Setting goals beyond your resolutions
It’s that time of year again when the majority of people make a set of promises or goals in their lives all in the name of New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, studies have shown that people ditch their New Year’s Resolutions within the first month of setting them. However, the process you follow in reaching the goal holds more weight than simply making a choice to change.
It’s dates like New Year’s Day, your birthday and even Mondays that make people extra motivated to tackle their goals because they feel like they can turn the page on past failures.
Maybe you meant to quit smoking, get fit or start going to bed at a reasonable hour last year and didn’t. A fresh start like New Years lets you relegate those missteps to a past chapter and hope for the best in the new season.
People also often find themselves setting unrealistic goals which are too vague and unattainable.
This year, it’s worth trying again.
According to behavioural scientist Katy Milkman and author of “How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” co-founder of the Behaviour Change for Good Initiative, and the host of Charles Schwab’s “Choiceology” podcast says “You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t attempt it, and a lot of goals worth achieving can be tricky to nail the first time around.”
Therefore, here are five science-based tips for sticking to your resolutions worth trying this year:
1. Make a cue-based plan:
Be sure to detail when and where you’ll
follow through. If your New Year’s resolution is to meditate five days each week, a plan like “I’ll meditate on weekdays” would be too vague. But a cue-based plan like “I’ll meditate at the office on weekdays during my lunch break” would fit the bill.
2. Make it fun:
Most of us strive for efficiency when it comes to achieving our goals and research has shown that focusing on efficiency can leave you high and dry because you’ll neglect an even more important part of the equation: whether you enjoy the act of goal pursuit.
3. Allow for emergencies:
Your stretch goal keeps you motivated, and the ability to declare an “emergency” rather than abandoning your goal altogether keeps you pushing forward after a misstep.
4. Consider a penalty clause:
Facing some penalty if you don’t achieve your New Year’s resolution can work wonders. One easy way to do this is by telling a few people about your goal so you’ll feel ashamed if they check back later and find out you haven’t followed through.
5. Get a little help from your friends:
Spending some time around high achievers can boost your own performance. If your New Year’s resolution is to run a marathon or write a book, you’d be wise to start hanging around friends who’ve made it to the finish line (literally or figuratively) and can show you how it’s done.