The Dreaded New Year’s Resolution

Less than half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Few people (less than 5%) have written goals for their lives. We all seem to agree on the importance of planning and goal setting, but actually doing it for ourselves is a completely different matter. Making New Year’s resolutions is really just an annual goal setting tradition. A fresh new year seems the perfect time to make new goals and review old ones.

To be effective, goals must be written, with measurable outcomes and deadlines. Thinking that you want to travel someday is not a goal. Writing down that you will go to Australia for three weeks next summer is a goal.

Goal setting works. It focuses your efforts. It forces you to decide what’s really important to you. Study after study proves that those with written goals achieve more than those without them. Then why don’t we all have written goals? Because we are terrified of failure.

If I set the goal of making $100,000 next year, and I don’t do it, I may label myself a failure. If I don’t set the goal, I still don’t make $100,000, but I never really said I would. I didn’t officially “fail.”

It’s up to you – do you want to live safe, never pushing yourself too hard or reaching for anything you might not get, OR do you want to live the very best life that you can, achieving the most you are capable of? If you want all you can get out of life, stop drifting. Get out your pen and paper and write down your resolutions.

Here are some tips on how to achieve your goals:

Figure out what’s most important to you. Do you want to be healthier? Spend more time with your loved ones? Earn more money? List the top ten things you would like to be different in your life. You don’t have forever – what do you want your life to be? Rank those ten in order of what’s most important to YOU (not anyone else). Then drop the last six. Focus on the first four only. Most people set too many goals, find they can’t do everything, and give up.

Be specific. If your goal is to get in shape, define that. Does it mean lose ten pounds or be able to run three miles without passing out? Then set a deadline for accomplishing it.

Read your resolutions every morning. This is important!. Get focused early in the day. If you chose the right goals, this should get you fired up and ready to make your dreams come true!

Don’t give up! If you backslide, that’s okay. Don’t think that this is an all or nothing deal. If you lose the edge and overeat one night, that’s okay, just refocus and work your plan the next day. Everybody has an off day, those who achieve their goals just get back on track. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency.

Re-evaluate every quarter. There is no failure here – some goals may have been too lofty and need to be readjusted. Some goals may have been too easy and need to be more challenging. The only failure is not to have made the most of your life. Goal setting helps ensure that you do.

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