Today is January 14th, 2016…It has officially been 2 weeks since people started their new year’s resolutions for 2016.
I recently came across some interesting stats on new year’s resolutions: about 45% of people usually make new year’s resolutions; out of this 45% only around 8% are ever successful at achieving their new year’s goals and 24% of those people report that they NEVER achieve their new year’s resolutions despite making them each year.
Also of note, the people who make clearly defined and SMART new years goals are 10 times more likely to succeed then the people who make ambiguous or uncertain goals.
The stats also go on to tell us that over ¼ of the people who made new year’s resolutions for 2016 have already given up- hopefully you aren’t one of them!
Then after 1 month, ⅓ of people who made resolutions will have given up… and past six months, less than ½ of the people of the people who started 2016 with resolutions will still continue on towards their goals
So if you made a resolution or resolutions for this year, then you need to seriously ask yourself if you are going to be in the half that succeeds, or the half that fails. Are you really ready to beat the odds and be one of 8% that actually achieves the goal?
New year’s resolutions are like any other goal: they require a continual commitment to actually succeed. It isn’t enough to write down your goals and stick the paper in some drawer long ago forgotten by everyone, you have to remember your goals, what they mean to you, and you have to be willing to accept absolute responsibility to make them into a reality.
The terrible truth about New Year’s resolutions is that most people will fail, but there are some steps that you can take to make your chances of success higher (10Xs more likely to be precise)
If you have already made progress on your goals, or even if you have already given up, it is never too late to e-examine and improve your new year’s goals; now is the time to ensure that you are poised for success in 2016, so just humor me…read through this simple checklist and see if your goals are as air-tight as they could be- who knows, you might learn something!
1. Make SMART resolutions
The first thing you should do is ensure that your new year’s resolutions are smart. If you want more info on SMART goals you can click the link above, but a short summary of SMART goals is as follows: SMART goals are- specific (tell exactly WHAT you want to accomplish), measurable (tell how much, or can be clearly marked as completed or not), action based (tell what actions will ensure your success), realistic (can actually be accomplished), and time based (tell exactly how long it will take to achieve your goal or gives a date of completion)
Examples of New Year’s resolutions that are NOT SMART:
Be a better husband
Start going back to school for my degree
Get a new car
Examples of SMART New Year’s resolutions:
Lose at least 50 lbs by the end of 2016 by losing 5 lbs each month through watching what I eat, going to the gym at least 2 days per week, and walking or jogging at least 4 days per week.
The above goal is SMART because it is very specific and gives clear dates of completion. It is action based and includes the monthly and weekly steps that need to be taken, which makes the goal appear very realistic and obtainable. This is a great goal because not only does it tell exactly what you want to accomplish, but it also has the steps to its accomplishment built right into it.
Learn how to be a better husband and take active steps to do it by reading at least 1 marriage and relationship help book each month (and applying the things I learn) and by attending counseling sessions every two weeks. Then follow up with my wife every 3 months in a meeting on the 1st of the month to check on progress.
The above goal is tricky to measure because being a better husband is very subjective and requires someone else to grade your progress: this goal can be difficult because of these issues, but by focusing on actions and steps to achieve success the goal becomes much stronger. This goal is difficult to create a set deadline of completion, but the writer creates a system of measurement through quarterly meetings with his wife to check his progress with the person who matters most.
Have at least 10 credit hours completed by the end of 2016 towards my bachelors degree by enrolling in 4 credit hours each semester, and by taking 1 summer class.
This goal is SMART because it tells exactly what you need to do (actions- taking 4 credit hours each semester and summer), it is measurable (complete 10 credit hours), it is realistic (maybe this person works 40 hours a week so taking 15 credit hours per semester is impossible), and it gives a specific time frame (by the end of 2016).
Get a new car by June 1st of 2016 by saving at least 75$ each week for a down payment and by paying an extra 150$ each month to pay down my credit card balances so I can qualify for financing.
This goal is also a SMART goal. The writer provides a date of completion, actions to take each week and month, reasons why they are doing each action, and they make it more realistic through listing the steps to attainment of their goal.
So take a look at your new year’s resolutions and see if there are any ways that you can improve your own goals and make them a little stronger or a little more SMART. When you are done compare your resolutions to the goals above and see if they match up.
