At the beginning of every year, millions of people create New Year’s resolutions. Whether their goal is to get a promotion, be more organized, eat healthy, or even travel more, the results are still the same. According to University of Scranton research, only 8% of people who make resolutions actually are successful in achieving their goals. If you are one of the 8%, this article is not for you—it’s for the rest of us underachievers! So you didn’t achieve the goals you set at the beginning of 2014? That’s okay. Here’s what you do next.
Evaluate Your Goal-Setting Process
Goals are imperative to becoming a better version of yourself. As a leader, you need to be constantly growing, and setting goals are a big part of that. But, maybe you’re establishing the wrong goals. Take a moment to revisit the list of resolutions you made at the beginning of the year. How many, if any, did you achieve? What is the fundamental difference between the goals you accomplished and the ones you failed to see to fruition? Chances are the group of goals you had success with was the one that contained attainable resolutions with clear-cut guidelines and sufficient purposes to accomplish them. Don’t underestimate the power of motivation. “Become financially successful” or “become a better leader” aren’t easily defined goals. Finding traction to get going on fulfilling those is nearly impossible. Write out exactly what you want and need to do or be. Additionally, write out why you want to achieve the certain goals. The “why” will help you when the will to achieve is gone.
Goals vs. Systems
Though many have been setting goals their entire lives, it may actually be a poor way of looking at growth. According to James Clear, writer, entrepreneur, and behavior science expert, “when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.” He explains it as the difference between goals and systems. For example, if you are a business manager, your goal could be to effectively lead your team to adequately support the company’s mission. Your system is what you need to do each and every day to delegate tasks and projects between employees, as well as manage internal issues that may arise to ensure the success of your team. An easier approach would be that of an athlete. “If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon,” Clear explains. “Your system is your training schedule for the month.” When creating the goals you want to achieve in the new year, create a system for each goal. Though it may seem tedious, it ensures that you have the tools necessary to be successful.
The Fluid Resolution
One of the hardest aspects of failure is the inner monologue. Many people are their own worst critic, so when they don’t meet a goal they set for themselves, they disenfranchise themselves and become disillusioned. Give yourself a break this new year. When reevaluating the goals you didn’t meet this year, determine if they are necessary in the first place. Sometimes, we don’t know when to give up on certain goals. Your resolutions should be a fluid document that changes throughout the year as you grow. For example, if you realize one goal is unobtainable, modify it to be something you can actually work toward and experience some success. Moreover, if you have a goal you meet early in the year, cross it off and up the ante to something harder to attain. New Year’s resolutions are important for growth, but if it isn’t something you live out day-in and day-out, it won’t do you any good in the long term. Let it be a flexible goal system that you constantly look at and live out.
Creating annual goals are important. In fact, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t actually specifically write them out, according to the University of Scranton. But what’s more important is the importance of growth or change in one’s life, which is the purpose of New Year’s resolutions. If you didn’t achieve your goals this year, don’t fret. Reevaluate your process, rewrite your goals, create a system, and constantly update it. This year could be the year you finally are able to check off each resolution when December 31 comes around again.
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