I have heard a lot about New Year’s
resolutions in the past week or two.
When I hear someone stating their resolution, I often find myself
thinking, “so what?” or even “yeah, right!” I think this is due to the fact that we all tend to say
things at times – even out loud – that we are not sure we can follow through
with. Sure, most people have great
intentions and most of the resolutions I have heard are terrific goals, but why do we only
get this burst of commitment on January 1?
To make real progress, I like to set shorter term goals. Instead of looking at the
(likely intimidating) big picture goal for the entire 2010 year, I will tell
myself I am going to do X for the next three to six weeks. If I can do something for three weeks,
and I like the results, I will be motivated to do the same or similar action
for another three weeks, and so on.
For instance, I am pretty good about working out during the work week,
but unfortunately, the weekend tends to fill up with other activities and, yes,
some laziness! I have committed to
go to the gym once every weekend for four weeks (starting last week). So far, so good!
While this may seem like a “wimpy” goal, I have more success setting
these short term targets, and you may, too! This way, I am constantly thinking about the next objective
and not forgetting the commitment I made to myself early that year. The important thing is to keep at it
and continually think about the “next thing” – not just a one-time
statement. I can’t tell
you how many years I have watched our gym membership swell – and the parking
lots overflow – in January and February only to have those well-intended “resolvers”
stay home come March and April.
According to an article on www.PsychologyToday.com
(at http://tinyurl.com/yzp6bqf), 22% fail in adhering to their New Year's resolutions after
one week, 40% fail after one month, 50% after three months, 60% after six
months, and 81% after twenty-four months.
The reasons for failing were due to:
Unclear or vague goals. As we have written about in our past
blog post on Produce
the Unimaginable – Give By-When’s!, set measurable goals with a by-when
date so you are sure to know when you have reached it.
Not checking progress toward the
stated goals. If you are setting
short-term targets, the check-ins are built into your plan!
Lack of self-control and
self-regulation when facing challenges. Give yourself some leeway and allow
mistakes. Then, get right back to
the reason you made the resolution in the first place and keep at it versus giving
Another way to look at setting shorter term resolutions is if you have
40 pounds to lose, instead of saying, “I will lose 40 pounds by 12/31/10,” say,
“I will lose 10 pounds by 3/31/10.”
Then, set the next objective for yourself beginning 4/1.
This idea can translate to a number of goals you may have for this year –
both personally and professionally.
If you have resolved to eat more healthfully in 2010, tell yourself you
will add one vegetable to your diet each day for the next three weeks. See how you feel. If you like the results, add one fruit
to your diet each day. The next
goal may be to drink eight glasses of water daily. Every commitment that you keep will compound until you have
transformed your diet entirely (and you should feel great as a result)!
Professionally, if you want to gain X referrals for your business in
2010 (and don’t just commit to developing “more” referrals – be specific!),
start small by committing to set up and attend one referral source lunch
appointment each week for the next month.
Add more appointments or revise your plans as appropriate, depending on
the success you are having with your current referral sources.
Any day is a great day
to make a resolution – not just New Year’s Day! What are your goals for this year, and where can you start
with a short term commitment that you know you can keep? Please share your comments and ideas
P.S. If you’re like me and
have an exercise-themed goal, read more about keeping your resolutions here: http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/a/keepresolutions.htm.