“NEW Year, when there’s the promise of new beginnings and 12 months of clean slate to fill, is a great time to set new goals for remaking and improving ourselves”, says Robyn Farrell from 1st for Women Insurance.
“However, millions of South African women, who have set resolutions for 2014, have also unwittingly set themselves up for disaster by having a long, arduous and often vague list of goals.”
What research reveals:
Research by the University of Scranton in the United States suggests that a meagre 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.
Just six days into 2013, a YouGov Omnibus Survey in America found that 22% of people had already ditched their resolutions.
The most common goals amongst women are to lose weight, get fit and improving their financial position. Other popular goals include quitting drinking and smoking, travelling more and being more positive.
Despite the huge propensity to fail at New Year ambitions, Farrell says there is still great value in setting them.
She offers the following practical, easy-to-implement tips to change the way you set goals and make 2014 your most successful year yet:
1. Only set those goals that you really WANT to achieve – there is no point, for example, in saying that you’ll quit smoking if you don’t really want to.
2. Set realistic, clearly defined, simple goals – success lies in keeping it simple while being specific. Saying that you want to “lose weight” or that you want to “get fit” isn’t enough. Specify how much weight you would like to lose, or what distance you would like to be able to run, by a specific date.
3. Write down your goals, along with plans to achieve them – to lose weight, will you cut out certain foods, or work hard in the gym? To get ready for your marathon, will you join a spinning class or start by jogging small distances each day? Work with a plan!
4. Break up large challenges into smaller chunks – the saying goes that “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. Setting ‘mini-goals’ gives you a systematic framework and increases your sense of progress and achievement – a great motivator!
5. Chart your progress and reward yourself every time you achieve each of the smaller milestones – KNOWING, in black and white, that you achieved a milestone or goal is better than thinking or feeling that you have. Use solid proof as a good reason to reward or treat yourself.
6. Have an accountability partner – have someone – friend or otherwise – who can help you to monitor your progress and who can share your successes. This raises the bar of responsibility.
7. Persevere – at each low point, have faith perseverance will pay off in the long run. That is why the small milestone rewards matter so much. Small as they might be, each one is significant in the journey towards your big goal, and if you are achieving the steps towards that, you are among 8% of the world’s population who ever manage to do it.
8. Don’t wait for inspiration to take hold: start NOW!