2. Break down your bigger resolutions into smaller increments
There is an old riddle that goes a little something like this: How do you eat an elephant? and the answer is one bite at a time.
It might seem silly, simple, and maybe a little bit condescending, but the same truth applies to your goals.
I think it’s fair to assume that anyone who has EVER accomplished anything great throughout history probably applied this into their own goal setting practices.
A lesson from Wilbur and Orville Wright
Wilbur and Orville Wright might have set out to create a flying machine, but I doubt that their first goal was to create a boeing 747. By incrementally accomplishing smaller goals over a prolonged period of time we can do things that might seem impossible now.
Imagine the Wright brothers quest to create a flying machine, Thewrightbrothers.org tells us that the first step was creating a kite-like scale model of their design (The first design was completed in 1899). Next they created several experimental gliders, and eventually created a successful glider that became the world’s first controllable aircraft.
They may have now successfully built a glider, but they were a long way from having a controllable motorized aircraft.
The next step was creating an engine light enough to fly, but powerful enough to produce enough power to fly. Eventually they teamed up with the right designer that created the engine and propeller system that they needed.
Finally at the end of 1903 the first successfully controlled and maintained flight from a flying machine took place.
It took 4 years of intense work to make their dream of a flying machine come true, it certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Break down your huge goals into steps, baby steps, and daily actions- and then focus on what you need today to someday achieve your dreams.
3. Remind yourself frequently of your goals
Your goals aren’t meant to waste away in a filing cabinet, they are meant to serve as a real and physical representation of everything that you want to accomplish in life.
When you create goals, make sure to remind yourself frequently of what you are fighting for and why you are working so hard. By remembering your goals (especially in times of trouble or adversity) you can often draw pulses of inspiration and motivation into your life.
When the grind wears you down into nothing but a broken stub, remember why you are making your sacrifices and head back to work.
A photo posted by @makeyourbestself on
A photo posted by @makeyourbestself on
4. Keep yourself motivated
Reminding yourself of your goals is just one way to maintain your motivation. I cover multiple ways to maintain motivation in depth in my 3 part video course on motivation, you can get your copy for free here.
Motivation comes from incentives, from good experiences, from desires, wants, needs, ideas, from stories, other people, and pretty much anything you could think of.
Relating to other people’s stories who overcame adversity may speak to you, maybe movies or books pump you up, maybe having someone tell you to get off of your lazy ass and get to work pumps you up and motivates you…
Motivation, no matter how you get it, is very important to help keep you on track to accomplishing your new year’s resolutions and any other goal that you could imagine.
If you truly want to make this year’s resolutions different, then try committing yourself to a cause: something beyond yourself.
Lose weight for your spouse or kids, start a business so you can help others just like you, work harder because your boss is a great guy and deserves hard work.
Motivation can come from anywhere, but your WHY is often one of the strongest sources of inspiration.
What does greatness mean to you? Is it a key to a new home, graduating college as the first in your family, being the best in the world, or raising a great family? Whatever it is that greatness looks like to you, you have to start building it stone by stone. The pyramids werent made in a day, and you wont get everything you always wanted in an instant. It starts today, make your greatness come to life, Make your best self. #positivevibes #bethechange #goals #inspiration #motivation #quotes #quote #quoteoftheday #success #love #insta #happy #happyday #instagood #instalove #nice #motivationmonday #MondayMotivation #success #makeyourbestself #passion #desire #faith
5. Evaluate your work, your progress, and your goals
Last, but certainly not least is to evaluate your progress and your goals.
One of the biggest problems with goals (aside from not being smart, or not being re-examined) is that they are often not evaluated.
Make it a point to check your progress at the end of each month and see how you did. Grade yourself on EFFORT not on results. For example: if your goal was to lose 15 lbs and you only lost 10 but you worked your ass off, then don’t berate yourself for missing the mark, but congratulate yourself on the effort. However, even if you meet your goals, but your effort is low, then you should readjust your strategy.
Take a look at your goals frequently, ask yourself if anything needs to change, how you could do things better, and ask yourself if these goals are what you actually want.
Ensure your goals stay alive and updated by evaluating them on at least a monthly basis.