If you made any New Year’s resolutions this year, you probably forgot about them a few months ago.
Achieve with Maggie shared a great infographic back in January about resolutions and goal setting. According to the article, about 8 in 10 people feel like their life lacks an overall goal. Of the people who do set goals for each new year, only about 1 in 5 people actually write them down. As a result, about 1 and 4 people end up making the same resolution every year and never manage to achieve it.
Goal setting is an important part of moving forward with your personal and professional life. Goals are a healthy way to challenge yourself and expand beyond your comfort zone. But goals that aren’t written down or substantiated in any real way aren’t really goals at all.
So how to begin?
At Level Up Leadership, we like to say that all accomplishments start with an idea, a seed, a dream. We encourage our clients to make dream inventories, a great tool for beginning a personal goal program. Your dream inventory can be a journal entry, an Excel spreadsheet, or a scrap of paper you keep in a desk drawer. What’s important is that you use your dream inventory to jot down ideas and dreams that you have, regardless of how extravagance or seemingly small they may seem.
Add a dream to the list any time one pops into your head, or choose a time to sit down and list out your dreams methodically. Be creative — don’t limit your dreams in any way. Whether you want to own a Lamborghini, be a better father, or lose 10 pounds, write it all down.
Once you have your dream inventory, the next step is to follow an effective goal planning process:
1. Go through your list of dreams and pick out the ones that are most important to you.
2. For each dream, create a goal that will allow you to achieve that dream.
3. Write down the benefits and rewards of achieving the goal.
4. Then write down the consequences of not achieving the goal.
5. List potential obstacles that stand in your way, and list the possible solution for overcoming each obstacle.
6. Next, break down your goal into definable action steps that will be necessary to achieve the goal.
7. Create a target date for achieving each action step.
Once your plan is written and in place, share it with someone that you trust. According to new research by psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, people that write down their goals, shared those goals with a friend, and then send weekly updates to that friend are 33% more successful in accomplishing their goals than people who merely form goals. Creating a plan for achieving your goal is an essential first step, but sharing that plan with a trusted ally will give you the extra motivation you’ll need to stay on track.
Effectively Using Affirmations
Another great way to improve your chances is by creating an affirmation for yourself that will help push you toward your goal. Whether your affirmation is a tasty reward for every action step completed or a Post-it note stuck to your desk that reads “You can do it,” and do whatever it takes to help turn your dreams into reality.