As the New Year approaches, I wanted to talk about New Year’s resolutions. Many people have a tendency to set up new goals at this particular time, thinking of January 1st as our “reborn day”. 🙂
I personally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions anymore. I think we should have monthly, weekly, and even daily resolutions at all times of the year. But I used to be one of the people who said: “Starting January 1st I will:
Start eating healthy
Go for daily walks with my family
Create a perfect work/life balance
Stop stressing out at all times, etc….
And I got very excited as I set these goals, about this amazing transformation that is coming my way in the near future.:) And sometimes I even started working on some of those goals. And shortly after, some obstacles came across and I would put it on hold, or to be completely honest, give up my goal.
Does it sound familiar? Have you ever done this? If you can relate, you will find the information below very useful.
So why does this happen? Why do we give up on our goals?
One of the main reasons why we give up is because we are setting annual goals. There are several issues with this. First of all, we don’t know what the future will bring, and 2020 was a good example of that. And secondly, we get overwhelmed when we have a big goal ahead of us, without breaking it up into smaller manageable goals/steps.
Don’t get me wrong, it is good to set long-term goals, but we have to set short-term goals as well. So if you set an annual goal, you need to break this goal down to quarterly goals, and preferably monthly and weekly goals.
Another reason why we abandon our goals is we are not being specific enough when we set them. When you are writing down, as your New Year’s resolution, to lose weight next year, you are not really setting a goal. This is just wishful thinking. The actual goal must be more specific.
For example, you can say that you want to lose 30lbs next year. Then you break it down into quarterly goals, such as 6lbs -1st quarter, 8lbs in each following quarter. Now your goal is specific enough. But I personally think that a better goal would be to commit to a consistent exercise routine and healthy eating, instead of just committing to lose weight. But we will talk about best practices for goal setting at another time. The bottom line, when you are setting your goal, ask yourself: How will I know when I have achieved my goal?
Another reason why we abandon our goals is that we set outcome goals, which are out of our control oftentimes. For example, your goal might be to get a promotion by March 1st, which is completely out of your hands. But what you can control and concentrate on is learning a specific skill or getting a certification, which is relevant for this promotion. And you can decide that you will take an online course, nights and weekends, to accomplish this. Now this goal is totally under your control. So if you concentrate on the process instead of the outcome, your chances of accomplishing this goal will skyrocket.
The main reason, in my opinion, we are giving up on the goals is because we don’t have the purpose, we don’t know why we want to achieve them. We must have a big enough “why” to succeed. We must have enough compelling reasons to drive us forward to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals. When we run into obstacles, we will not abandon our goals if we have big enough “Why’s”.
To create the purpose, the ‘why’s’ for the goal, you should list several things for yourself:
Everything you will gain from achieving this goal. Why is this important to you?
Everything you will miss out on if you don’t achieve this goal. What will it cost you?
Everybody else who will benefit from you achieving this goal (besides you.) Will someone else’s life be better as well because you will achieve this goal?
And last, but definitely not least, the reason why we don’t accomplish a goal is that we don’t have a road map on how to do it step by step. If you don’t have a plan in place, you will not know how to get where you want to go. When you know What and Why you want to make something happen, it is a good time for deciding ‘How’.
You need to ask yourself the following questions:
What actions do I need to take to make my goal happen?
Prioritize the action steps. In what sequence should I take them?
Then schedule your action steps and follow through.
So if you are one of the people who hasn’t been very successful with your New Year’s resolutions, try a new approach this time. And always remember to celebrate your wins, even if they seem too small at the time.
I am looking forward to hearing about your success stories. 🙂