Coming up to the new year, you may be thinking about setting yourself some goals or New Year’s Resolutions to achieve in 2020. Unfortunately, New Year’s Resolutions tend to have an inconsistent success rate and with that comes a poor reputation. So, how can you set your resolutions or goals up for success?
Instead of simply seeking a destination or end result straight away, it helps to break down your resolution or goal into smaller components which can be used as mini-goals, milestones or checkpoints. This approach has been used by many of the well-established personal change programs (weight-loss programs, addiction and rehabilitation programs, etc.) and is now utilised across the broader personal improvement sector (physical fitness, weight-loss and business management development).
So, does this mean that breaking a goal down into achievable segments is all that’s required for success? Not quite. There are a few more components that will contribute to achieving your goals.
The components you need for success:
Clearly defined goal(s)
Personal investment (time, resources)
Setting timelines (including milestone points)
Periodical reviewing of stated goal(s) and timelines (as these may change)
Enrolling mentors, motivators and supporters
These five (5) points represent broad themes from which we can derive a goal setting pathway, but do they provide everything needed for success? Let’s explore them individually.
1. Clearly defined goals
Being clear about what the actual goal is sets up a mental and emotional foundation for success through minimising distractive thought (often negative self-talk) that prevents the mind from maintaining a deliberate focus. Spend time writing down what it is you want to achieve and then keep fine tuning this into more specific goal wording. For example, ‘I just want to feel better’ might become ‘I want to achieve improved health in 6 months’.
2. Personal investment
Supporting a personal goal requires committing the necessary time or other resources needed to take action. Merely stating a goal won’t make it successful, and this is true with many other life decisions. People often underestimate how long things take to happen or how much time needs to be dedicated to certain tasks or goals. Planning to resource a goal sufficiently amplifies its potential outcome.
3. Setting timelines
The words ‘implementation and management of goals’ may seem out of context here, but they are important ingredients. The success or failure of any program relies on how it performs and how it’s measured against stated outcomes. Putting in place time-frames (or breakthrough points) provides meaningful check-points for you to then measure whether your action plan is delivering results or whether it requires modification. Without any control processes in place the potential to stray from the goal is increased and the goal action plan’s effectiveness diminishes.
4. Reviewing progress
As mentioned above, these milestone points offer the opportunity to pause and reflect on the goal’s settings. Is it still ‘fit for purpose’? Or has your intention changed? Reviewing or re-stating the goal enhances your commitment and adds the necessary fuel to keep going. Don’t feel as if changing the goal or method is a failure – these changes are actually strengthening and refocusing.
5. Enrolling mentors, motivators and supporters
This is critical to success and it cannot be emphasised enough: being accountable to other people at every stage of your goal assists success. This component alone represents the larger proportion in achieving stated goals, and at the heart of this is good relationships. There should be no surprise that our desire to be seen positively in other people’s eyes is a strong motivator, and it has the potential to lift anyone in performance.
It is also important to make sure you have a cheer squad. Engage with people you value or respect and ask them to support your goal action plan. This itself can be confronting, but this is where your level of intention and commitment will be evident. An early breakthrough here sets in place a progressive pathway of positivity within you that then becomes motivation you can draw from.
In essence, you need to carefully plan your path to success, rather than simply hoping it will materialise. While exploring and documenting the why, what and how of goal setting you will learn about yourself by questioning personal motivations, restrictions, limitations or fears. Your key ingredient is your intention; and the strength of resolve is expressed through your goal action plan. Be your own best advocate and engage others to support your choices and results.
There is no perfect goal action plan or any special path to success, however, the five (5) components explored in this article are collectively very useful tools. Your clear intention and commitment, linked with positive reinforcement from others, will be what makes your New Year’s Resolution goals successful. Good luck!