Updated: Jan 3
As we enter 2023, many of us are creating New Year Resolution plans that we may never achieve. Creating goals for yourself personally and professionally can be daunting. We often plan with optimism, with good intention; however, when we fail to factor in the failures we will encounter along the journey, we are more likely to fail at meeting our goals. Studies show that of the 20% of the population that dare set goals, 70% fail to achieve those goals they set for themselves.
I struggled with my personal goal of weight loss for many years. When I applied seven steps, I was able to lose 70 pounds, and most importantly, retain my progress.
How can you increase your chances of achieving your goals?
1. Deal with the “Past You”
You may have stuck points that prevent you from moving past the “past you.” Stuck points are thoughts that prevent you from recovering from a situation that occurred in the past, and they are quite common.
For example, one of the stuck points I experienced with weight loss was, “if I’m a full-time mother with a career, then I won’t have time to exercise to lose weight.” To address that stuck point, I had to challenge those thoughts with the truth – the truth in my situation is that I have time; yet, I needed to prioritize my time and incorporate the habits I wanted to adapt, into my lifestyle to create a new way of living.
Dealing with the “past you” involves a deep dive into the things that have been holding you back. Challenge your thoughts to challenge your limit.
2. Make your Goals SMART
According to A.C., people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them yet 20% more likely to achieve success. Furthermore, 35% of all people fail to accomplish their goals set during the start of the year due to unrealistic goals. Specifically, 77% of people stick with their New Year Resolution for a week, which drops to 64% of people who stick to their plans at two weeks following January 1.
Goal setting starts with a SMART approach - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using this approach will ensure your goals are clear, quantifiable, incremental, realistic, influential, and adjustable. Using this approach helps you to visualize what success looks like.
3. Maintain your Goals Daily
Setting goals should start with writing them down, but it shouldn’t end there. Daily maintenance helps you to break down bigger goals into smaller pieces that are easy to digest. Keep track of your progress by checking in with yourself as much as required to ensure you hold yourself accountable. This may require a daily check in to maintain daily progress.
4. Check your Expectations
Expectations can let us down when we include an unreliable factor, such as a human being, an unstable foundation, or a volatile stock market. We eliminate unrealistic outcomes by factoring in SMART goals.
As we maintain our goals daily, we need to take inventory of our personal attachment to the goal. Checking yourself involves self-observation of how we think, how we feel, and what we say in relation to the goal. Our thoughts can be optimistic when we see progress or pessimistic when we experience failure. Our feelings can follow suit of our thoughts. Ultimately, what we say is connected to our thoughts and feelings toward the goal. If we are having positive thoughts and feelings, our words reflect those positive factors; yet, if we are having negative thoughts and feelings, our words can be a significant hinderance for our growth and progress. Check your expectations by checking your thoughts, feelings, and words.
5. Remind yourself of the Goal
Goals may seem grand, but the constant pursuit is a driving force behind your passion. Along the journey, as you experience the rollercoaster of results, both toward your goal or a regression of progress, you will need to remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish. Those reminders may need to come to you every five seconds when you’re in a meeting with your boss or if you’re keeping up your pace in a work-out. You may need to remind yourself every day to maintain self-control. You may need to remind yourself every month to ensure payments are delivered on time to increase your credit. However often you need the reminder, be sure to keep your eyes and expectations set on why you’re on this journey.
6. Celebrate Small Victories
While you want to remind yourself of the overall goal, it’s important to also celebrate the smaller victories. The bigger the dream, the more realistic you will need to become to ensure you manage your expectations appropriately. According to Amabile and Kramer (2011), the power of progress is fundamental to human nature as it can make a difference in how people feel and perform. Incremental progress and small, yet consistent, wins can accumulate into excellent execution. Celebrate yourself when you accomplish little and accomplish big.
7. Enjoy the Journey
Every experience is a contribution to your life’s journey. Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Don’t forget that as you experience the journey to your goal, you are also experiencing your life. In the moments life hands to you, take inventory of your five senses – What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you smell? What do you taste? Experience your life, develop an appreciation for the present life, and watch how it changes your perspective in the future.
A.C. (n.d.). 22 Goal Setting Statistics You Should Know (Facts and Studies). HQ Hire. Retrieved from: https://hqhire.com/goal-setting-statistics/
Amabile, T.M., & Kramer, S. J. (May 2011). The Power of Small Wins. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins