Yep, it’s that time of year again. The turkey has been eaten, the presents have been opened, the Christmas crackers have been pulled, and all that there’s left to do is head back to the office feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the New Year’s goals you’ve just set. However, with 80% of New Year’s resolutions never being realized, how can you go against the odds and ensure that yours are a roaring success?
Whether they’re personal or work-related, achieving your goals isn’t always easy – and this is proved by the fact that the majority of failed resolutions fall to the wayside by the second week of February. With the odds seemingly against you, this stat alone can be enough to make you want to abandon your goals before you’ve even started.
Amongst some of the most popular resolutions to be left to the wayside? Quitting bad habits (such as smoking or drinking), losing weight, being more organized and spending less money. These are all relatively simple goals – and probably ones you can relate to setting yourself at one point or another. Yet with these being so popular, why do they so often fail?
It’s simple; they often lack structure or they’re simply unrealistic. So, how should you go about tackling your New Year’s goals the right way?
It’s the 101 of goal-setting, yet so many people struggle with this simple action – ensuring your goals can actually be achieved. It’s all well and good saying that you’re going to snag that big promotion this year, but do you actually know how you’re going to do it? In most cases, simply throwing the idea out there and waiting for it to happen isn’t going to do it.
When it comes to this specific example, it can be tricky to know how realistic this is going to be. However, you can rephrase your goal to make it more achievable. By making your aim to “take the lead on a big project” or to “generate X amount of revenue in the first quarter of the year”, you instantly make your goal more specific – helping you get closer to your overarching goal of being promoted (if the opportunity is there to do so, of course). This is definitely something to keep in mind.
In addition to this, a big part of setting realistic goals is making them achievable. So, by adding measurable attributes (such as numbers) to your goals, it’s easier to chart your progress and feel like you’re actually making waves, making you less likely to give up prematurely.
Now that you know what you want to do, make sure you actually write it down. This will make your aims feel far more concrete, and less likely to be changed along the way. Plus, by having plenty of reminders, you’ll not only feel more motivated, but they can’t just slip your mind, only to resurface in April when it dawns on you that you haven’t achieved what you wanted to.
Your first thought might be to chuck these down on a paper to-do list or a post-it note – but we all know the issues with these, don’t we? They’re far too easy to misplace. Capturing them in a digital format (whether in a calendar, word processing document or task management tool) will make sure you’ve always got a record to keep yourself on track.
The bigger the goal, the harder it will be to achieve. Tell yourself that you’re going to get fit, and chances are, you won’t know where to start. Not only that, but how are you going to measure this? In fact, what defines being ‘fit’ anyway? It’s all subjective, so this will vary from person to person.
By breaking this down into more specific actions (such as ‘go to the gym twice a week’, ‘run 3 miles without stopping’ or ‘eat a vegetarian diet during the week’), you can instantly start putting the pedal to the metal and know whether you’ve been successful by the end of the year. Using handy tools such as a Gantt Chart, you can segment your bigger goal into these different actions – and when you do this in Ayoa, you can set also Due Dates for each and every action to keep you on the straight and narrow.
In fact, adding timeframes and milestones are a great motivator for success because they give you something to work towards. If you don’t hit your first milestone, you will try harder to hit the next one, as well as reflect on why this happened and learn from your mistakes.
It’s a hard fact to swallow, but setbacks are a part of life and we need to accept them in order to move forward. When working towards a hefty goal, the process isn’t always going to be smooth sailing – but nothing worth having comes easy, right? So, instead of letting setbacks demotivate you and become a reason to give up, accept them as a learning curve.
When something goes wrong, it’s important to realize why. You can then ensure that you don’t come face-to-face with this same hurdle in the future. Put your setbacks in a list (a Mind Map is a great visual format for this), dividing them up into the things you can’t change, and the ones you can. Push the things you can’t change (or have no effect over) out of your mind, then make an action plan for the things you can change. If you don’t give yourself time to wallow in self-pity, the urge to give up will soon pass.
Rome wasn’t built in a day – and certainly not by one singular person. Sometimes our goals are dependant on others, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need to. You never know who might have the knowledge, contacts or other resources you need to help make your dreams a reality.
Sometimes, simply talking to someone can help you get your worries off your chest, or even find support from someone who is going through a similar situation or has done so in the past. Whether it’s losing 5 pounds, running a marathon or starting your own business, someone has done this before you – and their insight could prove invaluable.
When it comes to your New Year’s goals, aim for the sky with Ayoa. Break them down into actionable and achievable tasks, then set deadlines and reminders to ensure you’re always kept on track. Find out more about Ayoa’s features or sign up for free today.
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