It’s that time of year when people start thinking about the changes they want to make for their fresh start in 2017.
Yet only 8% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution actually achieve their goal.
Somewhere in the free donuts at the breakfast meetings and the temptation of Netflix in bed versus cycle class, we get lost in complacency and lose track of our aspirations.
In an effort to help you make 2017 a better year, here are 3 ways to stay on track.
1) Dig Deep
Goals are wishes with a plan, so dream big, but stay rooted. When deciding what changes you want to make for the upcoming year, make sure that what you wish for is what you want.
“Give yourself permission and time to think about what it is you want to experience in your life or what’s getting in the way,” says Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist at Stanford University.
Often when goals are defined by fads or temporary trends, they lose their meaning and never take off.
A superficial goal will lead to superficial results. Define your goal after much consideration to how you want your life to improve as a whole and how this change will help you achieve that.
Sometimes you need to imagine a fresh page which is why the beginning of a year is a time to hit the “reset” button. Revisit past goals and realize what went wrong, how you can avoid previous pitfalls, and how you can achieve this goal a second time around.
2) Talk is Cheap
No one wants to be that person that starts off with big hopes and ends with zero changes. Write down your goal and be respectful of what you are capable of. Once you have taken the time to think of a goal that means something to you, word it appropriately.
“How you describe your goal makes a big difference.” says McGonigal. Always remember an action will lead to an equal and opposite reaction, so make your goal a positive investment that will lead you in a positive direction.
Saying ‘I hate my job’ will not help you improve your situation, but deciding ‘I want to grow in my career’ will thrust you forward.
After some self-examination, write down your goal and make a game plan that will thrust you forward.
S.M.A.R.T., is an acronym to help you organize your goal
Specific - Be specific in what you want to achieve. Remember to word your goal positively and keep in mind past experiences.
Measurable - What is your definition of success? Do you have a monetarily yearly salary you aim for? Is it the number of deals you close? Is it measured by inches around your waist? Or by how many hands you shake in a day? Find a way to measure your goal.
Achievable - Make sure that the goal you’ve decided on is actually possible. I would love to have the moon in my backyard, but gravity might say otherwise. Goals need to be realistic in order to be achieved.
Relevant - Similarly, a goal that is not rooted in something real may not be important to you and therefore, be left behind 6 weeks into the new year. Goals need to be relevant to your life today and continue in the future.
Time-bound - Every work assignment has a deadline and your goal does too. Break up your goal into digestible chunks and assign a date in which it will be completed by. If your goal is to go back to school, keep in mind application dates, FAFSA deadlines, etc.
3) Stop and Smell the Roses
Lastly, never forget that this is a process and one you should enjoy along the way. Over time, adjustments might need to be made because life happens, but always remember to “appreciate and embrace the struggles.”
All the small steps along the way are what get to your end goal.
In writing, because you can easily delete a line on Word, we forget that the end result is a mix of errors and pieces cut and pasted throughout. Every piece of writing began as a blank page with an idea that led to an introduction minus some bad ideas and ended in a masterpiece. Your goals are the same.
First, you have a wish, you write it down and turns into a goal, you create steps, you adjust to life, and along the way you appreciate how you’ve grown and how far you’ve come and then you arrive at your destination.
The process is key and because it is long, people often get lost. This is the most important key of a obtaining a goal - remembering to appreciate the long, arduous process.
As 2016 comes to a close, challenge yourself to get further than last year on your goals. Reenvision yourself for 2017, 2018, 2050 and get working on creating a better you.