A new year is upon us, and that means a new opportunity to embrace change. This year you may aspire to become a better person, take your business to the next level, and finally live the life you deserve. You’ve made a list of resolutions and you’re ready and motivated to begin.
According to research by the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8% of them are successful at keeping their resolutions. That’s because, simply put, change is difficult. We resist change because we’re comfortable with the current way of doing things; it’s easier. Change is hard. There is a subconscious preference for things that have been around longer, including old habits. If you want to make real change that lasts, you need more than good intentions. You need a plan.
Choose What to Change
The University of Scranton study found that the most common New Year’s resolutions in 2015 were losing weight, getting organized, and saving money. While those sound amazing, they are all very difficult. Adding to the complication is that many people make more than one resolution, because they want to improve multiple areas of their life.
While it’s important to see the need to change, you must focus. Instead of choosing three things to change this year, focus on one. Remember, it’s about actually implementing the change and not being derailed by your good intentions.
Review Last Year’s Resolutions and Results
Many people prefer not to look back at last year’s resolutions because they are embarrassed about having failed. However, understanding what happened the last time you made resolutions is essential to succeeding this time. What is different about this year? What difficulties did you have last year that you can plan for and avoid this time? After you’ve reviewed the data, you may see that you stumble over the same issues over and over again.
While sometimes the stumbling blocks are personal issues, like family conflict or work stress, they may also be the result of not setting goals correctly or trying to do too much at once. Consider focusing on an easy change so that you can gain momentum.
Identify Weaknesses and Plan to Overcome Roadblocks
There are many individual issues that can cause someone to fall short of their goals; there are also many challenges that are common to everyone. You may find that what you thought was a personal weakness is actually a common roadblock!
Some of the reasons that people struggle to meet their goals include:
- Being unrealistic. It’s common to want to change a lot at one time. It’s also common to want to change significantly, even in just one area. Unfortunately, both set you up for failure. Instead, plan to overcome this challenge by setting small, incremental goals in a single area.
- Ignoring the process. Some people are so focused on the outcome of their goal that they aren’t able to stick through the ups and downs of the process. If you plan to run a marathon, you may get so focused on 26.2 miles that you struggle sticking with your jogging in the first few weeks because your body isn’t ready for the effort that you require of it. Instead, break down your big goal into small steps that you can focus on one at a time.
- Stress. Being stressed has a tendency to push people into old, well-worn behaviors, including bad habits they hope to overcome. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stress in daily life, including work, family, and personal struggles. To overcome this, create a plan to keep new habits going even in stressful times. Write out tactics that you can implement when stress overwhelms you so that you can refer to this list when you need it.
Create a Plan That Incorporates Your Strengths
Overcoming your weaknesses is vital, but don’t forget that you have strengths as well. When you create a plan to achieve your goals, be sure that you incorporate your existing strengths. Here are some ideas for a plan that incorporates strengths:
- Tiny Habits. Often, repetition is the key to creating a new behavior, and keeping momentum can be more important than the actual action. Consider creating tiny habits that you can perform even on bad days, so that your momentum keeps going.
- Vision. Your personal vision and goals are the most powerful motivation you have access to. Be sure that you develop your personal vision so that you can use it to create positive change in your life.
- Passion. Choose goals that align with your natural strengths in areas like career, fitness, and relationships. Do you love swimming, but hate running? Focus your fitness goals on swimming. Similarly, your passion in your work can help you set goals for development and progress that make the most sense for you.
- SMART Goals. You are more likely to achieve goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. After you create your goals, remember to track your progress. You may even want to create a dashboard.
Get Support for Your Goals
One of the biggest obstacles people struggle with is that they try to accomplish goals alone. Accountability is an essential part of being successful with goal setting.
Having support as you pursue your goals has several benefits. You have someone who can give you an impartial view of whether your goals are realistic, SMART, and achievable. You also have someone who believes in you and pushes you when you’re about to give up. Finally, someone who supports you can remind you of how your goals fit your overall vision, making you much more likely to succeed.
You must find the right person to support you.
If you’re ready to stop settling and do the work to get the results you desire, you’ll need the right coach to support you on your journey. Contact me and we’ll get started today!