Only 8% of resolutions stick, primarily because we tend to set the wrong goals and take the wrong approach to achieving them. Get it right this year with three simple steps for lasting change.
A fresh approach to resolutions
You can upgrade your life forever with the right approach
A new year means New Year’s resolutions. It also means many will fail, some before they even get started. Wading through hundreds of articles about how to achieve them can be overwhelming.
It’s not easy to make time to research great tools to help you achieve your resolutions. It’s even harder to differentiate between the reputable sources of information and complete junk.
These challenges lead people to either quickly give up on their resolutions, or follow whatever company most aggressively marketed their solutions at you (whether or not their solution is best for you).
By working together and leveraging the highest quality information and tools available, we can establish some ground rules and push forward toward self-improvement. By separating from convention and unrealistic promises of shammy advertisers, we can create real and lasting change.
Seeking help from an advisor, mentor, a coach or somewhere may be beneficial but it begins with you. No one else can make the change happen for you. You must commit to change.
That doesn’t mean it needs to be hard. In fact, it can be a lot more stress-free than you may think if you take a suitable approach and leverage advice and tools from an expert who is willing to work with you.
Here are three steps that will help you achieve any goal you want.
Three steps to lasting success
1) Reverse engineering happiness
You deserve to be happy. Full stop. Think about this statement, and say it to yourself. It may seem cheesy, but if you don’t truly believe that you deserve happiness, it’s going to make your growth much more challenging. Realize that you can have a vibrant, successful life filled with love where you feel great. It’s within your reach, no matter your life circumstances.
Set a specific goal, write it down, and reverse engineer it working backward to where you are today.
Whether you want to improve your:
- Love life
Chances are that t you have lots of goals, but the secret sauce is in prioritization. It is easy to say that you want to improve every part of your life, but it is much more powerful to determine which goal will improve your bottom line the most.
"Hone in on the most strategic goal to improve your quality of life.”
Therein lies the key element lacking in most New Year’s resolutions: Strategy. Having a smart strategy is all about matching your capabilities to your desired outcomes.
Ask yourself, what you need to accomplish to reach your goal? What would help you make it easier and more tangible? And ask, what will happen if you don’t reach it?
Once you’ve assessed which area of your life you want to improve the most, it’s time to workshop how you are going to make them a reality.
2) Make your goal a SMART Habit
Oftentimes we set goals and make New Year’s resolutions that are massive and unreasonable. People say they want to lose 50 pounds when they haven’t been in the gym all year. Or they want to practice a new instrument every day, when their guitar or keyboard has been sitting in their closet since high school. Others want to be an art collector but they’ve never owned a single piece of art.
You get the point.
New Year’s resolutions that are astronomically far off from where you are today will almost always end in disappointment. This year, instead of just focusing on the outcome you want, break your goal down into ONE repeatable behavior that will create the success you want. By focusing on a habit as a goal, you will add a superpower that will run on autopilot as you charge forward in your life.
“Set goals that you can boil down into realistic and repeatable behaviors.”
When you’ve zeroed into a habit to work on, enhance it by making sure that it is SMART. That is an acronym for:
Specific – well defined and clear, focused on action
Measurable – capable of tracking and reviewing progress
Achievable – within your capabilities and commitment level
Relevant – important and motivating to you as an individual
Timely – something you can start doing right away
Go to the gym Tuesdays and Fridays with your friend or a trainer for functional strength training and be able to squat 25% more in 6 months than you can now. Commit to meeting at the gym at 8am and track your progress in a spreadsheet. If you miss a day, work out at home just as hard and commit to only 1 miss per month.
Practice that instrument for fifteen minutes, three times a week and put a date on the calendar 6 months from now where you will perform your favorite 5 songs for an audience. Carve this 15 minute time block out after you get home from work and normally watch TV. Keep a tally of how often you practice and keep it in plain sight in your home. When you get behind, play for twice as long.
Notice an element of strategy coming through those examples? Creative forcing functions are all elements of what can ultimately form the systems that make your habits a reality.
It can be helpful to work with a goal setting expert in prioritizing your resolutions and forming your strategy to achieve it.
3) Create a habit-forming system
Now that you’ve got a SMART Habit Goal, set yourself up to do this behavior on a daily and weekly basis, so that it becomes a habit.
The research from the field of behavior science has revealed powerful frameworks and tools that make it easier to achieve personal development goals.
You can grease the wheels for your own success by making your goals as easy as possible to achieve. Consistently motivate yourself, create accountability, and create reminders so that you don’t forget.
And as you continue to take action, celebrate your successes along the way! Make the behavior enjoyable and satisfactory. If you don’t enjoy it (or decide to shift your attitude so that you actually enjoy the inevitable struggles of making your goals a reality), you won’t continue when obstacles present themselves.
Avoid simply doing something only for the sake of what you get out of it. Find a strategy that you love and play with your mindset to fuel your motivation. Gamify the experience by tracking your progress and share the experience with someone you love so that doing it will mean something to you.
When it comes to going to the gym, create a challenge for yourself. Stack an activity on top of it like listening to a specific playlist or book you love. If you’re improving your finances, start to view the growth in your bank account and investments as a game you can conquer. If you’re building your writing or art skills, share your work with a friend.
When you’re done, put it up somewhere on your wall or by your desk where you can see it everyday to remind yourself that your time is limited, and you need to get things done.
An effective way to reach your goals quicker could be asking a teacher, mentor, or a coach who will work with you to become faster, smarter and more fulfilled quickly, than you thought possible.