Set Goals, Not New Year's Resolutions

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We are just over a week into the new year. This year has barely started – and it’s full of opportunity! And yet most people who made them have already abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, only 9% of people who set out to make New Year’s Resolutions feel that they followed through and kept them.

New Year’s resolutions make sense in a way. The new year is an easy starting place for a goal. It’s the first part of the calendar year, and who wouldn’t want to dreamily look back at the end of the year to find 12 full months of success? It sure sounds appealing. And yet the vast majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t succeed in following through on them.

I’m not on board with the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Not entirely anyway. I teach on – and believe in – goal setting, achieving, striving for more, planning, and thinking big.

But I don’t think one should pigeonhole themselves into having one single timeline for their success.

For example, if someone makes a New Year’s Resolution and then misses the mark somewhere, it’s easy for them to abandon the rest of the year as a failure, vowing to pick up the pieces and start again the following year.

In the meantime, the other 355 days of the year end up being missed opportunities!

Success happens with personal growth, gaining new information, setting goals and working to achieve them. All of those things can certainly happen starting January 1st. But the best news is they can happen any time of the year!

If you want to create change in your life, you simply need to do it, and you don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to make it happen. What you need instead is a goal, and a plan to achieve it.

So, how do you set yourself up for success in a goal setting?

  1. Write them down. Goals cannot be simply imagined. You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals simply by writing them. Putting goals in writing gives them direction, and forces you to clarify what you want. Clarification prompts action, and getting started on the path towards your goal is easier.
  1. Be S.M.A.R.T. You may have heard of the SMART acronym to describe goal setting. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. Each of these is important, but they still allow you to think big!
  1. Be accountable to someone. Certainly it is possible to accomplish your goals flying solo, but it’s not Having an accountability partner increases your performance. It helps make sure your follow through is consistent if you start to slip. And it means that there are more invested in this goal than just you.
  1. Have an actual picture of your end goal. Your subconscious responds to visual cues. So give it something to look at! Giving your mind a picture of what you want will put your subconscious to work for you in powerful ways that science doesn’t even fully understand! When the mind knows what it wants, it sets out to achieve it.
  1. Just do something. We all have days that we miss the mark. You don’t always need to do everything perfectly – but do something!

You can create change, set goals, and achieve far more than you ever thought, and you can do that anytime you choose to. But it’s a choice, and you have to do it. So you can choose to make 2017 your best year yet – then do it!

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