Many of us use the beginning of a new year to take inventory of where we are and where we want to be in our personal lives and in our careers. In fact, nearly 40% of Americans participate in making New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions often address a multitude of themes in our lives: health, relationships, travel, and work.
So what exactly are resolutions, and why do they matter?
Simply, New Year’s resolutions are determined intentions with an end goal of self or organizational development. They are actions–or inactions–we prescribe for ourselves at the start of a new year in order to better ourselves in our work and our life. Well-made resolutions can be key elements in both our short- and long-term success.
Despite the amount of potential resolutions can possess in helping us achieve our goals, a recent study found the average resolution is abandoned after just 3.74 months. Though the dissolution or drop-off date for New Year’s resolutions can vary from person to person, the second Friday in January has often been labeled “Quitters Day.” What’s more, January 17 is also officially known as “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.”
These new “dissolution days” prove how often and how quickly we tend to abandon our good intentions. So how can we ensure we fulfill our New Year’s Resolutions this year? By practicing these 5 tips to prevent the dissolution of your personal and professional intentions:
1. Structure the time frame of your goals to create a “sense of urgency”
Consider dividing your annual goals into quarterly or monthly tasks with clear and actionable end goals. Also, try adopting 4 ten-week quarters for both your lifestyle and livelihood goals. These bite-size targets help create a “do it now” mindset and slow down the tendency to push things off into the future. Stick to three initiatives per quarter to improve the odds you’ll stay F.O.C.U.S.E.D.--that is, Follow One Course Until Successful Every Day.
2. Create S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals
Recent research from PLoS One suggests that action-oriented goals are more likely to result in success after a year than avoidance-oriented goals. Likewise, goals that are too lofty tend to lose our attention while unclear or indeterminate goals are nearly impossible to complete. The kinds of goals we set matter. When crafting a goal, make it a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. one—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound, Enjoyable, Rewarding. Crafting a goal with these elements in mind allows us to more easily see our progress, and inevitably achieve our intended outcome.
3. Start with your Lifestyle goals
Our lifestyle goals tend to be the goals most important to us, and most important to our personal and professional growth. By turning our focus to these goals first, we can more easily see where we want to be this year, and what we need to do to get there. To cultivate your lifestyle goals, focus on the 8 Fs: Faith, Family, Friends, Fame, Fortune, Fitness, Fun, and Fulfillment.
4. Follow with your Livelihood goals
Once you’ve created specific lifestyle goals, you can begin to clarify your livelihood goals. Think of it this way: your livelihood goals (advancement, certifications, compensation, education, mastery, professional development, promotion, etc.) can finance your lifestyle goals. It’s important for your lifestyle and livelihood goals to align with each other to help you set goals and strive for outcomes that are achievable. For a more in-depth exploration of lifestyle and livelihood goals, view our “Lifestyle and Livelihood Goals” Worksheet.
5. Own the reasons your goal is important to you
Merely writing down a goal isn’t enough to ensure its achievement. Research in psychology and goal-setting theory suggests that focusing on the reasons why a goal is important can significantly enhance motivation and increase the overall likelihood of achieving that goal. If you want to fulfill your New Year’s Resolutions, try the “Magic Card” process. Using a 3x5 index card, write your SMARTER Goal or resolution at the top. Then, write 5 to 7 reasons why that goal is important to you.
Read and reflect on these reasons 10 to 20 times a day–or any time you begin to feel the weight of change bearing down on you. If a goal is important enough to you, you’ll find a way to get it done. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.
New Year’s Resolutions can be powerful tools in your journey to success. By practicing these 5 tips, you can prevent the dissolution of your goals, and strive toward personal and professional growth. The road to your best self is often uncomfortable, and we may find ourselves giving up our resolutions. Keep this in mind, though: June 1st is now known as “Re-commitment Day”. Let this date serve as a reminder that it’s never too late to pick yourself back up, and keep moving to the best version of yourself.
© 2023 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.