It’s that time of year again to make new years resolutions. It seems like every year we set new years resolutions that last only for a month or two. I think this type of goal setting actually does more harm than good. The reason this does more harm is that we set a pattern of breaking commitments to ourself. After a while we don’t believe ourself when we set these types of resolutions, and subconsciously we disengage from the process.
Here are a four tips to setting goals that stick.
1. Pick emotionally charged goals
I believe that we “drop out of the race” on our new years resolution, often its because we didn’t really care that much about the resolution. Perhaps we picked the resolution because we thought we *should* – not because we *wanted to*. This doesn’t mean that the resolution was bad or that we should just give up. What’s missing is the emotional drive to push through the challenges.
For example, let’s say that I set a resolution to lose weight. There’s no emotion in this for me. It would be better to attach this to an emotion. A better resolution would be to be healthy so I can be there for my kids by losing weight. Now this is something I care about.
It’s really hard to stick with something we don’t care about, so pick goals that have emotional juice for you.
2. Make a commitment instead of a resolution
With the way we set resolutions, it’s almost as if they’re supposed to be broken. We set them with the expectation that we’re going to “fall of the wagon.” In truth, our commitment level is pretty low. We set out to exercise, but the subtext of this is, we’ll exercise only if the weather is nice, the bed is not too comfortable, our friend will go with us, and we didn’t have a stressful work project last night. It doesn’t take much to derail our plan. And in truth many of us are looking for a reason (an excuse) to not follow through on our resolution.
If we make a commitment instead, we use the phrase “even if.” In the example, we will exercise even if the weather is not nice, the bed is comfortable, our friend won’t go with us, and we had a late night project last night. With a commitment, we don’t let circumstances control the outcome.
3. Set a goal for the outcome not the activity
It is better to set a goal for the outcome rather than a goal for the activity. So, instead of a goal to go on a diet, a better goal would be to lose 10 lbs by January 31st. By setting a goal for the outcome a number of things happen. First the goal becomes measurable. You’ll know if you did it or not. And second, you open up options for achieving it. You could start out on a certain diet, and if it’s not working, you can switch to something else. Perhaps, you’ll increase your activity level, or you could switch to a different diet plan. You’re not stuck on your initial plan.
It’s like this quote from a mentor who said, “If you’re riding a dead horse, for God’s sake, dismount!” By setting your goal for the outcome rather than the activity, you’re free to try a different horse.
4. Get an accountability partner
Unfortunately, the business world, has made the word, “accountability,” synonymous with “punishment.” When I use the word, “accountability,” here, I don’t mean punishment. If you have a good accountability partner, they will *not* berate you for falling short. Instead they will work with you to uncover what’s going on, and help you create a strategy for getting back on track.
Basically a good accountability partner is there to come along side and help you achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Our wish for you is that 2016 will be transformational – that you’ll set goals and accomplish beyond your dreams.