It’s that time of year where we look in the mirror, take stock of our lives, and compare it to where we want to be.
This soul-searching leads many of us to participate in that grand tradition of the New Year’s Resolution. The strange thing is, most resolutions don’t result in success. In fact, about 80% of them fail before springtime.
If you make a resolution, chances are you want to succeed. And there are a few tips that can set you on the right path. Take your goals seriously, follow the tips below, and by the time next New Year’s rolls around, you’ll be a changed man.
1. Short Term Goals
A New Year’s Resolution should not begin a decade’s long journey. It shouldn’t even really take all year. Why? Because a year is a long, long time.
Short term goals create some pressure. They give you a realistic timeframe to work in, and because the deadline is in sight, you can’t push it off.
A short term goal can take months, but it’s important to have some kind of date set. With that, your goal begins to take shape as a real achievement that you need to work toward. So rather than saying, “I want to learn about passive income,” say, “I will read three books on passive income by February.”
2. Make it Clear and Measurable
“I’m going to make more money,” isn’t a goal. “I’m going to lose weight,” isn’t a goal. Those are desires — vague, unhelpful desires. The problem is, how do you know when you’ve achieved your goal? If you make your goal measurable, you’ll know exactly when you’ve accomplished it.
- I’m going to make $500 more this month
- I’m going to lose 10 pounds by March
See how we mixed a short term time window with a measurable outcome? Now, you’ll have the goal clear in your mind, and once you do it, you’ll be able to celebrate the new you.
3. Stick to One (or Three) Goals
If you make too many enormous demands on yourself to start out the year, it’s likely you won’t accomplish any of them. Why? Because one can be difficult enough, and if you have to give up on a less important goal to accomplish another, you’ll have broken a promise with yourself.
Once you let go of one goal, the others don’t feel so permanent. They don’t seem that important, because you’ve already tossed one to the side.
So you need to focus your energy and attention on a single goal. And hey, once you’re done with that, you can always make a June Resolution.
If you really do need to set more than one goal (or maybe you’re Superman and can handle it), try setting goals in odd numbers. This is an old psychological trick, but it works.
4. Make it Part of Your Schedule
Repeat after me: routine builds success. If you are trying to read more this year, don’t binge read on your day off. Instead, read a little bit everyday. Once you get in the habit, your life will feed you cues to start reading. “Well, dinner is done, now is the time that I read 10-20 pages.”
Having a positive habit is powerful stuff. It trains your brain to get into the right mode when it's time to accomplish your goal. And what’s more, you have a much more reliable chance at success and aren’t as setback if you miss a day or two.
Because let’s face it, if you put off your goals for weekend marathons, you’ll find it much easier to skip it when you’re too tired or too busy. Some weekends become crowded with other duties, and sometimes you’re so drained from work that you don’t have any energy.
But if you miss one of your big weekends, now you’re facing a major set back. If, instead, you do a little bit everyday, you can skip it once in a while when things come up (and things always come up!).
5. Make it Meaningful
The tips above can help push you over the finish line, but nothing makes up for really wanting to succeed.
When writing down your resolution, include the reasons why you want to do it in the first place. Maybe you want to lose weight so you can play with your kids. Maybe you want to workout to look great naked. Maybe you want to read more so that you can rekindle a love for books that used to be important to you or take mini adventures to reconnect with nature.
Whatever the reason, make sure to write it down so that you can look back at it and reconnect with your purpose. As January goes on to February, as Winter turns to Spring, our willpower fades. But if you can reconnect to why you wanted something so bad in the first place, you can fan the flames and get back in the saddle.
No matter your resolution, we hope you succeed. And if you follow the above tips, you’ll have a good chance at it. Here’s to a better you!