Resolutions are as much a part of New Year’s celebrations as champagne and countdowns. Once the celebrations are over and the New Year begins, do you have what it takes to achieve the goal you set? Whether your resolution is to lose weight, make more money or something else, here are seven tips to help you succeed.
1. Less is More – focus on setting no more than one main goal and two or three sub-goals at a time. For instance, if your main goal is to lose weight, focus on that plus a couple related sub-goals such as exercise more and eat better. If you set too many different resolutions at once, you will have trouble focusing on any one of them and your chances for success will be less.
2. Write it down – How many times have you heard this, and yet it consistently is found to be a key factor to achieving a goal. So pull out some paper and a pen and document your resolution. While you are at it, use this opportunity to make your resolution more specific. Detail exactly what you want and when. If you want to lose weight – write down how much and by what date. Specific details give you a target to aim at.
3. State Your “Why” – Before you put your paper and pen away, write down why you want to achieve your resolution. Make your “why” statement as personal and emotional as possible. The stronger that the “why” statement is, the better chance you will have of achieving your goal.
4. Plan Ahead for the Challenges – Take the time to define the mental conflicts you will encounter that could derail your plans to achieve your resolution. Identify those things you will need to do to get the job done, as well as those things you will need not-to-do. Write these down so you can refer back to them whenever you feel challenged. You may want to also plan if-then responses to your identified challenges. For example: If I am tempted to eat a donut at the staff meeting, then I will have a healthy power bar on hand to eat instead.
5. Set Milestones – Chunk your big goal down into smaller goals so that you can track your achievements and adjust mid-stream if necessary. Focus on what you need to do this month, this week, this day, and maybe even this hour. Make sure each sub-goal is also specific. A big part of setting effective milestones is to identify what your quantifiable results will look like. Know the dollar amount you want to book this month, new prospects you need to talk to this week or pages you have to write in your book today.
6. Build Habits That Support Your Goal – Define how your current lifestyle needs to change in order to achieve the resolution you have set. Remember that new habits take a long time to build, but much less time to modify. Find ways to improve your existing habits to support your goals. For example, if you take a break every afternoon with a candy bar and soda, consider walking around the block for your break instead. Discipline yourself to stay on track until your modified habit becomes a ritual.
7. Rate Your Progress – Periodically rate how you feel you are doing toward achieving your resolution. If you have identified quantifiable milestones, record your results and track your progress. Celebrate the good, recognize the bad, and let it go. Identify what you may need to step up or change to get a better rating next time. Finally, confirm and affirm that you still have a strong desire to achieve your goal. If not, decide if it needs to be modified or changed completely. Use your findings to plan your next day, week or month.
Ultimately, be patient with yourself and your progress. No big resolution is achieved overnight. Push through and be persistent, and you will meet that goal.