You probably made several New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of this year, whether through casually thought, joking about them during a social gathering, or diligently writing them down - with every intention to keep them. Unfortunately, it often takes only a couple of months for these resolutions to fall by the wayside and old habits to return.
If you are truly determined to follow through with your goals and make them a reality in 2014, the following coaching tips will help you succeed.
Are you intellectually or emotionally committed to your aspirations? Unless you have a real emotional attachment to the achievement of a goal – knowing, deep in your heart that you have to make a change – it won’t happen.
For example, if you want to work fewer hours, you need to know exactly why
leaving work by 6pm three times a week is important to you. You must also attach yourself to the pain
you will cause yourself, your family, your colleagues, your customers and your organization if you don’t allow yourself adequate time to rest and recharge.
Assess each of your New Year’s resolutions honestly and with a critical eye. Give each one a score from 1 to 10, based on your level of commitment to its achievement, with 10 being totally committed and 1 being not at all committed. If any of your resolutions have a commitment score of less than 8, ask yourself if there is anything you are willing to do to push the score higher. Unless your commitment scores are 9 or 10 out of 10, it is doubtful that it will last past spring.
Be clear about what you want
Being able to clearly envision what your achievements will look like helps you follow through with your resolutions. Remember the acronym SMART. Goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Note down, in detail, next to each of your resolutions how you will know when you have achieved your goal. What will you see, hear or feel?
Practicality in this context means committing to a realistic number of resolutions. It is better to have 3 achievable goals than 10 idealistic but ultimately unrealistic ones. Overwhelming yourself with too many goals will result in you spreading your energy in too many directions – leaving you with no energy to complete any of them to the desired standard. I suggest that you focus on a maximum of 3 goals or key themes with specific sub-goals under each theme.
Psychologists tell us that it typically takes 21 repetitions before something becomes embedded in our psyche as a spontaneous habit. Be aware of this fact and make sure that you give yourself at least 21 opportunities to take action and ingrain the desired habit.
Ask for support
Evidence shows that even those with the best intentions and highest motivation still benefit greatly from the support of others when trying to follow through with their resolutions.
By sharing your goals with a friend (one person for all 3 resolutions, or 3 separate people holding you accountable for one resolution each), you will be far more likely to stay the course and persist until you succeed. After choosing the appropriate person for each of your resolutions, speak with him/her about your commitment, sharing how you’ll know that you’ve been successful, and tell him/her that you will need their help to hold you accountable to your ‘21 opportunities to take action’.
May 2014 is your opportunity to break new ground and make your dreams come true!
This article was published in the Business Woman Magazine