The start of a new year is always a time of renewed optimism and motivation to make some changes in our lives. Though, if you are like most, including myself, the enthusiasm often fades quickly and we find it difficult to stick to our resolutions.
If this sounds like you, then don’t worry–here’s your action plan for making (and keeping) a New Year’s Resolution!
No matter what time of year it is, setting new goals is always a great idea. Remember that anything is possible if you have the right mindset and plan in place. This goal setting guide offers you a fresh start in how you think and the act of achieving a better life.
“Since your beliefs determine not only if but how you take action, positive beliefs are more likely to foster actions and attitudes that attract positive outcomes. Likewise, negative beliefs are likely to foster attitudes and actions—or inaction, as the case may be—that run contrary to your desires or stated goals.”Writing for Psychology Today, Steve Sisgold quotes
It’s no surprise that goal setting is one of the best ways to motivate ourselves and steer our life in a positive direction. As women, we all want to make sure we’re living our best lives – but just how important are goals when it comes to making us happier?
Read on for 9 proven tips and tricks on becoming an effective ‘goal setter’ and boosting your overall quality of life.
9 Proven Tips On Setting And Achieving Goals
TIPS ON SETTING AND ACHIEVING GOALS
1. Intention vs. Motivation
Before we discuss goals, it’s essential to understand how important it is plan your goals with intention and desire.
Would you be surprised if I told you that having an intention to accomplish your goal is more important than having the motivation to do so? Research shows that this is true.
A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through.
Meanwhile, people who read motivational material about exercise, but did not plan when and where they would exercise, showed no increase compared to the control group.
As the researchers put it, “Motivation… had no significant effects on exercise behavior.”
Research Shows You Must Have Desire
Words like “motivation”, “willpower”, and “desire” are common place. But the truth is, we all have these things to some degree. If you want to make a change at all, then you have some level of “desire.”
It’s not your level of motivation that determines your desire it’s what turns it into real-world action, but rather how you plan to execute it.
Dr Edwin Locke and Dr Gray Latham spent many years researching the theory of goal setting, during which time they identified five elements that need to be in place for us to achieve our goals.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” But how many of us actually live by that statement? Setting goals can be easy, but following through with them is harder than it looks. That’s because so often we rely on motivation to carry us through our journeys, when in reality we should be relying on intention and desire.
Let’s take a look at why having an intentional attitude is so important when it comes to making progress towards our goals.
Why Intention Matters
Intention is more than just wanting something – it’s about taking actionable steps to make sure you reach your goals. Having an intentional mindset means that you are willing to do whatever it takes to reach your desired outcome.
It means being proactive instead of reactive; setting deadlines and sticking to them; and having the discipline and focus necessary for success. This kind of attitude will take you farther than motivation ever could!
When you have intention with something, it shows dedication and commitment – two traits that are essential if you want to reach any sort of target or dream. It also allows you to stay focused on what matters most, which is the end goal itself.
With intention comes a sense of purpose; without it, we tend to get distracted by shiny objects and other temptations that come our way.
2. Review and Debrief
Successful people don’t set goals blindly. They take time to think about challenges and opportunities. They gather data and insights. And before setting yearly goals, they look back at the year that just ended with curiosity.
What areas of your life do you want to improve? You may want to improve your golf score, get more toned and fit, learn to say “no” more often, have more fun and plan more vacations. Want to start a new business? Don’t forget your professional goals. Evaluate all aspects of your life.
As the year progresses, take time out now and then to reflect on how far you’ve come and whether any adjustments need to be made in order for you to reach your goals. It’s natural for circumstances or priorities to change throughout the course of the year so keep an open mind about what works best for you at any given moment.
Life ebbs and flows, so allow yourself some flexibility when things aren’t going as planned and remember that sometimes taking a step back is just as important as pushing forward!
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
3. Visualize Your Success
Effective goal setting starts with having a clear vision of your goals then work backwards
Look at the big picture of your life . Where you want to be in the long-term. What you value in your career and life. When you meet your goal, how will it change your life for the better?
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”Les Brown
For example: If you wish to drop 10 pounds (a typical new year’s resolution) instead of fixating on how you will lose the weight, focus on how great you will feel pulling on a new pair of blue jeans. Visualize yourself smaller, happier and healthier with glowing skin. Then start working backwards to figure out what you need to do to achieve your weight loss goal. Make sense?
Countless thought leaders, celebrities, athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs use visualization to set goals and reach them. According to studies, mental practices such as imagining yourself having accomplished your goals are more effective than taking action. Our brains are so powerful, mindset habits can be life changing.
Creating a VISION BOARD helps with this process. Cut pictures of out of a magazine that depicts what your life will look like when you achieve a goal. Keep your resolution visible.
