New Year, New You. It is never too late | Realistic goal setting

Yes it is that time of year again when everyone is talking about New Years Resolutions.  Whether you have made yours already or not here are 3 easy tips that will guarantee success.  All you have to do is put them in to practice.  Sounds easy right?

The only difference between “Try” and “Triumph” is a little “umph”, so put a little “umph” in your life

Remember it is never too late to decide that you want a change something, whether is it your size and shape, your job, your wealth, your partner of your life.  Although these tips are about New Years Resolutions and how to make them a reality, think of them as tips for life and I hope you will decide to use them all the year through.

TIP 1: Write it down on paper and then track your progress

I know, people often tell you to write it down and possibly this is stating the obvious, but do you know how many people then bother to actually then go ahead and do it?  Unfortunately very few studies prove that writing down goals enhances goal achievement.

What happens when you write down your resolutions or goals?

  • It frees your mind from constantly having to remember your goals.
  • It stimulates creativity and allows you to think about the next step.

How to write goals?

  1. Think about the areas of your life where you want to set goals, for example, health and fitness, relationships, family, career and business.
  2. Write your goals down on a big clean piece of paper and use different colours to highlight different areas of your life.
  3. Add more details to each of your goals.  Mind maps are great for this.
  4. Set a timeline for your goals and make sure it is achievable
  5. Work out the steps to achieving your goal and write those down too
  6. Maybe each step breaks down into smaller steps as you add more details
  7. Repeat everything until you’ve unloaded everything in your mind.

Doing everything at once is a common reason why people often do not succeed with their New Year resolutions.

So now you have everything you need to go and write your goals, but of course the work does not stop there.  Now you have all your goals written down in detail, start thinking about how to ensure you keep them in the forefront of your mind and keep on track.  The best way to do this is to make a weekly or monthly to do list, including all those things that you will complete in that time period to achieve your goals.  The other key is keep a diary of your successes and the times when you stray.  Writing down the successes will motivate you and keep you on track. Writing down those times when you stray will help you understand the circumstances which cause you to stray in the first place. This will enable you to build strategies to avoid them in the future.  Remember, you are human and life is about enjoyment too.  Allow yourself to learn from those times and notch them up to experience.

TIP 2: Keep it Simple, Repeat it Often

The key to success, when you are making changes in your life or doing something new, is to map out the most simple steps possible and focus on just one step at a time.  Doing everything at once is a common reason why people often do not succeed with their New Year resolutions.  Yes, I know you probably want to change quite a few things but this can often lead to feeling completely overwhelmed.

Give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed by just choosing one thing to change.  Then change just that one thing.  For example, if you are looking to change your eating habits and start working out at the gym with a view to losing weight, then just change your breakfast for a couple of weeks, then change your snacks for a couple of weeks.  Start at the gym just once a week and build up gradually.  This way you are slowly changing things at a manageable pace and you can substitute and experiment with what works for you as you go along.

Ask yourself what is the smallest, most meaningful change I can make and do that first.  Small means acheivable.  If you have already done your goal setting in enough detail then choosing a couple of small steps to start with should be very easy.

The other part of choosing the steps is repetition.  As human beings we are creatures of habit and by repeating something often enough makes it part of our regular routine.  For most people the magic number is 5.  If you have done it 5 times or more it will become part of the routine.  Once you have chosen that small change and you have repeated it several times then it will become second nature and you are ready to choose the next step on your list towards achieving success.

TIP 3: Make it Fun

Of all the tips this is probably the most important.  Find new and imaginative ways to make achieving your goals fun.  If they are about health and fitness then perhaps find a training buddy, or get someone to be in competition with.  If it is business goals then how can you make achievement fun – by setting up regular rewards and recognitions perhaps?  Remember measurement = motivation in many cases.

If you are succeeding but are unhappy then revisit your goals.

Maybe for you changing things and keeping things fresh is the key.  Of course all of these things take effort on your part but if you really want something then you are motivated towards getting it and will take the steps necessary.  This tip is about keeping that motivation and energy throughout so that you continue to achieve and continue to succeed in all that you do.  Being able to review your successes will also keep you motivated and will be fun to read when you are perhaps having a day when you are struggling a little.

Having fun is also about remembering to live life to the full at the same time.  If you are succeeding but are unhappy then revisit your goals.  Did you remember to put is some goals around personal development or work life balance?  Does your to do list have time for going to the cinema, reading a book or spending time with the family?  What makes your life fun and worthwhile and how can you include that fun into the things that you now want to focus on achieving in your life?

So here are your 3 tips for failure proofing your New Year Resolutions

  1. Make it conscious
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Make it fun

Ok, now it is over to you.  Remember the only difference between “Try” and “Triumph” is a little “umph”, so put a little “umph” in your life and make all your dreams come true.

By  Alison Charles


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