Let me start by saying Happy New Year! 2015 is underway and I’m excited about it. Like many of you, I’ve set my goals for this year and I’ve already started tackling them.
Setting goals is actually very effective for me. It’s something I do on an ongoing basis. I get great joy from looking back over my goals at the end of the year and seeing all the things I managed to get done. In 2014 one of my biggest goals was to participate in a triathlon. I’m happy to say I did that in July of last year.
Despite the fact that I enjoy setting goals and accomplishing them, statistics show that most people who establish goals or “new year’s resolutions” abandon them within two weeks. In fact, it’s estimated that 25% of the people abandon them after one week.
There are several reasons people fail to reach their goals. Here are a few of the most common:
Unrealistic – Too often people set goals they can’t reach. For example, if you haven’t worked out for months or years or ever – then it’s not a good idea to set a goal of working out an hour a day every day. If you do manage to start out doing it, it will be very difficult to sustain. When someone can’t sustain an activity, they are more likely to abandon it.
Not specific – When setting goals it’s important to make them as specific as possible. If you vow to eat more veggies, be clear about it. Indicate that you will eat at least one green vegetable during lunch and dinner. You can even go a step further and indicate which type of vegetable you’re going to eat. The more specific you are, the easier it is to track your progress.
No timeline – Along with being specific you need to give yourself a time frame for accomplishing your goals. So, instead of saying you want to lose 10 pounds, add a date. You want to lose 10 pounds by March 1st. Having a timeline creates a sense of urgency.
Lack of accountability– If you don’t attach any accountability to your goals, then it’s easy to let it go when times get hard. Years ago, I joined Weight Watchers. I’d been on tons of diets before then with very minimal results. But on Weight Watchers I lost 23 pounds! I can tell you without a doubt the accountability of that program helped me. Just knowing I had to get on that scale every week – whether I had a good week or not – was all the motivation I needed to stay on track. So, if you’re working out find a partner. Share your plan with family and friends who you know will consistently check in with you about your progress. Just have someone to whom you are accountable.
No plan of action – I’m sure you have heard the saying – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Whether you want to save money, lose weight, or buy a house, you need to have a plan of action. How else will it get done? To go one step further, put the plan in writing and keep it before you. People who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them.
So, if you can avoid these common mistakes then I can say with certainty that you are off to a great start and on your way to success. All you need to do now is put in the work. Also, be consistent. It’s not the things you do every now and then that makes the difference. It’s the things you do consistently over time that will incite the greatest change.
Question: Which of these suggestions will help you the most as you set out to accomplish your goals for 2015?