Many of us use the start of the New Year to set new goals. Yet despite our best intentions, we often find it hard to stick to them.
The reason why many of our New Year’s goals fizzle out so fast has less to do with a lack of willpower but with the way we pick and pursue our goals.
Let’s hear from three experts on how you can optimize your chances of successfully reaching your ambitions for 2019:
1. Be clear about the “why”
People often fail to reach their goals because they are not passionate about them in the first place. Venture capitalist and goal-setting mentor John Doerr has found that people whose goals are aligned with what they consider to be their higher purpose in life are more likely to reach them.
“Truly transformational teams combine their ambitions to their passion and to their purpose, and they develop a clear and compelling sense of why.”
2. Reach for the stars – wholeheartedly
When it comes to goal-setting, leadership consultant Mark Murphy has discovered something that seems almost counter-intuitive: Goals fizzle out not because they are too difficult, but because they don’t challenge us enough. Only goals that are demanding will fire us up enough for us do everything we can to achieve them. Murphy advocates for a holistic goal-setting approach that engages not just the mind but also the heart. He encourages us to pick goals that are HARD:
• “Heartfelt”– create goals you can emotionally connect with.
• “Animated”– make your goals come alive by visualizing in detail how it will feel when you have reached them.
• “Required”– create a sense of urgency by visualizing your goals so frequently that your inpatient brain will start wanting it now.
• “Difficult”– only goals that are difficult will keep you engaged and motivated to do whatever it takes to achieve them.
3. Make a plan and track your progress
Murphy suggests you set an end date for your goal, as well as monthly, weekly, and daily mileposts. In Finish – Give Yourself the Gift of Done, bestselling author Jon Acuff elaborates on the theme of how to break down goals into manageable chunks to make them look less daunting. Acuff has identified perfectionism as one of the main obstacles that keep us from pursuing our goals.
“This goes against every sappy motivational statement…but if you dream too big at the start, you curse your finish.”
By translating your goals into modest and easily reachable daily and monthly objectives, you are more likely to keep working at them as you celebrate your mini-successes along the way. Acuff also recommends keeping a log of your progress – whether that means tracking the money you spend, miles you run, or pounds you lose. This will allow you to back up your incremental steps toward your goal with solid data.
Give these goal-setting strategies a try – and let the year 2019 be a successful one!