It’s that time of year again, where you sit down and make a laundry list of things you want to change or vow to do in the new year. For most people, it’s to eat healthy and exercise more. You walk into your gym and see a flood of new faces. But, come February, most of these new faces are back in line at the local taco shop for Taco Tuesday. Did you know that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions?
So, how do you stick to your New Year’s resolutions? Defying the odds won’t be easy but we guarantee it will be worth it. Today, we are going to steer away from the business talk and talk about your personal goals for 2016. Keep in mind though that although we are talking personal for a bit, these 5 steps can also be applied to accomplish your business goal. Come December of 2016, you’ll be proud you set a goal and stuck to it!
- Write out a plan
Writing down your goals and creating a plan will not only keep you focused but it will allow you to see results with a strategy of how you will get there. Individuals lack either motivation or intention for completing a goal when it comes to setting one. The number one thing I always hear from people is, “I need to get motivated”. However, motivation doesn’t lead to consistent action. Instead, a plan for exactly when and how you will execute your resolutions leads to success.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, if you rely on your willpower and motivation to inspire you to act, then you will not be successful. For example, research showed that individuals who wrote out a plan of where and when they would exercise were more likely to do it than someone who read the benefits of working out before the gym.
- Break up your goals into micro-goals
One problem with big, long term goals is that they are too broad and not broken into smaller goals. Often times, a large goal seems overwhelming, making you more likely to quit before it’s accomplished. Instead, try breaking large goals into smaller, easier to digest goals. Afterall, it takes all of those small goals along the way to reach the large one. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year, have a goal of 1-2 pounds per week, which is very manageable. You don’t want to set goals that will be unreachable, such as 10lbs a week, as this will lead to you losing momentum or being discouraged if you don’t meet that goal one week.
- Focus on one goal at a time!
“I can’t multitask.” Don’t we hear people say this all the time? In fact, as I sit writing this post, I’ve already replied to a text, changed the song on my Spotify and replied to an email. Create a list of priorities and start with checking one goal/task off your list at a time. According to Psychology Today, our brain does not do tasks simultaneously and switching between tasks quickly leads us to be more inefficient and make mistakes. Set out to accomplish one resolution at a time, instead of working on all of them at once. That way, when you accomplish one resolution, not only can you cross it off of your list, but you also will feel a sense of accomplishment for completing something which will motivate you to finish the rest!
- Make a bet.
Yes, I am encouraging you to gamble. No, not in Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, but rather with a coworker or friend to acquire gains. Loss aversion refers to people strongly avoiding loss to win. Studies show that losses are twice as powerful psychologically as gains are. For example, if every time you skip a gym day, you have to buy your coworker lunch, you are losing out on something. Your motivation for losing out on something will encourage and drive you to not skipping a gym day more so than your motivation to get in shape. These losses will give you a powerful incentive to get you to stay committed.
- Treat Yourself
Be sure to reward yourself when you accomplish a goal. Have the reward match the goal if you complete it. For example, if you ate healthy all week treat yourself on Friday to pizza. Or, if you lose 15 pounds, buy yourself a new pair of pants. Use your large rewards for large gains and small rewards for smaller gains to keep you motivated. Other positive reinforcers include, a sweet treat, a new technology device, shopping trip or a relaxing spa day. Make sure you are not overindulging and becoming too familiar with the reward. You want the reward to help you repeat the desired behavior.
Remember that no one is perfect, so try not to be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. Set a goal to be better and better each week and 2016 will be your best year yet!. What are your goals for 2016? Share them with us by commenting below, and we will be sure to check back on how you’re doing!