As January winds down we have probably made a whole bunch of “resolutions”, or set goals for the year, but did you know that over 90% of people fail to achieve these goals?
Talk about starting with the bad news right? However, there is good news in that the reasons why people fail to succeed at their decisions are well-documented – which would be the case so there are so many subjects to study… Ninety percent! – and you don’t have to fall into the same traps.
Here are seven strategies that will separate you from the noise of empty promises to yourself:
Saying you’ll only make a decision because it’s a certain date is actually silly, because they power of that decision is in the date, not in its importance to you. When you’re over the hype of “New Year’s” and it’s back-to-work, the decision fades in significance, overshadowed by more presently important tasks. Valentine’s is coming soon you know. 🙂
You must focus more on why a goal is necessary in your life. Ask yourself what your values are, and set personal goals according to those. This will give weight to that goal because it is based on something deeply rooted in you.
Those values become the anchor of your goals and decisions, and whatever hindrances there are, those goals remain intact because your values are still intact.
(Bonus tip: setting goals this way keeps you from doing that that may be contradictory to your values. Your true values always win!)
Comfort zones are the reason we don’t grow! Stepping out of our comfort zones ensures growth!
Big goals force you to make changes if they are going to be achieved. There’s no way to stay where you are when you’ve set a big goal, or high standard for yourself. No way!
So don’t run away from being as bold as possible here. If it’s in line with your major values, then you must do it; If it means some things are going to change, then they must change.
Big goals are also easier to put into steps, funny enough, because you will have to put effort into knowing which steps will take you there. Conversely, more comfortable goals come with the assumption they will be easy to ‘figure out’.
A challenging goal will wake you up and make you ask questions! Not only that, you will have to get great answers.
You have probably heard this a million times: people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.
Personally, I’m bad with this. Heck, writing these posts is probably what keeps me from sending out episodes quicker. I’m more likely to record and edit an episode for 4 hours, than I am to sit and write these posts for 30 minutes. Pretty silly huh?
We just don’t value the act of writing. However it’s one of the best ways to keep something in focus. Writing down your goals takes the ideas out of your cluttered brain, and into a format that is visual and inescapable when seen.
You will forget things because life is full of distractions, and writing out your goals helps your mind remember they are important. Also, having easy access to them visually is a constant reminder of what you need to be doing. This is why vision boards are so popular.
One of the biggest killers to any venture is a lack of detail. If you don’t know what it looks like, how it’s going to happen, how long it could take, what it will cost…etc, you are probably going to throw in the towel very soon.
Clarity is one of my favourite words, and you don’t achieve clarity outside being detailed and specific. It takes real work to get to this point, and if you are serious about your goals, you will put in that work.
As a result of lacking clarity, a lot of goals are made without being fully understood. Simply saying “I want to be healthy” isn’t saying much. Do you know what it means for your diet? Your physical activities? Your schedule? When you get into this level of detail, you’re really getting serious.
If you haven’t thought of all that, you’re in for a lot of surprises. A well-thought out goal eliminates surprise, and leaves only plans and processes.
Are you good at keeping the promises you make to yourself? Have you got a high success-rate of sticking to the plans you make for yourself?
I am being quite specific on purpose, because it may be easy for you to think, “Well, I’m so diligent at work, I complete all my tasks! I do them well.” While that may be true, your job is a controlled environment. No matter how many freedoms you have, there is a contract binding you to a certain level of performance you can’t escape.
The contracts we make with ourselves however, aren’t always as binding, and with the freedom drop a goal without any real consequences is massively appealing… If you have what I call “self-sabotaging tendencies” (though among my friends I call it “self-spiking tendencies”).
Take an honest look at yourself and ask “Am I going to be my own downfall with this goal?” and deal with the answer. You might have procrastination/laziness issues that you absolutely need to deal with if you are going to accomplish challenging goals. Or any habit that could be a problem.. Look at it and work on it!
Or else… 90%!
Know that anything worth achieving always starts small. You don’t start preparing for a marathon by running half the distance on your first day. You work up to it.
Yes a big goal challenges you, but it shouldn’t be unrealistic. Start with one achievable step, then build up from there.
The small beginning, the rough start, or the difficult times, shouldn’t determine whether you should continue or not. For instance, when I started this podcast, I was terrible at coming up with a clear idea of what to do; I struggled with the website; I had very little budget (it does cost money to do this well)… But none of that kept me from doing it. In fact, last week I talked about my laptop being stolen and wanting to quit as a result. I’m still here…
Keep at it, step-by-step. If you can show a good dose of perseverance, you will make very good progress.
(Bonus tip: Comparing yourself will slowly erode your confidence and drive. If you’re going to look at other’s work, then do it to learn from them…not to evaluate your own work. You’re running your own race here)
You’re at the point of doing some serious review of the steps you’ve taken so far (which you should do regularly) and you’ve written maybe 2 chapters out of the 10 you want to write.
First thing I’d say is, you’ve got two chapters that have never existed before! That’s something to be proud of firstly. You may not have the literary prowess of Tolkien, but because you’ve been patient with yourself you know that doesn’t matter.
What about the remaining 8 chapters? That gap becomes a reason to go back to the drawing board and tweak your processes, challenge your habits, put better methods of accountability.
So what have you learned in your years of setting goals? Do you have any tips/ideas that have helped you succeed?
Or maybe you’re in the 90%, what is stopping you from reaching your goals? Are you willing to put some of these strategies (or even others) into practise?
Don’t just think about it… Do it!