While many people set goals, few actually follow through.
In fact, according to Psychology Today, one in three people give up their New Year’s resolutions within a month, with less than half making it past six months.
What’s the reason behind this high drop-out rate? Is the commitment more than most can handle?
It turns out that it’s less about our ability to commit, and more about our motivation. Being able to follow through with a goal starts during the goal setting process itself. Setting clear goals –ones that are worth pursuing, and laying the foundation for success will drastically increase your chances of reaching your objectives.
Let’s look at five tricks that will help you to set goals in a way that will set you up for achievement.
1. Choose Your Goals Wisely
First of all, make sure you choose worthy goals. There’s no point in wasting time or energy setting goals that won’t hold up when the pressure’s on. Make sure your goals are things that you want –and are passionate about, not things that others think you should do. You’re the only one who can decide for yourself which goals are worthy, so make sure you choose things that will bring you satisfaction.
2. Be Clear
Research shows the benefits of setting specific goals over vague ones. Goals that are too vague are harder to work towards. You won’t be able to visualize the results as easily, so you will be less driven to devote time and resources to them. So be clear. Instead of saying “I’d like to be healthy,” a more effective strategy would be to pinpoint an exact goal, something that you can quantify or see, such as, “I will lose 20 pounds,” or, “I will work out for 6 hours per week.” This will also make it easier to track your progress, which in turn, can spur you on. You’ll also want to ensure that you write your goals down. It may seem insignificant, but putting things down on paper can help to cement them in your mind, causing you to take them more seriously.
3.Make Sure They’re Realistic
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s important to ensure that it’s achievable. This doesn’t mean that you should never aim high, but it’s important to look at your goals in an objective way, and ask yourself if it’s something that you can realistically do. For instance, there’s no point in setting a target to lose 10 pounds in 10 days; it just won’t happen. If your goal isn’t feasible, go back to the drawing board, and try to work out a way to make it more doable. Maybe you just need more time, or perhaps you’ll have to make some sacrifices. If it’s worth doing, try to find a way to make it happen.
4.Map It Out
Once you’ve set your goal, it’s important to map out your plan to make it happen. Breaking your goal up into actionable and manageable steps will help to keep you on track. For smaller things, this could be something that’s as simple as blocking out time in your schedule to work out. More involved goals though –like starting your own business, for example, will require careful planning, and writing down everything that you need to do to reach your goal.
5.Give Yourself Deadlines
After you’ve broken your goals up into do-able steps, you’ll want to assign timeframes to those tasks. Having targets is the best way to ensure that things will get done. Without deadlines, it’s easy for tasks to get pushed aside in favor of other issues, but having dates assigned to your tasks will keep you on track, allowing you to hold yourself accountable, and increasing your chances of reaching your goal.
Setting goals is the easy part; following through is where things get challenging. But by laying the groundwork ahead of time, you’ll be able to set goals that are worth reaching –and will get yourself off to a great start –on track for success.