When most people make new years resolutions, they do so in broad terms. They say things such as " I want to lose weight" or "I want to be successful/ make more money". These resolutions simply set people up for failure.
We all mean what we say at the time of making the resolution however if the goal is unclear - such as not specifying how much weight to lose, or unrealistic- such as wanting to lose 50kg in 1 month, and if you do not track the progress of your goals, such as by weighing/measuring yourself- you are simply bound to fail. This is not a good way to start a new year!
The 3 key reasons listed below are why most new year's resolutions fail.
1. Unclear Goals
2. Unrealistic goals/ resolutions
2. No tracking/review
The good news is that your New Year's resolutions do not need to fail!
There is an acronym that is used in goal setting known as S.M.A.R.T.E.
S.M.A.R.T.E stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time frame and Execution.
If you want to set goals that will not fail, you need to follow this principle!
Spell it out in detail- be very specific. If your goal is to lose weight, do not say "I want to lose weight", say "I want to lose (insert the amount here)". When it comes to setting your goals get super detailed, the more specific the better. Nothing should be left to chance. If you just say "I want to lose weight", technically 1 gram is a loss- but I'm pretty sure you would be disappointed if that is all you lost! However, if you say I want to lose 15kg by my birthday by eating less junk food and walking 5 kilometers every day. Now that is specific.
Can you tell when you are getting closer to your Specific Goal? As an example, happy is a concept that does not come in a quantifiable amount, You cannot say "this week I am 3 Buckets happy and last week I was only two buckets happy". Make sure your Specific Goal is measurable in real units not arbitrary units. If your goal is to be happy, be specific- what will make you happy? If you know that going to the beach makes you happy why not say "I would like to spend 1 day a week at the beach". At least at the end of the time frame, you can measure how many days you went to the beach. As you can probably tell, some things are more easily measured than others- losing weight is easily measured which is why it is used as an example so often- It is also a goal that many people make, so it tends to be relatable. In the last example above you can measure, your weight, the distance you walk, how often you walk and your junk food intake. it is very measurable. Happiness can be a bit arbitrary- what makes me happy is bound to be different in some way to what makes you happy.
This is the next step in goal setting- once you have a specific goal that is measurable, you need to ask yourself "Is it possible?" This does have some wiggle room. If you are Elon Musk, some things may be more achievable than if you are a minimum wage earner living in Sydney Australia. Keep in mind that some people would have said that a self-driving electric vehicle was not achievable 2 years ago but now they are. If your goal is to lose 5 kg in a year, it is probably achievable. If your goal is to lose 50kg in a month, you may need to go back and take a look at how realistic this goal actually is! It may be Specific and Measurable, but it is probably not Attainable!
Just because something is achievable/ attainable does not automatically make it reasonable. Winning a lottery is achievable, but It is not reasonable to expect to win it. One should not depend on it happening. Luck is not something we should rely on when planning. Remember our desires do not make something reasonable.
Time/ Time frame
This step considers the time frame that you have to achieve your goals. If your plans do not have a temporal component they probably will never happen. Relying on words like soon, or shortly is not specific enough to be measured. Remember- your goals must be able to be measured. Be specific like Monday at 12:30pm, or within 90 days. These are time frames we can measure and work towards. Procrastination is the enemy of success and vague time frames are the beginning of the path to procrastination.
The last step of goal setting for achievable goals is execution and evaluation. This is where the real work is. For your plan to succeed YOU have to implement/execute the plan. You also need to measure and record the progression of your goals and then look over your results and evaluate the progress of your plan. If your plan is not coming to fruition you may need to go back to one of the previous stages and make an adjustment.
But remember...A plan is only as good as its execution.
Now that you have a way to set specific goals, you can stop the 3 most common reasons that your New Years Resolutions Fail!
If you use the S.M.A.R.T.E principle your goals will no longer be unclear, unrealistic, untracked and therefore, unachievable. Your goals will be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and you will have a Time frame and a way of Evaluating your success!
If you have any comments to share on your favourite goal setting methods, leave them in the comment section below! We look forward to hearing your thoughts!