When January comes and everyone gets the urge to start fresh, set goals, and jump in headfirst into making BIG changes. But here is the thing, most of these well-intentioned goals do not last. Here’s why, and hopefully we can learn from past mistakes and actually make these New Year’s resolutions stick long term.
First, we have to define what a goal is. There’s a quote that I love because it frames it so well. In the wise words of author Greg Ried “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true”.Goals set measurable steps, milestones, and behaviors that will get you to where you want to be.
This is one of the issues with New Year’s resolutions. More often than not New Year’s resolutions are dream statements like “ I want to get a six-pack this year” “I want to get healthy” or “I want to work out every day”. This is a great place to start, yet the next step is less often taken. The next skip is to question your current self and situation. Let’s take the goal to get a six-pack, for example, ask yourself questions like:
Why do you want the six-pack?
What will it take to get a six-pack?
What SPECIFIC exercise will give you a six-pack?
What is your current fitness level?
Do you need to go to the gym?
Is there a gym close to you?
What is the reward you are going to get by getting a six-pack?
Will this reward be worth the months of hard work, dieting, missing social events, time spent working out… not eating ice cream, or drinking beer regularly?
How do you plan to motivate yourself?
Do you have a detailed plan, that the CURRENT you can stick to? For how long will you be able to stick to this plan?
Once you have reached your goal do you want to keep up this habit for the long term?
Even the best-laid plans aren’t bulletproof, life has the habit of throwing curveballs. Yet having a plan can help with the small bumps in the road, and having a detailed plan can help you when you get off track or get unstuck.
Don’t know where to start with writing a detailed plan?
Check out the handout link below. I have used it with my clients to help them turn their dreams into goals with a plan. This handout guides you to think through your goal, the habits you need to reach that goal, finding your why, and a plan for when you get off track.
This can be the year you turn your dreams into reality, with a detailed plan.