Write your vision on sticky notes and post them on your bedroom, bathroom wall, or on your fridge door. Another fun idea is to create a graphic with your vision and use it as a screen-saver.
“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”–Michelangelo
Start dreaming big! Visualization can be an incredibly powerful tool in helping you reach your goals. Take a moment to look ahead into the future — what does success feel like?
Where are you standing when you imagine yourself next year at this same exact point of time? Let your imagination run wild so that come 2023, whatever dream life or project was imagined will become reality.
If you’ve debriefed, thought of the bigger picture and allowed yourself to be ambitious, you’re now ready to get clear on your goals in the same way a super successful person would.
4. Set Bold Goals
Setting big goals is the key to success when it comes to resolutions. Research shows, the bigger the goal, the more likely you will achieve it.
There’s scientific data to back this concept. It’s called Goal Setting Theory, which is based on work done in the 1960s by Dr. Edwin Locke and Dr. Gary Latham. In researching the connection between performance and goals, they determined that there is a strong relationship between how specific a goal is and people’s job performance.
Specific goals lead to better performance than non-specific or easily achievable ones.
“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.”Lou Holtz
That’s the idea behind BHAGs — Big Hairy Audacious Goals, the term Jim Collins and Jerry Porras coined in Built To Last to describe wildly ambitious, if not impossible, organizational goals. (Microsoft’s “A computer on every desk and in every home” is one.)
“The power of the BHAG is that it gets you out of thinking too small. In the end, the purpose of a BHAG is to make your organization better. It forces you to dramatically improve because otherwise you won’t be able to achieve it. It’s a mechanism to stimulate progress.”
Research has shown that breaking larger goals into smaller pieces makes them more achievable and increases the likelihood that you’ll actually stick with them. Avoid setting a vague goal, it’s useless. If you are seeking positive changes in your life, be specific with your choice of words and vision of the main goal you want to achieve.
Setting goals isn’t just about the result, but also about the experiences and lessons we learn along the way. Life will happen to us no matter what plans and goals we set for it. And many times we will have to change our plans and goals, not exactly as we initially wished to. It’s life.
5. Get it on paper- Write Down Your Goals
Strong goals are results-based and supported by a plan. No matter if you have short-term goals or long-term resolutions, get it on paper where you can review it often.
There is a personal commitment at play when we physically write down our goals. A goal is embedded in your mind and subconsciously your brain is looking for every opportunity to work on achieving the goal. The written goal also gives you a place to refer back to if you are having a challenging time.
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”–Bear Bryant
For example, let’s say that you want to buy a house this year. That’s your end result. Anything you do in the pursuit of buying a home (make sure your credit is good, do your research, get a loan approved) is part of the execution.
6. Find An Accountability Partner
Having someone who will check in on your progress regularly is one of the best ways to stay on track with your goal-setting. This could be family members, friends, a boss or even support groups .
No matter who is, having someone who will hold you accountable can help keep your motivation high and make sure you don’t fall off track. Plus, it can be really helpful to have someone who understands what you’re going through and can provide support when things get tough!
7. Give Yourself A Deadline To Achieve Measurable Goals
Setting goals for yourself helps focus effort, find purpose and motivation in achieving them, and measure your progress along the way. Bottom line is if you want better results- figure out a way to measure your specific goals.
This way you can watch your progress and success rates in the process. This will help define your action steps and determine if you are on the right track and have chances of success.
But how exactly do you set achievable goals? By following helpful steps like creating benchmarks with deadlines and measurement tools, In this blog post, we are going to discuss simple ways for you to set clear deadlines and develop effective measurements that will help accomplish any of your short or long-term pursuits.
Quote from John Doerr “I’d never worked at a place where you wrote down your goals, much less where you could see everybody else’s, on up to the CEO. I found it illuminating, a beacon of focus. And it was liberating, too. When people came to me mid-quarter with requests to draft new data sheets, I felt I could say no without fear of repercussion. My OKRs backed me. They spelt out my priorities for all to see.”
8. Reward Yourself
Remember that reaching your goals should be fun as well as challenging! Give yourself rewards along the way–they don’t have to be big or expensive, just something that will make you feel accomplished and motivated when things get tough.
It could be something as simple as watching an episode of your favorite show or taking yourself out for lunch–whatever works best for you! It’s time to throw a big party!
9. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you slip up or lose track of your goals, don’t beat yourself up about it. Treat the setback as a learning experience and use it to help move you forward. Don’t be afraid of change, change is good for us.
At the end of the day, making (and keeping) New Year’s Resolutions isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be daunting either! Take small steps towards achieving your goals, find an accountability partner, treat yourself along the way, and remember that life isn’t always linear so give yourself room for adjustment if needed – You’ve got this! Here’s wishing all my fellow women out there a happy new year filled with success in 2023!