Back New Year’s Resolutions with Goals
According to a recent University of Scranton study, 45% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% keep them. Why? There are a number of reasons but if you get to the heart of the issue, people usually fail because, ultimately, they’re just not taking them seriously. A resolution, which is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something,” demands self-discipline and dedication. To succeed with your resolutions this year, make that firm decision to commit. Then give your commitment structure by writing down your resolutions, creating goals around them, and building an action plan that enables greater direction and accountability.
Here are three ways to increase the odds that you’ll stick to your resolutions in 2015:
Focus on what’s Vital. We all have a number of areas in life and at work that could use a little change or help. But when it comes to choosing New Year’s resolutions, you’ll be more effective if you keep the list short, picking just a few to address—your Vital Few. For example, make one resolution to improve some significant aspect of your health, a second resolution tied to a key work/career challenge, and a third relating to something important regarding family/friends. You’ll end up with three Vital Few resolutions. Focusing on just this smaller, yet very important list will feel more manageable from the get-go.
Set measurable goals, track progress. At MAP, we always coach our clients around the need for a system of accountability that’s tied to whatever goals they want to achieve. The same thinking goes for achieving goals tied to your New Year’s resolutions, and it starts with clearly defining the goal, making it specific, measurable, and trackable, such as on a month-by-month basis. Build a plan around the goal, setting up activities that support it. Establish regular check-ins for throughout the year so you’re enabling consistent feedback, transparency and personal accountability. For example, if you’ve decided to delegate more to staff this year, some of those monthly activities might involve building your plan of action, putting the plan in place, providing training and support to staff, creating an incentive program for success, getting bi-weekly feedback on the process, etc.
Manage expected challenges. Resolutions are about change. And change is rarely easy or without some form of roadblock or resistance. So expect that it will happen. Then, realize that the difference between success and failure is how well you handle it all, particularly the “failure.” If you didn’t hit a particular goal for the month that was tied to one of your Vital Few New Year’s resolutions, try not to obsess or stress over it. Instead, get out of your own way by taking stock in what happened, then develop corrective action and get busy implementing it! Like me, you might be surprised to find how the sheer act of thinking about a potential corrective action can inspire and empower you to try harder and, this time, make it happen for real.
What else can support New Year’s resolution success?