How To Create Lifelong Goals, Not Just Temporary Resolutions
Written by: Janet Early
Okay, you’re a month into 2017 now. Perhaps you made some New Year’s resolutions – maybe some have stuck and maybe some… have not.
Well, you’re not alone. Many people make resolutions that are designed for failure.
Research suggests that 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8% of Americans achieve success. So, why the super low success rate?
Here are the biggest reasons resolutions fail:
1. Making way too many. Wanting to learn French, write a novel, travel the world and learn to cook are admirable goals… but thinking you’ll accomplish them all at once is not realistic. Instead of making many resolutions, pick one and give it your all.
2. Being unrealistic. Aiming to become a millionaire by February when you barely make rent each month is impractical. Instead of making unlikely, idealistic goals, choose something that you can reasonably accomplish in a year. The ideal goal should be challenging, but attainable with hard work and dedication.
3. Not planning. When you design a roadmap for your goal, it sets you up for a successful arrival. After you choose a goal, write down steps outlining how you will achieve it. For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds, sketch out a reasonable diet and exercise plan on paper (when you will exercise, what you will buy at the grocery store, etc.).
4. Starting out too hard. When you make a new goal, you begin with a certain level of motivation, determination and willpower. That willpower has a limit. If you start out too hard (i.e. run 20 miles each day during the first week), you will burn yourself out really quickly. Instead, take it slowly. Realize that goals are achieved through endurance and commitment, not short-lived bursts of energy.
5. Not committing. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, people who “explicitly make resolutions” are 10x more likely to be successful compared to people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Therefore, if you half-ass your resolution from the start (i.e. use vague language to define your goal or halfheartedly pick one out), you set yourself up to fail. To increase your chances of success, write down your resolution on paper or tell a friend about your goal. Actively declaring your goal is motivating because it helps make you more accountable for its success.
Maybe the resolutions you made a month ago no longer suit you. That’s okay! It’s never too late to change them. After all, only you can take charge of your life.
In order to create your ideal, success-oriented resolution, ask yourself these questions:
- How do you want your life next February to be different than your life this February? Think about how you wish your world would look 52 weeks from now in specific, detailed language. This will help clarify what your true priorities are.
- What single skill do you wish you had that you don’t right now? Think deeply about what skill would be an asset to have in your personal and professional journeys. Fill in this blank: “Being good at ____ would make my life so much easier.”
- How could you increase your energy and sense of focus in order to accomplish what’s truly important to you? If you feel good, you accomplish more. Consider how you can fortify your body and mind every day, in ways like getting more sleep or eating a more nutrient-dense diet.
Take some time to meditate on these and even journal about them. Writing out your thoughts can help you get a better grasp on what’s going on inside your head and help give you some clarity about what you’re looking for.
Best of luck on your resolution journey!
What are some goals you made this year and how’s the journey going? Please share below!
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Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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