At the end of last year, I shared a few of my New Year’s Resolutions with you. Changes I wanted to make in my life over the next year. Some are goals with a deadline. Others are characteristics I want to develop over my lifetime. I have self improvement goals, relationship goals, academic goals, spiritual goals, physical goals, and so on.
I was doing a little research and found a recent study giving the statistics of the length of time a person maintains any given resolution. (My nerd is starting to show, isn’t it?) The study said that only 75% of resolutions are maintained through the first week, 71% past two weeks, 64% past one month and 46% past six months.
So here we are. Three weeks into 2016. How many of your resolutions made it past the two week mark? All? Some? None? Don’t beat yourself up if it’s less than what you’d like it to be. I think it’s human nature to have the best of intentions when it comes to setting goals. So why aren’t we able to achieve the goals we set? I think it comes down to four reasons:
Failure to make a plan Winston Churchill said that “he who fails to plan is planning to fail”. Certain goals require us to build our skills or endurance. If you have a goal to lose weight, for example, you would need to create a plan that would include a goal weight, an exercise program, diet changes, etc. When you focus on the specifics and lay it all out for yourself, you are more likely to follow it because you know exactly what you need to do in order to accomplish your goal.
Failure to prioritize One year, I was feeling really ambitious and set way too many goals for myself. With so much to try and focus on, I couldn’t focus on anything and I became overwhelmed. Ultimately, I looked at my list of goals and chose the ones that were the most important to me. If you’ve run into this problem, review your list and see if you can’t narrow it down a little.
Failure to make yourself accountable One of the best ways to fail at accomplishing a goal is to keep it to yourself. On the flip side, one of the best ways to increase your likelihood of success is to tell others about it. This makes you more accountable because at least one other person knows what you are trying to do and they can offer their support. So choose someone you know will uplift you and support you in your goals. The person might depend on the goal your trying to reach. If you’re training for a marathon, telling someone whose done it before will be able to empathize with you when you’re having a bad day and celebrate with you as you grow and improve.
Failure to set a deadline/make goals measurable When we set deadlines for ourselves, accompanied with a plan for success, our goals suddenly become so much more attainable. It also helps us see the progress we are making along the way and gives us encouragement to continue. At first glance, some goals might not seem like they can have a deadline. But if you think about it as stepping stones, then I think that most goals have a “deadline” of sorts. Try and think about the goals you’ve set and see if there is a way that you can measure them.
For example, one of the goals I shared in my New Years Resolutions post was to be more charitable. Part of my plan includes being more willing to give of my time and talents when they are asked of me and offering them when I see a need. I eliminated the need to prioritize this particular goal from a big list because it is one that I already know is important to me. I’ve made myself accountable to all of you by sharing my goal with you. As for making my goal measurable, if I am striving to go out of my way to do a couple of charitable acts a week I can then check myself and see how I’m doing. Once I’ve created a habit of doing at least two charitable acts, I can increase it to three. Soon, my goals have become a habit and they are part of me.
I hope that if you made some new goals for the year that you will be able to succeed at them. I also hope that if you haven’t made any new goals that you can think of a couple that you’d like to strive for. Feel free to share here! You’ll find support and encouragement.
What helps you achieve your goals?