Statistics reveal resolutions are “out” with less than 50% of Americans setting resolutions when the clock strikes midnight. It wasn’t long ago 88% of Americans greeted the New Year with resolution, intention and expectation. What’s changed?
“Historically more than 80% of resolutions are abandoned by late February,” says life management expert and bestselling author Brook Noel. “Many women believe they are doomed before they begin. A resolution becomes another pressure in an already pressure-filled life.”
Brook Noel encourages women to “give up the cape” and accept that while they can’t do everything; they can do something! Here are 12 of Brook’s tips to take with you on your journey to transform your resolutions into reality.
Write your goal down in one sentence and make sure it is S.M.A.R.T. – The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for…
SPECIFIC: Make sure your goal specifically states what you desire to accomplish. “Become healthier,” is not a specific goal. “Improve my health by adding one new healthy habit each week for 52 weeks,” is a specific goal.
MEASURABLE: Make sure your goal can be measured so that you will know if you have achieved your objective. The above example is measurable, because you could clearly measure whether or not you reached the goal.
ATTAINABLE: Do a soul-search to determine if you have the resources needed (and energy/attitude) to reach this goal against the timeline you set. If you do not have the resources, make sure to include the process of attaining them within your goal plan.
REALISTIC: Many people take an all-or-nothing approach to goals. A great example is a woman who wants to pursue healthy lifestyle changes. She sets a goal for January 1 where she is going to join a health club, exercise everyday, change all her eating habits and give up sweets — STARTING the next day! We have to remember that part of any goal is forming new habits, which means often replacing and reprogramming old habits. This doesn’t happen overnight. While we might be able to adhere to a schedule like this for a short time, it will be hard to sustain long-term. If you have set up a goal like this, now is the perfect time to revisit it and make a realistic plan.
TIMELY: Make sure to have an end date for your goal. This is what transforms a wish into a goal. Wishes don’t have deadlines – goals do! In addition to an end date, identify key milestones at the 25%, 50% and 75% mark to track your progress.
Aim for improvement, not perfection: Many people make rigid goals – i.e. exercise EVERY day for 20 minutes. Or drink 60 ounce of water EVERY day. Every day is a lot of days! When setting a goal it is important to optimize your opportunity for success and also create the opportunity to EXCEED your goal. If you set a goal for 7 days per week, it is impossible to exceed the goal unless you have a magic-machine that creates an 8th day (if so, please send it my way!) Instead, set a goal for 5 days or less per week.
Take control of your time. Schedule the time you will need to complete your goal on your planner. Obviously, this goal is important to you or you wouldn’t have set it. Respect this “goal time” as you would any other appointment.
Be accountable: Whether it is an online group, a friend, a coach, a doctor, a spouse, or a child – share your goal plan with someone who will hold you accountable. Join our 5 Week Online Goal Workshop for group accountability, help, and support.
Inventory your obstacles: There is a quote that states if we wait for the right time, it never comes. The truth is that we are unlikely to hit a long space of time where we can focus on our goals without obstacles and interruptions. Instead of using interruptions and obstacles as an excuse to “back off a goal,” create a notebook for listing obstacles and interruptions. Brainstorm solutions and options for as many as you can. As you hit more obstacles (which is part of any process) add them to the list. Brainstorm solutions with others if needed.
Energy: For any goal, we need to have the physical and emotional energy to keep us motivated and moving forward. Remember to take care of yourself through food, diet and relaxation so you have the stamina to pursue your goal.
Encourage yourself: Recognize each small step you take forward by keeping a daily record of your progress. Write down even the littlest of steps. One of my favorite Chinese Proverbs is : “Be not afraid of going slowly, be only afraid of standing still.” Instead of looking at what you haven’t done yet, review this notebook regularly and pat yourself on the back. There is no quicker route to goal-abandonment than a bad attitude.
Revise… don’t abandon: If you hit a road block and go off track in your goal, don’t abandon your goal and wait for “another time.” Instead, sit down and revise your plan, using the knowledge you have gained to create a more concrete plan for the next time around. What separates those who achieve their goals from those who don’t is perseverance. I have created more than 2 dozen goal plans to reach a single goal– each one carried me a bit further than the last. When we persevere, we will get there.
Your Turn: Take at least one hour this week to really think through what you want to bring into your life in 2009. Then create a S.M.A.R.T. goal as your first step toward success.