Setting and keeping goals helps you build a happy life. If you want good things to happen to you, you don’t get them by waiting and hoping, but by making a plan and going after them.
Statistics Brain reports that 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. Of those, only 8 percent succeed in keeping them.
In fact, 24 percent fail on their resolutions year after year.
So if you struggle with goals or resolutions, you’re not alone.
As you’re reading this, it’s probably not New Year’s (the odds being about 364 to 1 against it), but you don’t have to wait for a holiday to start changing your life. A friend of mine sometimes says, “Every day is a new year to 12 months from now.”
What would you like to have accomplished in the next 12 months?
Do I Have To?
One thing that makes achieving goals hard than it has to be is thinking of your goals as something you “have to do” — or too difficult to do.
You can achieve more success more if you realize that goal-setting and goal-achieving can be fun.
Here are three tips for having fun making — and keeping — resolutions, whether at New Year’s or throughout the year.
Three Strategies to Make Goal Setting Fun
1. Adopt a goal that you really want
The most common lifestyle goals are to lose weight, get organized, or to spend less and save more money.
It’s easy to look at those and think “starvation, boredom, and misery.” What a bummer!
If your goal is something you think you should do — or something other people think you should do — you might not have enough reason to follow through.
Take the time to rethink your goal. Ask yourself if you’re really on board with it. (Check out my book, The Power of Goal Setting, for templates and worksheets to help you get started and follow through with your goal setting.)
Maybe you do want to commit to a goal that doesn’t appeal to you, such as quitting smoking or losing weight. In that case, you’ll need to work on changing your feelings and emotions around that goal to help you embrace it fully.
If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for self-sabotage and failure.
2. Get clear on your path.
Once you’ve established your life goal, the next question is what will it take to reach it?
A high-school student in one of my goal-setting workshops wanted to take guitar lessons. She had nagged her parents incessantly, but they didn’t provide the support she felt she needed.
When she got clear on her path, she found a way to buy her guitar and pay for her own lessons, giving her a stronger sense of accomplishment and commitment than she probably would have had if her parents had just given her the lessons.
Here’s how to evaluate what you need to do to achieve your goal:
- What do you need to learn?
- Who will you need to bring onboard for help and/or support?
- What commitment of time and resources will you make?
- What exactly do you want to do? Hint: Not just “lose weight” but “lose 20 pounds.” If you don’t know the finish line, how will you know you’ve won the race?
3. When you achieve your goal, celebrate!
Use short-term and long-term rewards to keep yourself motivated along the way.
When you reach a milestones on your way to your goal, celebrate with a reward that helps you feel how special the occasion is. Have a written list of rewards to choose from. They don’t have to be pricey, just something you enjoy. Here are some rewards that help motivate me:
- Chocolate (very dark and organic — that makes it medicinal)
- Going for a walk
- Spending time with a friend
- Candlelight dinner
- Bubble bath
You can choose bigger rewards for hitting a major milestone or reaching your goal. It might be an evening at the movies, concert tickets, or a day in the outdoors. Keep your list handy so that it can help you stay on track.
Setting and Achieving Your Goals
The key to taking your dreams off Someday Island and getting them on the Road to Success is to make your goals work for you and help yourself work toward your goals.
These suggestions are a small part of my book, The Power of Goal Setting. The book contains a complete program for setting and achieving your goals and resolutions, along with worksheets and templates for goal-setting clarity.
If you know a group or organization with people who would benefit from goal-setting, I can do a workshop. It’s fun and encouraging to be working with others toward powerful goals. In you’re interested, email me about a workshop.
And if you have an important life goal that’s giving you trouble, let’s set up a free strategy session , so that you can make progress. I’m trained as a life coach and hypnotherapist, so I have a number tools to help your goal setting and goal achievement.
Statistics Brain says, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”
Be among the 8 percent who succeed.