“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
2015. A clean slate. A chance to assess, evaluate and make changes – to make this year better than the last one. Most of us approach January with at least one resolution towards self-improvement. Sadly, only 8% of folks will stick with their good intentions and make lasting changes in their lives. What is the reason behind this dismal statistic?
The explanations for these phenomena are as varied as the number of books written about the subject of goal setting. There is no one-size-fits-all approach on this topic, but I would like to share the three that have been the most effective with the clients I coach. (Note: to maximize your success, actually write the goals down. Storing them in your head or the computer will not produce the same results.)
Start With a Specific and Concrete Goal: It is easy to establish goals that are too vague: I want to lose weight or I want to be a better parent, are good examples. They sound pretty, but there isn’t enough structure involved to achieve success. I want to lose 10 pounds by May, or I want to read with my children every night are more defined and easier to execute. Get specific and limit the number of total goals to five or less.
Know Your Why: Turn the focus from what your goal is to why you want it. Why do you really want to accomplish this? Make a list. If losing 10 pounds is your goal, get very clear on the reason(s) behind this decision. I want to have more energy to keep up with my children/grandchildren, lower my high blood pressure and be physically fit are reasons behind the goal that will provide motivation and meaning when the going gets tough.
Knowing why you want something will also enable you to come up with other ways to accomplish the objective. Getting better sleep, changing your diet, and exercising are all possibilities to having more energy to keep up with your children. When you are clear on the “why”, what to do and how to do it are clarified and multiplied.
Plan Ahead for Set Backs: There will be setbacks. Preparing for possible roadblocks will conserve your energy and reduce frustration when they eventually surface. List what they might be and apply “if – then” thinking to the potential situations. For example, if you want to reduce your sugar consumption to lose those 10 pounds, you might tell yourself, “If a co-worker brings in donuts, then I will have a cup of hot tea with honey to help resist the temptation. I highly recommend you write these down, as well. Just thinking about them will not provide a strong enough defense when temptations arise.
In closing, keep in mind that initiating change will be challenging. Things become easier the more they are practiced, so stick with it! Incorporate the above suggestions, focus on your progress and enjoy the process. Improving your life should be fun. Happy New Year!
Be you. No apologies.