It doesn’t need to be a new year for you to make a resolution, but every time it comes around, millions of people use it as a catalyst for growth and self-change. And yet, according to a study by Forbes magazine, just 8% of all people who make new year’s resolutions actually achieve them within the new year. The success rate is so low because people are falling into many fatal flaws upon creating the actual goals themselves – they set goals which aren’t realistic or achievable, too vague, or not personal enough and end up giving up by the time they reach the second month. This is a guide I’ve created, with professional help, on how to create and achieve meaningful, realistic resolutions this new year.
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal, and that’s what a new year’s resolution is. It’s a vision you have for yourself in exactly 1 year, at which point, you will set new goals or continue working on the bigger plan of your life. The most common resolutions are very straightforward – things like “lose weight” or “quit smoking”. The great thing about simple resolutions such as these is that they’re things you can easily track your progress with, and they’re very achievable. However, the most beautiful thing about your life is that you can do anything you want – you have unique dreams which inspire you, and this means you can make unique resolutions. There’s nothing wrong with the standard resolutions everyone has about living a healthier lifestyle, but there’s also nothing wrong with having multiple, challenging resolutions. Regardless, the most important thing when creating these goals is to not make a 2-minute job of it. Your vision should be very clear; who do you want to be at the end of this next year? What do you want to be doing? what do you want to have learned? How do you want to have grown? The more real this vision is, the more successful you will be in achieving it. To make it as clear as possible, ask yourself “how will achieving this resolution make me feel?”
A popular acronym used to create goals is IMPACT. In the previous paragraph I highlighted all the points in bold for this, but here they are broken down clearly;
Inspiring – your resolution should excite you. It should be something you are willing to work hard to achieve.
Measurable – it is extremely important to be able to track your progress when working towards a goal, as this will allow you to see how effectively you are working towards it and motivate you to continue.
Personal – the goal should be something which resonates with you; something which is relevant to your life. This will also make you more motivated to achieve it if you have personal reasons to do so.
Achievable – there’s no point making a resolution like “become king of the world”, as it’s obviously not going to happen, especially not in the given time frame. Therefore, you should manage your expectations, and create realistic resolutions – the more achievable they are, the more likely you are to follow through with them.
Challenging – if your goal by the end of this year is to do something which can be done in a day, then it’s not a new years’ resolution. If you challenge yourself, however, by setting yourself a target which is difficult to achieve, you will get a greater sense of satisfaction, and experience a greater degree of personal growth.
Time-scale – if there isn’t a completion time-frame, then it isn’t a goal. Thankfully, the pressure is off with this one, since we know we are giving ourselves exactly a year. You may have certain dreams which are closer to a 5- or 10-year vision – consider what you can do this year to bring you closer to achieving these goals.
Once you have your resolutions, the next step is to actually achieve them. The first thing you’re going to want to do is write them down. Second, break them down into more manageable pieces (quarterly checkpoints, then monthly for example) – it’s much easier to take 5 small steps than one huge leap! To make achieving each step as easy as possible, focus on the things which you can do; not things which you can’t do. It’s very easy to approach new challenges with a negative frame of mind; to mentally list all the aspects of this journey which may go wrong and how difficult it’s going to be. Avoiding this pessimistic perspective is paramount if you’re going to accomplish what you are setting out to do. One psychological trick you can use is to write down these negative thoughts, scrunch up the paper and throw them in the bin. Then write down all the reasons why it is going to work, all the positive thoughts, and pin them to your wall. Lastly, as you make progress towards your goal, make sure you’re recording it. This allows you to track what you have so far achieved, see what your next steps are, and stay motivated throughout this challenging journey.
“The enemy fights you in your mind. The devil doesn’t have to tie you up for you to be bound, he just has to tie up your head. I refuse to go into another new year and waste another new year with an old mind.”
Good luck everybody, and happy new year!