I love to spend this time between Christmas and New Year, “betwixtmas”, planning for the year ahead and making my New Year's resolutions. A fresh new year, a whole 12 months of possibility, what’s not to get excited about? But - only about 8% of people actually see out their resolutions throughout the year. So what’s the difference that makes the difference? How can we make New Year's resolutions that stick? Here are 7 tried and tested ways…
You need to be clear about what your goal actually is, what does success look like to you? How can you measure it? Having metrics that you can tick off is a helpful way of being able to track your progress and will be a source of motivation. Make your goal specific and measurable.
Setting yourself a stretch goal will help spark interest and keep you motivated. Something that will feel worthwhile, act as a source of pride and give you a sense of achievement once fulfilled.
Over time your motivation will subside and the shiny newness of the goal will meet the reality of day-to-day life. This is where many of our goals fail, we often just don’t want them enough, maybe because we’ve set ourselves a goal but it's actually for someone else, doing what others or society expects of us rather than what’s really in our hearts.
So once you're clear on your goal, ask yourself why is this important to me? And then once you’ve got that answer, ask again why is that important to me? Keep asking until you get to an emotional and compelling 'why' so that your commitment is strong enough to see you through. If you can’t get to an emotional 'why' get a better goal that makes you feel like you want to move mountains to make it happen.
Write it down
Something pretty amazing happens when we put pen to paper and write down our goals. According to a study by Dr Gail Matthews, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down regularly. Just thinking about our goals only activates the right hemisphere of our brains, but writing it down triggers the left hemisphere, with both parts of the brain activated a signal is sent to our subconscious to seek out opportunities for the fulfilment of our goals. The more often we write our goals down, the more frequently the signal is sent and the more aware we become of the opportunities to fulfil those goals. Writing them down often also gives us more clarity and they remain more at the forefront of our minds.
It’s important to check in regularly, weekly or monthly, and reflect on our progress. What’s going well? How can you repeat this success? What’s not working? How can you adjust to improve your progress? Schedule time in your calendar for reflection.
Taking action will bring clarity and it’s the difference between having a goal and having a result. Break down your goal into small actionable steps and then do them. You may come up against resistance, it’s normal when you’re in new territory, but keep making progress towards your goal regardless. Give yourself permission to do it imperfectly, remember - progress over perfection!
The likelihood that you will transform your desires into reality goes up even further if you share your written goals with a friend or accountability partner who believes in your ability to succeed.
Make sure it’s someone who is supportive and not a naysayer who will take the wind out of your sails! In work and our home lives, there are people around to keep us accountable, we have to show up for our work and those who rely on us, sometimes it’s much harder to show up for the goals we set just for ourselves so having someone in your corner cheerleading you on can be the difference that makes the difference!
I really encourage you to set aside some time, get clear on your goals, break it down into actions and find someone to cheerlead you on. If you’re in need of an accountability partner and support with your goals and action taking check out my Facebook and Instagram pages. My accountability group starts on January 2nd and it could be the final piece of the puzzle to lead you to success.
Whatever you do, I wish you a joyful and purpose-filled 2023!
Katy is a life coach who runs goal-setting courses and accountability groups to help people live their lives fully expressed and on purpose.