Many of us will be thinking of setting goals, taking time to come up with lists of what we would like to achieve during the next 12 months to become better versions of ourselves. However, what follows is a list of massive unsustainable targets which we keep for the first month and then gradually drop as we slip back into our old (and easier) habits
Just look at gym membership, early in the new year attendance levels spike dramatically and then fall off after a couple of months, people have great intentions but no long-term dedication or forward planning, so they start off by dedicating more time/effort than they can sustain and once the novelty wears off, they quit, ending up disappointed in themselves for not following through with their goals.
Now I am not personally a massive believer in New Year’s resolutions, if you want to make a change in your life, make it, don’t wait until the New Year! However, for many the symbolism of a fresh new year and a new start is great motivation, so if you’re planning to make a change, good for you! But, getting the foundation of your resolutions right and planning it so that you’ll follow through on them, is critical (unless you want to quit by February of course).
Seven tips on how to set yourself up for success
One – Be Specific
Saying that in 2022 you want to lose weight sounds good, but if you reached the end of the year and you were down just one pound would you be happy? You’ve hit your goal of losing weight, right?
The same goes if you’re writing a new book, setting a goal of just ‘I want to write a book’ needs more specificity, what is your target word count, how many chapters will it have, do you want it published by the end of the year, have you already planned out the story and characters, what research will you need to do?
Being vague with your goal will lead to you missing it, as the target is completely undefined, if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it.
Be specific in your goal, have a clear target and know what success will look like.
Two – Can you measure it?
The key to hitting a goal is in understanding how you are performing towards it during the year and understanding this on a regular basis. So, if your goal is to write a book with an 80,000 word count, this breaks down to 1540 words per week and 308 words per day (if writing five times a week), roughly speaking your target is one page per day, five days a week. From this you can set weekly, monthly and quarterly targets, clear goals you either hit or miss.
Three – When can you do this?
Most of us think that we don’t have much free time, the truth is that we have just as much time as the most successful people on our planet, we all get the same 24hrs every day, how we choose to spend them is what makes the difference. But please don’t get me wrong, I do understand that if you have kids (especially young ones) and/or other dependents, the amount of time you can commit to achieving a goal will be smaller than someone without those commitments. But do remember, there are still those who have achieved success with the same time constraints as you, the key is to not use it as an excuse to give up on a goal.
So, when can you work on your goal? A very useful exercise is to look at an average week for you, on each day what do you do with your time? How long do you work, sleep, eat, look after others etc. There are always going to be non-negotiable tasks that you will have to complete every day, but then there are hours sat in front of your TV or cell phone, scrolling through social media, how much time each day can you reinvest back into something productive for YOU?
It may be as little as one hour per day, this is still five hours a week, twenty hours per month and 240 hours per year, it’s the equivalent of having six weeks at 40 hours per week to work on yourself every year.
Don’t ever say you that you haven’t got the time, that’s just a lie you keep telling yourself, because it’s easier to switch off and scroll through Instagram each evening instead.
Four – How realistic is your goal?
Getting back to the common goal of wanting to write a book, if you set a target of writing 6,000 words per day seven days a week, unless you’re a full-time writer, most people will not be able to realistically sustain this. Yes, you must have goals that stretch and push you, but you also have to be realistic with your actual free time.
If you look at tip number three, you should have a good idea of how much time you can commit to each day/week, so if it is an hour a day, five days a week, work your goal around this time, could you write 300 words in that hour? If you can, then by the end of the year you will have written 240-250 pages (now you have a target).
Five – Be held accountable
Most of us don’t want to look like failures in front of our friends and family, now that you have a goal for the year, tell people and tell them that you’ll be posting monthly updates.
If you really want further motivation, tell a friend that if you don’t post monthly updates on how you’re doing and if you miss your goal by the end of the year, you’ll give them $1000 (or another amount that would be painful for you to give away).
Knowing that others are watching is great motivation to keep going, use it to your advantage.
Six – Reward yourself
Set up rewards throughout the next twelve months, but only if you stay on target and achieve your goal at the end of the year, it could be using the money you were going to give away if you failed on yourself instead. Having something to look forward to when you hit your target is a great motivator, it shouldn’t just be a massive chore without any reward along the way.
Seven – Inspire others
When working hard towards your own goals you have no idea that you are inspiring others along the way, you set an example to your kids, spouse, family and friends, remember this as you go, your story may be the inspiration someone else needs to make a positive change to their own life.
Be the example that inspires someone you love.
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