The Roman god Janus, for which January is named, was the god of beginnings and endings and is often represented as a double head that sees ahead and behind. As years end and move into a New Year, many New Year’s resolutions (goals) are made. The following six points will increase your chances of joining the 8 percent who successfully meet their goal.
1. Set a specific goal
A common mistake is to make too many goals, goals that are difficult to keep or are too vague. Don’t become part of the 54 percent whose resolutions fail to last past six months. Choose one important specific goal.
A goal that is vague may prevent success. Setting a specific goal helps reach that goal. For example, to succeed with the goal of weight loss, the number one New Year’s Resolution, decide how much weight you want to lose. If organization is your goal, pick a specific area in your life you want organized and how you plan to do this. If you want to stay fit and/or get healthy, decide how you will accomplish this. Maybe you want to eat less, eat more vegetables, less meat or you want to use exercise to achieve this goal.
These and countless other goals require you to set a specific goal to increase your chances of success.
2. Study your goal
With the goal in mind, look back at the year left behind and find the wisdom learned from your life’s experiences. Now look forward and answer the following questions, is the goal relevant, controllable and set with a definite length of time? Can the goal be broken into small, manageable, measurable steps? Is the goal specific and achievable? Don’t be afraid to contact others to help answer these questions.
Use this step to understand your goal and make sure it’s specific enough to reach. For instance, you decided to spend more time with your family. Your specific goal is to do this by increasing your Saturday activities. Is this specific enough? Or do you need to break it down more? We will fish X amount of weekends, visit X museums (great for the rainy days), hike X times, watch X movies, etc.
Study all sides of your goal and make sure it’s manageable and obtainable.
Write down your goal with its short-term and long-term steps. Keep track of your accomplishments whether positive or negative. Join and/or create a blog to let family and friends know about the goal and how it’s going. The more people involved the more likely for success.
Blog, Facebook, Twitter, email or call to inform friends, family and total strangers of the ever-changing indicators. These create feedback by providing literal and virtual shoulders to cry on when progress is going backwards and praises for successes.
Write down your goal and track your progress (weekly or monthly, rather than daily, is more likely to give you the positive indicators needed to keep going and increase your chances of success).
4. Pray about your goal
Prayer attunes goals with those of God’s and increases chances of success. If the goal is contrary to his will, the goal may need readjustment or changed to another that is more aligned with his plan.
Ask for his will to be done, a positive attitude to increase success, understanding when you feel you are failing and how to turn it into success, strength to overcome temptations and thank him for all blessings, including the blessings of success and the things learned from failure. (So, is it really failure?)
5. Evaluate your goal
Periodically evaluate your goal and where you are compared to where you want to be. Since your small, manageable steps have led to success, you may find yourself finishing the goal sooner. Is there more you can add for a greater benefit? What can you do to maintain your desired goal’s effect?
If you fail several weeks or months in a row, re-evaluate your small, manageable steps and make sure they’re not too large. Reset your goal and begin, again. This is not failure; this is sticking to your goal. Failure only happens when you quit without completing your resolution.
6. The last point — follow-up
Did you write down your goal? Did you periodically evaluate your progress and make any necessary changes? By year’s end, did you meet your goal? If not, re-evaluate as in the previous step and consider was your goal possible?
Another consideration when following up is to compare the end result to the goal. Was your goal to read more, you set the goal to 10 novels, and you read 9? Some may consider this an unreached goal, but in actuality, you did reach your goal to read more (remember when you learned rounding in math?). You may congratulate yourself and remember this achievement when studying your next goal.