As the year draws to a close (where on earth did 2017 go?) many people start thinking about what their New Year resolutions. STOP! We urge you not to make resolutions this year. Why? Because research shows time and time again the vast majority of New Year resolutions fail. In fact, 80 percent of people have failed their resolutions by February (!) and only around 4 percent of people achieve them by the end of the year.
Resolutions set us up for failure. They tend to be too wide sweeping and do not help you change your behaviour and achieve what you want.
Instead we challenge you to use goal-setting. Successful people set goals. Not only does it give you direction but encourages you to reach beyond your perceived limits. Goal setting opens your mind to bigger possibilities.
But there are some key things you need to do for successful goal setting.
Six Goal Setting Mistakes
- Unrealistic Goals – Make sure that it is realistic, and that you can achieve it in the time frame that you have set for yourself.
- Completion Time – Goals needs to be set with a realistic deadline. Use action planning when developing your goals and always pad your timelines to allow for delays and set-backs.
- Other People – Family, friends and/or business partners may want to influence the goals you set. However, your goals need to be your own – not anybody else’s. If they aren’t yours you will not have the motivation to achieve them.
- Don’t Review – It takes time to accomplish goals. And sometimes it can feel that you aren’t making much progress. Set small milestones, celebrate your successes, and analyse what you need to do to keep moving forward. Goals are never set in stone, so don’t be afraid to amend them if you need to.
- Negative Goals – Make sure your goals are phrased as positive actions. How you state your goal can influence how you feel about it, and ultimately whether you achieve it. An example of a negative goal is to “stop staying late at work.” A positive way to rephrase this is to “spend more time with family.” Negative goals are emotionally unattractive, which makes it hard to focus on them.
- Too Many Goals – Use the “quality, not quantity” rule when setting goals. Work out the relative importance of everything that you want to accomplish over the next six to twelve months. Then pick no more than, say, four goals to focus on.
Go on, go set your goals.
If you’re unsure where to start think about your life in categories:
Work – business, career or upskilling goals
Personal – family, hobbies, pleasure, education or volunteer goals
Financial – debt levels or saving
Health & Fitness – remember be positive!
Take some time out in the new year and really think about what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. Use our goal setting template to set a goal in the four areas of your life.
Our final goal setting tips:
- Goals need to be IMPORTANT TO YOU. They must have VALUE for you to achieve them.
- Be LOUD AND PROUD about YOUR GOALS. Put them in a prominent place as a reminder.
- Goals needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results focussed and Time-bound.
- Schedule GOAL REVIEWS during the year (put it in your calendar now!)
- THINGS CHANGE – if a goal is no longer relevant change it to something that is.
- For success, FOCUS on the STEPS, not the goals.
If you need help to stay on track to achieve your goals think about using a professional coach. A coach is there to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and help you learn new ways of thinking and applying yourself. However, the primary benefit of a coach is accountability. Coaches offer both encouragement and a forced discipline to help you achieve success in the goals you have set.
Good luck! Remember a GOAL is a DREAM with a DEADLINE.