Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Years Resolutions - Goal Setting For 2012

It's that time of year again.  Aside from topping the tree, attending office holiday parties, and spending time with friends and family - it's time to start thinking about New Years Resolutions for 2012.  Reflecting on another year past, while making mental notes of all we hope to accomplish this coming year, is almost as much of a tradition as the holidays themselves.  Before you break out the white board, unwrap this bit of information:  88% of resolutions are not kept and accomplished.

Why is it that 9 out of 10, who set out whole heartily expecting to accomplish more in the next calendar year, simply don't see it through?  There's several reasons:

  • Time - A goal without a deadline is just a pipe dream.  Treat goals like you would treat a task on an agenda.  
  • Size - Some goals are too big for us to wrap our heads around.  You've got to break it down into smaller chunks.  Instead of saying "I'm going to lose 25 pounds!" Try, "I'm going to lose 5 pounds over the next 30 days."  Then replicate that over the next five months.
  • Lack of a Plan - It's easy to come up with ideas and goals.  They're fun, exciting, and give us hope.  Coming up with an actual plan to accomplish them - not as much.  However, it's the plan that's the road map to getting you from where you are, to where you hope to be.
  • Discipline - Maybe the biggest contributor to why we treat our goals like scrap wrapping paper thrown to the side is because we lack the discipline to stick with it to the very end.  You have twelve months to accomplish these goals, yet most of us give up before the ice starts melting.
  • Review & Reward - Rarely is a meaningful goal accomplished in one fell swoop.  It's a process.  How do we know if we're getting any closer towards a resolution if we don't regularly give ourselves a status update?  Review your progress weekly, and reward yourself along the way for making positive strides.
  • Keeping it a Secret - The goal you don't accomplish that nobody knows about isn't as big of a deal.  Write it down, share it with those closest to you, who can offer support, and be accountable to someone other than yourself.

Giving yourself a "clean slate" is a great way to give hope and promise to a New Year.  I'm a huge believer in writing down what you want to accomplish, I just don't agree with HOW people set New Year's Resolutions.  Don't wait twelve months to give yourself a clean slate.  Do it EVERY WEEK.

I set Weekly Resolutions.  Chalk it up to this generations short attention span, but setting a goal that stretches out over 365 days is too far out for me to stay focused.  Give yourself a few targets within eyeshot, and a week in which to accomplish it, and watch how much easier it is to stay focused.

Instead of trying to lose a lot of weight - aim to lose two pounds this week.  Or, if your goal is to get out of debt, for example, make it your goal to pay a certain amount each week towards the balance.  If you're trying to improve a relationship, do something each week that will strengthen that bond.  

I often hear sales professionals set goals of making more money this year than they did in the previous.  Look, earning an extra $20,000 this year is biting off more than most can chew.  But doing a little bit more each week, with a plan to increase quarter-by-quarter, makes it much more manageable.  If it's a large goal, break it down to a smaller goal.....and then break it down again.....and then again, and again.  The smaller you make a meaningful goal seem, the more confident you become towards accomplishing it.

Set New Year's Resolutions during any lulls over the next few weeks.  But don't cast too wide of a net.  Put a weekly plan in place, and manage that plan each day, and 2012 could be your best year yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment