New Year Resolutions

finish line

This time of year, many of us are reflecting on the past twelve months and deciding where we want to go over the next twelve.  Whether you are a proponent of New Year’s resolutions or not, this is the time to take stock and make some goals leading to the outcome you want to see this time of year in 2016.

New Year’s resolutions or not, you need to go into 2016 with a plan.  If you have no plan, how will you get to your desired destination? Obviously, you will be more successful if you plot a course for your desired destination. Furthermore, HOW you set these goals will contribute to your success.

Goal setting techniques have changed!  The old belief that you set one year, three year and five year plans has been replaced with new brain research backed success strategies that recommend shorter duration, ‘chunked’ targets with daily action items. With technology changing at break neck speeds, how could you possibly believe that one year, three year or even five year goals won’t be impacted?  Psychologically, smaller targets with daily action items increases the urgency while maintaining the perception of progress necessary to keep us engaged and prevent goal abandonment. Moreover, success in small daily items compounds resulting in larger gains toward your goal.

This year, change your goal setting by doing this:

  1. WRITE it down.
  2. BREAK it down.
  3. CONFRONT obstacles.

WRITE it down.

Studies show that when you write down your goals versus just making them, you are more successful.  (Try visualizing success as well!) Writing down your goals is concrete. “This year, I will ……”  Similar to learning techniques encompassing the three main processing types including tactical, aural, and visual designed to engage the whole brain, the physical action of writing down a goal triggers different areas in the brain than would be activated by simply deciding on a goal.  Additionally, seeing that goal in writing – in the first person – gives ownership – and responsibility – toward reaching that goal. Put some skin in the game – write down your goal!

BREAK it down.

Break it down into daily, weekly, and monthly milestones up to a 90 day limit! Setting vague goals beyond 90 days lessens the impact and urgency of the goal.  By chunking it down into small, focused increments, you can select one to three actions to undertake immediately.  Select the most important action that moves you toward your goal daily.  Accomplishing one task each day is easier than shooting randomly at a target 90 days out. By achieving one action item each day, you compound your success making great strides toward your goal faster!

CONFRONT obstacles.

Like every dieter knows, you must clear out the usual suspects (For me it is chocolate (duh!) and Mexican tortilla chips, not necessarily together!) before starting a diet or you may succumb in a weak moment.  It is the same with goals.  To be more successful in achieving your goals, you should list your perceived blockages so you can prepare a counter strategy to defeat the goal breaking offenders before they have an opportunity to derail you.  For my dieting example, I remove all my favorite cheat snacks and replace them with healthier selections.  For practical goal setting, list obstacles and solutions to the potential blockages so you can proactively solve roadblocks and keep your eye on the ultimate goal.

This framework, when coupled with visualization, scheduling, and activity prioritization, will help you get better results in your goals or in your productivity.

Do you have any questions on how to make, break down, and strategize your short term goals for long term success?  Any examples you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please like and share my blog.  I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.