Tips to Achieve Your Goals: In the New Year and Beyond
The new year brings the promise of new beginnings; we make resolutions to achieve goals, tackle projects, develop plans, make improvements. And yet, the enthusiasm we may anticipate and feel at the start, is often quick to wane as January progresses.
Research about the who, what and why around new year resolutions achievement and failure, was conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman, who tracked 3000 people wanting to realize success with their new year resolutions.
When the study began, a bit more than 50% of the participants expressed confidence in achieving their goals – at the end of the year, only 12% had succeeded.
The study revealed quite a bit of information about why some failed and others succeeded. And, there were significant differences between what worked in motivating men vs. women.
It was found that women had a 10% higher likelihood in realizing success in achieving their goals when they had social support and encouragement – by telling friends and family about their goals they were able to solicit a community of positive interest to cheer them along, particularly when they experienced a setback.
Men were 22% more likely to find success through the setting of specific goals and/or focusing on the reward achieved in the realization of the goal.
Based on his findings, Dr. Wiseman offer tips for achieving success with New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Select and Commit to Just One Resolution at a Time.
The promise of the New Year can activate the desire to make a slew of changes in our life and work. The odds for success are heightened when we choose to focus our efforts and our energy on one change at a time.
2. Do Some Planning.
Selecting a change that is truly important and meaningful to us, is much more likely to be identified through some reflection and planning vs a spontaneous or time pressured choice. Taking some time to set up the right conditions to support a change will help provide a framework for success.
3. Do something different.
Some of us may select the same resolution, year after year, only to repeat a cycle of good intentions that dissolve into failure to succeed. Wiseman suggests choosing “something new, or approach an old problem in a new way.”
4. Be clear.
Set specific steps and activities that will support achieving your resolution. Schedule appointments with yourself, outline a strategy, make lists and check them off as you tackle each item; create a plan to go where you need to go and do what you need to do to move yourself forward.
5. Be Unique; Be Yourself.
Set goals that are meaningful to you vs what others are doing or expect from you. Wiseman suggests, “…think about what you really want out of life, so think about finishing that novel or learning to play an instrument, rather than just losing weight and getting to the gym.”
6. Be Persistant.
Making a change, creating something new, breaking a habit or beginning a new one, takes time and persistance. All of us can slip into old patterns, give in to temptation, or slack on our plans. The key is to keep going, pick up where you left off and believe in your potential and capacity for positive change.
More on how to inspire motivation for change coming soon, in Part 2.