THE dawn of every New Year presents us with opportunity to take stock of our lives. Taking stock helps us to identify where we have come from, where we are and where we are going. For a lot of people, a New Year is an opportunity to dream new dreams, embrace new ideas and achieve greater goals. Success in the New Year will be determined by the extent to which we achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
But a University of Scranton research suggests that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Having goals, therefore, does not guarantee success in the New Year. But it does not also mean that goals are not important because in this same research, it emerged that “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” If that is the case, then I guess it makes sense to position ourselves among the likely successful.
But to be among the 8% who achieve their goals, there are some guidelines to consider.
- Be clear: Goals that are vague will remain in the cloud. They will never reach the realm of reality. So instead of saying you want to lose weight, say “I want to lose 20 pounds.” Don’t just say “I will go to school.” Say, “I will pursue a post-graduate diploma in Marketing.” Instead of saying “I want to make more money,” it will be much clearer to say “I look forward to increasing my monthly income by 25%.” Goals must be clear. When they are clear, they are reachable. You can’t reach something you are not clear about.
- Write them down: You can’t keep your goals in your head and expect them to descend into your hand. Goals that are not written down easily give way for tasks and issues that compete for attention. If you want to bring your goals to life, write them down. Writing gives you a point of reference.
- Don’t set too many goals: Setting too many goals diversifies your focus and disperses your resources. Remember, the reason you set goals is to have something to achieve. You don’t set goals to earn bragging rights among your colleagues. Goals are meant to give your life a focus and something to hold on to at the end of the day. In setting goals therefore, you must endeavour to have few that you have the capacity to pursue and grasp within a stipulated period.
- Break them down: Don’t let your goal scare you because they are humongous. You can break them down into small task to be executed daily, weekly and monthly. By the time you connect the dots at the end of the year, you might see yourself at your destination.
- Persevere: Any goal that does not have an obstacle is suspicious. In due course, you will encounter some obstacles in the pursuit of your goals. But that does not mean you should abandon them. Hold fast to your dream even when there are enormous challenges. You can only defeat the obstacles if you keep your conviction intact.
TOP 10 NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS FOR 2014
The Scranton University research collated the following as the ten most popular resolutions for 2014
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
What are your own goals? Have you written them down? How simple are they? Have they been broken down? Do you believe in them enough to persevere?
© 2014 by Terry Mante
CEO, Personal Development Network (PEDNET)