could be your spouse, your best friend, or a sibling. Tell them about your goal and seek their help. Another way is to hire someone, like a mentor or a coach. This is a little expensive but the most reliable.
What are you focusing on?
Are you focusing on what you want, or what you need to be doing? For example, you say you want to lose weight. But why? Is it to look better? Or to become healthier? If you start starving to lose weight, you will binge eat later. Instead, hire a coach / consultant so you can control your diet as well as exercise regularly. Focus on being physically fit / strong.
Who are your goals for?
Your goals should be your own decision and for your own improvement. They should not be based on what others expect from you, but what you expect from yourself. They should align with who you want to be, and with your life purpose.
Reward or penalty?
A good idea is to reward yourself whenever you achieve a goal. Why not? Isn’t it worth celebrating? I think it is even better than celebrating New Year! So set a reward for yourself like a 3 day mini vacation when you achieve your goal. But this has to play both ways. Set a penalty if you fail to achieve your goal in a particular timeline. For example, make out an undated check of $250 and give it to your best friend. Tell him to monitor your blog and if you don’t make at least two new posts per month (assuming this is your goal), he should give the check to a charitable organization of his choice without asking you.
Conclusion: We tend to bite more than we can chew. We want to go from doing nothing to doing everything. We’re only interested in the results, we don’t think of the journey. We worry too much of what others think and say. Don’t fall in this mindset. Instead, create a vision board and stick pictures on it, about what you want your life to be like, and look at it daily . Write down your successes and failures in a journal and look for patterns. Be analytical. Write down your goals and read them every day. Have more discipline in your routine.
I have already prepared my goals for 2019 well in advance. One of my goals is to publish 3 books by the end of 2019. The first one is just a few days away (which is the reason why I haven’t been updating this blog regularly off late, I was busy writing). This book is titled “Legitimate Work From Home Opportunities” and will be published as a kindle ebook on Amazon. (Let me know if you want to preview it). It has over 400 verified resources to help you earn money online, from the comfort of your home.
I have many other plans for 2019, so be sure to subscribe to my mailing list, I’ll keep you posted! And, by the way, do share this post on social media or with your friends who you care for, they will appreciate it (and so will I)!