Well it's that time of year again - the completion of one year and the beginning of another. With that comes the dreaded New Year's Resolutions. Pictured above is the list of the most common ones. The last one just enforces the fact that many resolutions just never get met. Apparently 40% of people make resolutions and about 8% achieve them. Not great numbers!
Why is it that we wait for a new year to make goals? Why is it that we then feel a compelling need to make them BIG? Then, if that isn't a recipe for failure, we make them almost unreachable. Failure is almost guaranteed with that plan.
We all agree that goals are good, and needed. We can improve on many areas of our lives. Being better tomorrow than I was yesterday is a good idea. But how can one achieve this? I have a few suggestions.
Firstly, don't tell anyone! Why? Well, watch this TEDTalk and you will understand. Ted Talk
Basically, according to research, if you tell someone your goal your brain believes it has achieved it. We have often been told to tell someone, so we are held accountable, but that generally doesn't work (it usually turns into nagging). So, why not try personal goal setting that no one knows about?
Next, try to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal plan:
This might look a little overwhelming but if you unpack it, it actually makes sense. Be as specific as possible, make it measurable and attainable, make it relevant to you, and make it time sensitive. For example: losing weight is not a very specific goal, not necessarily measurable, and can often seem unattainable (making it the number one broken New Year's Resolution), no matter how relevant to yourself it feels. Lack of keeping the goal time-bound is exactly why it fails as well.
I know that if I had 'lose weight' as my goal for going to the gym I would have long quit. Why? Because I lost nothing after the first couple of months; I actually put weight on! I would have been discouraged. But weight loss has never been a goal of mine. I want to be fit and I want to see muscle forming.
Goals might be better in smaller pieces. A goal of: I will eat no pizza, or hamburgers, or french fries, for 6 weeks. It meets the above mentioned requirements, and might be attainable. Then change it up. Maybe after months of smaller, more attainable, goals you will have reached the larger goal of losing weight.
So, do I have goals for 2017? Yep! But I am not telling anyone. If I reach a goal, I'll let you know.