This is the time that people reflect on the year ahead, they set goals or resolutions, and dream of improvements they’ll make in their life and business in the months to come.
Unfortunately, few people will actually achieve their goals. Most people will create goals or resolutions in January and will drop them by February. (In fact, a study by Stanford University suggests that 25% of people fail at their New Year Resolution within the first week of January).
So, how can you increase the likelihood that you’ll actually achieve the growth you want to achieve this year? Whether you’re setting business goals or health and lifestyle goals, here are 5 tips to put into practice right away:
Tip #1: Set commitments, not resolutions.
Resolutions are notoriously breakable. Breaking a resolution has almost become an expectation. Instead set commitments – think of a commitment as a promise to yourself. You don’t break your promise.
Tip #2: Focus on your effort instead of the outcome.
People often make resolutions like “I want to get in shape,” which is an outcome-focused idea. There are no specific ways to achieve that outcome so it becomes too easy to ignore it. Instead, build goals around an activity, instead. For example, instead of “get in shape,” set a goal about exercising daily.
Tip #3: Be specific.
I always say “wrap numbers around everything.” When you measure something, you can manage it. That’s why you should set a goal with a very specific number in it. For example, “I will work out for 15 minutes at 4pm every single day.” There are a couple of specific numbers in there and it becomes much easier to follow through (and recognize when you’re not following through) with that level of specificity.
Tip #4: Schedule your activity.
Never set a goal and then walk away. Always schedule the activity you set your goal around. If you set a goal to do some daily marketing, schedule it at a specific time each day. Consider scheduling to be part of goal-setting.
Tip #5: Add leverage.
It’s easy to set goals, it’s much harder to follow through. So add leverage to give you greater incentive: Commit to doing something that causes a certain amount of pain if you don’t follow-through on your goal. One of my favorite forms of leverage is to commit to a substantial donation to a charitable cause if you don’t reach your goal. The substantial donation creates the potential for financial pain and it incentivizes me to complete my goal. (Note: The financial pain needs to be substantial to actually work!)
Tip #6: Be accountable.
Share your goals with others and ask them to hold you accountable. Have them ask you daily or weekly if you have taken action toward your goal.
At this time of year, we set the path for the year to come. Don’t let another year go by with broken resolutions. Set powerful goals that inspire you and change your business, and use these tips to help you achieve your goals.