Happy New Year to you! Have you set any New Year’s resolutions to achieve more with your life in 2014? Are you looking to kick-start the “new you” this year? If so, you are not alone.
Millions of us all around the world use the start of a new year to overhaul our life. Maybe you want to lose some weight, get fitter or spend more quality time with your family? Perhaps you want to finally quit your job to start that lifestyle business you’ve been dreaming about?
But even though a staggering number of us vow to make big changes each new year, only 8% of us ever achieve our New Year’s resolutions. In fact, despite the best of intentions most of us give up on our goals by 10 January. That’s just nine days after they were made!
Why is this?
Well, the reasons are many and varied, ranging from fear, lack of a plan to having unrealistic aspirations.
Some studies even relate it to how our brain works.
Although everyone is different, I believe that there are a few key reasons why some people succeed at setting and achieving their goals while others fall by the wayside come February.
I’m sharing a great infographic by Daily Infographic below to celebrate the New Year and your resolutions. It provides some interesting stats on the goals we set and the reasons why most of us don’t follow through.
But before I leave you alone with the infographic I want to give you a summary of the key points along with some insights of my own to help you make 2014 the year that finally ushers in the new you.
New Year, New You
#1. Write It Down
I’m a big believer in writing down your goals.
When I look back over my life, I can see that all the goals I achieved – the new job, the loving relationship, the beautiful home, the thriving business – they were always those that I wrote down.
Of course you still have to take action. But as Michael Hyatt says, writing down your goals is a necessary first step.
Committing your goals to writing helps you gain clarity about what you want to achieve, keeps you motivated and helps you stay on track when other opportunities or distractions come knocking.
I think this is the number 1 reason why so many people never achieve their dreams and end up drifting aimlessly though life. They have nothing concrete to aim for.
Don’t let this happen to you.
#2. Be Specific
Many people fail at goal-setting because they try to change too much, too soon. While it’s good to have ambition, don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin.
If you want to lose weight, then rather than setting a general goal to simply “lose weight”, be clear on how much weight you want to release e.g. 20 pounds, 9 kg or for those in the UK, 1 stone and 6 pounds.
Having a specific number or figure in mind makes your goal easier to envisage, more measurable and therefore more achievable.
#3. Set A Time Frame
In the above example, if weight loss is your goal then setting a target of losing 20 pounds has little meaning unless you define a time frame.
Do you want to shift those extra pounds in 1 month, 3 months or 1 year?
The time-frame you allow yourself will determine how much work you need to put in.
But you also need to be realistic.
Even though you may want to lose 20 pounds in a week, this is very drastic and could put your health at risk. Seek advice from a qualified health professional to work out what is realistic given your current age, condition, lifestyle and other commitments and priorities.
#4. Get Emotional
When you have an emotional connection to your goals, you are more likely to go all out to make them happen and less likely to abandon them a week later.
So where possible tie your New Year’s resolutions to your WHY. These are the things that really matter to you in your life like spending quality time with your family, giving yourself a shot at freedom or feeling happier and more confident about yourself.
In the case of weight loss, is it because you want more energy when you are playing with your children or so you can look your best for that important event? Perhaps your 40th birthday is coming up and you’ve decided that now is the time to develop an exit strategy from your job?
Do you see the difference?
Whatever it is, make sure you understand the impact achieving that goal will have on your life and why you want to change things. Vision boards can be a great way to activate your emotions because they take away logic and commonsense and help you tap into your deeper desires.
#5. Establish A Plan
The resolutions or goals you set for the New Year are only the first part of the equation. Once you know what you want, you need to come up with a plan to make it happen.
Better still, you need to think in terms of tight deadlines. In other words, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days.
I’ll explain how this works with the weight loss example.
Let’s say I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 90 days.
Starting from the end point of 20 pounds, I work backwards and establish smaller more measurable milestones over a 90-day period.
This means that my new target is to now lose 6.6 pounds every 30 days or 1.6 pounds every week. Instead of trying to lose 20 pounds at once, all I have to focus on is doing the small, daily actions that can help me achieve my daily, weekly and monthly goals.
Can you see how much more achievable this is than creating a random list of New Year’s resolutions?
It could be that rather than overhauling my whole life, all I need to do is eat fresh fruit for breakfast in place of bacon and eggs every day, or cut out soft drinks (soda) and bread from my diet, or exercise 2-3 times a week.
You get the idea.
This simple strategy is very effective because it brings your goals sharply into view and helps overcome resistance because you know exactly what you need to do on a given day.
I plug all of my goals into a free 90-day planner like this one because it synchs with my Google calendar and shows each task against the dates. I then work steadily through my daily tasks.
Try it for yourself!
Goals give meaning to our lives and there’s certainly no better time to set them than at New Year.
Just remember that a complete overhaul of your lifestyle is not realistic and almost impossible to sustain in the long term.
Instead, set specific goals with tighter time-frames and smaller actionable steps to keep you moving forward. Put your goals in writing to stay on track and monitor your progress as you go along.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your daily targets. Trying and failing is part of the journey. Just move those action steps to the next day in your planner and keep going. Before you know it you will have achieved a whole lot more than you thought possible.
Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? What goals have you set for yourself this New Year? Please comment and share below.